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How to write an APA style dissertation

Writing a dissertation can be stressful enough without having to additionally worry about its required proper format and citation. Below we will discuss an APA formatting style which is used primarily in dissertations relating to psychology and other social sciences.

Choice of Paper and Page Basics

You should always use a high-quality, standard white 8.5 x 11-inch paper. Set the margins of the entire dissertation to 1-inch all the way around. Use a font face that is easily legible both in-print and on a computer screen. San-serif fonts are often preferred because they are easy to read, just be sure to use at least a 12-pt font throughout the work. Also, keep in mind that special effects like italics or underlining are discouraged except where they are necessary for citation purposes. Double-space the entire document, indent only the first line of a paragraph, and don’t add extra spacing between paragraphs.

Order of Dissertation Sections

Your dissertation should be broken up into several sections for easy reading. Most dissertations in psychology and the social sciences require the following: The Abstract, the Introduction, the Literature Review, the Methodology, the Results, the Discussion, the Conclusion, and the Bibliography. Use headers and sub-headers to make navigating through the sections much easier, and always be sure you have appropriately arranged your table of contents. A few other things to know are that each new section should start on a separate page. Also, if you use any tables, charts, or figures, place them in a separate section called the Appendix at the end of the conclusion, right before the bibliography.

The Citations and Bibliography

Finally, all of your references should be listed in the bibliography section at the end of your dissertation. You should include all the appropriate information from the source material. These should be listed alphabetically by the author or editor’s last name. Some basic additional information includes the title of the resource, where it was found (in a book, journal, magazine, etc.), the publisher’s information, and date of publication. Bibliographical citations can be a bit confusing to first-timers so it’s always a good idea to refer to a sample dissertation or an APA resource writing guide to learn about the nuances that separate one type of citation with another. Take your time when building this section, because so much of your work relies on your honesty and integrity in applying credit wherever credit is due.