Sample APA dissertation can help you understand the formatting style

Sometimes the best way to learn is to be led by example. Looking at the proper formatting for a dissertation is no different. When you are starting the monumental task of finishing your PhD, one of the first things I would suggest looking at the work of other people in your field. People looking to graduate with a degree in the social or physical sciences as well as many other subjects will likely have to write their dissertation in the APA formatting style, which can be tricky due to its myriad of rules. Sampling some different dissertations will help you to get a feel for what you need to do in order to have a perfectly stylized work.

Things to look:

  1. The Title Page: You should take not of the information that the author included in the title page. How it was formatted. The size of the different fonts. All of these are important stylistic things that you need to consider.
  2. The length of the Abstract: the abstract for a dissertation is a bit longer, a few paragraphs, than a normal term paper or essay. This is because the document itself is considerably longer so you have more to discuss in it.
  3. In-text citations: You will notice that all of the pieces of “borrowed” information in the work are dated, and the author is introduced. In-text citations are an important part of APA style and must be used properly.
  4. The length of the chapters: Each chapter varies somewhat in length from dissertation to dissertation, but the general lengths of each of the sections remains similar.
  5. What kinds of information is included in sections like the introduction, conclusion, and the body: These sections have very specific types of information that remains standard through most dissertations. Try to make sure the correct information is in the correct place.
  6. The layout of the Table of Contents: Look at how the author formatted the table of contents. It should be easy to read and follow and look very uniform.
  7. The format of the Reference page: References are very important in APA. Look at how the author formatted printed books, interviews, videos, internet sources, and other sources to get an idea of the information that you need to include in your citations as well as the order that the information goes in.

Looking at an outside dissertation should give you a better feel for what you are trying to do in writing your own. Try to format it in perfect APA format and don’t be afraid to get help doing so. By now you should be familiar with APA, but if you need a refresher, there are plenty of resources in print and online that can help you. Good luck!