Discussing common writing problems related to PhD thesis writing

Composing a Proper APA Format Dissertation Table of Contents

In the social sciences, APA style is commonly used when students and scientists format their publications. So, if you are writing a dissertation in psychology or sociology, you are likely to use this formatting style. It provides guidelines on how to format all the necessary elements of your paper, including a table of contents. The general guidelines on formatting your table of contents in APA style include the following steps:

  1. Use one-inch margins on all sides of a page. Avoid using illegible fonts, use Arial or Times New Roman, and feature a 12 point size. If you want to accommodate all your table of contents on a single page, you can also use a 10 point size.

  2. Write a title at the top of the page. Usually, students simply type “Table of Contents,” but you can also include the name of the dissertation. Remember that this title should be centered and formatted in the same way as your reference page.

  3. Create two columns in any word or table processing program. The number of rows should be the same as the number of sections or chapters in your dissertation. Make sure to make all the table lines invisible. The table will help you keep everything clear and consistent.

  4. Title your left column. Usually, the title is “Section” or “Chapter.” However, it is fine to use “Unit” or come up with another name. Then, place a dotted line and list the sections of your paper. The order should be the same as they appear in your writing.

  5. Ensure that you have added all the subsections if any. Use a 1/4 inch indent in the first column. Do not put any dots after the title of the part of your dissertation, its number, or its name.

  6. Name the right column as “Page Number.” It should contain the page number that refers to a particular section or subsection of your work. Some instructors require giving a page number for endnotes, indexes, and other supplementary information within the assignment.

You can use the features of your word processing software and generate your table of content in APA automatically. There are plenty of various manuals on how to create such a table of content in different word processors. It also makes sense to visit an academic writing center at your school. There, instructors will help you understand what to keep in mind while formatting your assignment and how to save your time and effort.

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