12th December 2018
Dissertation Checklist: What to Do When Your Work Is (Nearly) Due
Big dissertation deadline approaching? Hopefully, you have a draft you’re happy with and it’s time to get your dissertation ready for submission. But what do you need to do in these last days? Check out our dissertation checklist for three key steps in preparing your final piece of work.
1. Check Your Style Guide
When you’ve finished redrafting, the first thing to do is reread your style guide. This should contain everything you need to know about how to present your work, including:
- What to include on a title or cover page.
- Whether to include a dedication or acknowledgements.
- The length and style of the abstract.
- How to format the table of contents.
- Whether to include a list of abbreviations.
- How to format the document (including page margins, tables, figures, illustrations, footnotes, endnotes, and the text of your dissertation itself).
- The referencing style you should use.
- The maximum word count and which sections count towards it.
You’ll then need to double check that your dissertation follows these rules as closely as possible.
2. Proofread Carefully
After making any final changes, make sure to proofread your dissertation one last time. Your focus here will be looking for typos and other minor errors to ensure that it is 100% error free.
You may want to ask someone else to check your writing for you at this point (we’re always available). But if you do need to proofread your own work, try using the following tips:
- Read slowly and carefully, taking regular breaks as required.
- Print your dissertation out and check it on paper.
- Start at the end and work backwards through each chapter.
- Read problematic passages out loud.
- Look for different types of error individually (i.e., start out checking the punctuation, then the grammar, then the spelling, etc.).
These tips should help you keep your concentration while proofreading.
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3. Preparing to Submit
Finally, when you have an error-free manuscript you can be proud of, you need to check your college’s guidelines for submitting a dissertation. This will usually include preparing:
- One print copy of your dissertation, professionally bound.
- One digital copy of your dissertation, typically in PDF form.
Make sure to leave enough time before the deadline to get these ready. Your college should be able to recommend a local binding business for the print copy (or offer binding on campus). And you can export a document as a PDF file via Microsoft Word itself.
Summary: Dissertation Checklist
If you have a dissertation deadline coming up, make sure to tick off the steps on our dissertation checklist. These include:
- Reread your style guide to make sure that your dissertation follows it.
- Check your writing for typos (or have a professional do it for you).
- Read your college’s guidelines on preparing your dissertation for submission (this will usually involve creating one printed and bound version and one electronic version).
And once you’ve submitted, we suggest taking a few days off to relax before preparing for your oral defense. Well done on getting this far, and let us know if we can help you over the finishing line. For more information about writing a dissertation or thesis, read our full dissertation writing guide.
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