Understanding The Dissertation Format: APA Writing Guidelines


The American Psychology Association is the governing body responsible for the creation and management of one of the most widely used academic writing formats, APA. This is a style that you are likely to be familiar with if you are about to write a dissertation but it is still worthwhile to become more familiar with its guidelines if any doubt about them remains in your mind. Here are the methods you can use to deepen your understanding:

Purchase the guide booklet

This is your primary resource in finding out about all things related to this style.Without this you are basically operating with rumors and hearsay. Buy your own copy if at all possible but if you cannot, make sure to get your hands on the copy at the library or borrow one from a friend.

Collect and read supplemental material

Having read the original guidelines you can begin to supplement your knowledge with whatever you get from other sources. Many people produce summaries and some are quite good but only by reading the original material will you be able to tell them apart from the mass produced content.

Make your own checklist

With the reading you would have already done by this point you can begin making a checklist of the things you need to do to format your dissertation well. You will need to order your references in a particular way, you will be expected to have margins of a particular width. Your headings should remain in the same font consistently.

Purchase or source a template

Having a template is even better than a checklist. It will automatically organize your font styles and sizes and let you know what should be placed where if ever you forget.

Confer with a tutor

There are things you do not know yet that a tutor could easily make you aware of. Having dealt with it for years or maybe even decades, he or she can explain what you should do first or last to save time and energy. Even if it may feel right to do it another way, try their advice out just in case. It could really pay off to you over time.

Ask your professor if he or she expects any amendments

This step can be easily forgotten but it is quite important. Some professors want something slightly different from traditional APA. Ask so you know how to adjust.

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