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How to Avoid Common Dissertation Formatting Errors and Pitfalls

  1. Follow the instructions in the Dissertation Handbook and APA Manual (6th edition) closely to minimize format revisions; errors in format are the most common reason for delaying completion of a dissertation. It is common to revise format errors 2-3 times before the final dissertation is completed.
     
  2. Make sure the format of the title and approval pages is identical to the samples in the Dissertation Handbook.
     
  3. Follow the formatting guidelines in the Dissertation Handbook; set margins and page numbers as shown in the guidelines.
     
  4. Follow the proper format for headings in the APA Manual based on the number (level) of headings in the document.
     
  5. Adhere to figure and table format in the APA Manual.
     
  6. Follow the sequence of manuscript sections as shown in the Dissertation Handbook (e.g., references after appendices, etc.).
     
  7. Consider the “ripple effect” when revising your dissertation; after making changes, check to be sure proper formatting is maintained.
     
  8. Your dissertation is copyright protected when it is created; additional copyright information is included in the Dissertation Handbook.
     
  9. *Allow sufficient time to complete the format check, have the dissertation chair sign the approval page, and submit the electronic dissertation before the July 15th deadline (or two weeks prior to early departure for internship, if applicable).
     
  10. *Wait until OAA has approved all formatting revisions before submitting the electronic dissertation to OhioLINK. Do not print out a hard copy of the manuscript; however, be sure to submit a signed approval sheet on white bond quality paper to OAA.
     
  11. *Manage the professional dissertation process with good time management, coordinating as needed with the dissertation chair, working continually on the manuscript until completion, etc. to avoid last minute scrambling to meet the deadline.

The Professional Dissertation is a scholarly work which entails a great deal of time and effort to complete successfully. Proper formatting that meets APA and SOPP standards is the “polish” that makes your dissertation shine as a completed manuscript. It may be referenced online through OhioLINK by other students and researchers.

Experience has shown that completing the professional dissertation can be relatively easy or very stressful, depending on how well the student manages the process. Following these tips will go far to minimizing frustration and completing the dissertation in a timely fashion. Please contact the Office of Academic Affairs for assistance at any point in the dissertation process.

NOTE: The term format is synonymous with style as described in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (i.e., APA Manual), 6th edition.