Basic Tips For Writing A Dissertation In Social Sciences

Writing a dissertation is serious business. It’s the last project you will have to complete on your way towards earning a master’s or PH.D. degree. Most disciplines have their unique set of instructions, and for writing a dissertation in the social sciences, you’re going to want to know these basic tips:

  • Tip #1: Knowing the Basics
  • Use a standard white 8.5” x 11”-inch paper. Set margins to 1”-inch all the way around. All material, such as text, tables, figures, footnotes/endnotes, headers/footers and images must appear within the set margins. The only exception are page numbers. The font should be 12-point and legible (Calibri or Arial).

  • Tip #2: Writing the Title Page
  • The title page includes all the title of the work, your name, and the institution affiliated with the completion of the work placed about 1/3 of the page down, centered. Also put in a page header, flush left with the page with the page number flush right. Type the title using both upper and lowercase letters. Your name and institution affiliation are also typed using both upper and lowercase letters. Don’t underline, bold, or italicize anything.

  • Tip #3: Writing the Abstract
  • The abstract always immediately follows the copyright page and titled ABSTRACT. Beneath this place the title of the dissertation. Beneath this place your name. The abstract should be double-spaced and should be about 150 to 350. The structure should directly mirror the structure of the whole dissertation and should cover all of the major components.

  • Tip #4: Footnotes and Endnotes
  • Generally, using footnotes and endnotes is discouraged in the social sciences because they are usually expensive for publisher to reproduce. When you decide that it is necessary then you need to ensure you use one of the two types: copyright and content. Copyright notes are formal permissions from the author when you quote more than 500 words from copyrighted material. Content notes are sections of text that provide supplemental information to readers.

  • Tip #5: Writing the Bibliography
  • For each entry only the first line will be flushed with the left margin. All lines after this should be indented half an inch. Entries are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name. Italicize the names of longer works like books and journals. For individual articles, capitalize all the major words and put the title in quotations. Each entry should also include date of publication (for books) and volume and issue number (for journals).

© 2012 RMetzner-GreenEarth

PhD Dissertation - Solving Common And Specific Writing Struggles