Archived Material (Dissertations)

This book takes you through all the elements needed for a successful dissertation proposal and dissertation. The book explains the sections required for both proposal and dissertation, and offers helpful downloadable templates to assist with the presentation.

What a dissertation should look like

Numbering sections and figures

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Good academic writing is about ease of understanding. Numbering the sections makes it easy to know where you are in the dissertation at any one time. It also means that your reader can use the contents page to find any particular part of the text they are interested in.

Numbering sections in your dissertation

Give all major sections a consecutive number using Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.).

For example:

1. Introduction
2. Literature review
3. Methodology
4. Results
5. Discussion
6. Conclusions

Number consecutively using decimal points within these sections

For example:

1. Introduction
2. Literature review
3. Methodology
3.1 Interviews
3.2 Questionnaires

Continue to add sub-sub sections by increasing the number of decimal points. Avoid doing this excessively as you may make the structure too complicated.

Example of contents page (PDF opens in new window)

Numbering figures, tables and illustrations

  • Label and format correctly any figures or tables that you use in your dissertation:
  • Number figures and tables separately
  • Number them consecutively, using Arabic numbers (e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc.) in the order that they appear in the text
  • Each figure or table should have a title

For example:


Figure 9: Example of writing figures


Figure 10: Example of a table

  • Check very carefully that the numbering and page numbering are all correct in your list of tables and figures
  • Always provide a source for any figure or table that was not created by you, and give a full citation for the source in your reference list


‘Figure’ refers to any graph, chart, photographs, drawing, picture or other illustrations.

For example:  illustrations in a design dissertation has 'figures’.

If including a figure or table, refer to it in the body of your paper at the point where it appears.

  • the sequence of appendices should be given using capital letters of the alphabet (A, B, C, etc.).
  • list them by their letter in the contents page 
  • give each appendix a heading in the form ‘Appendix A’, ‘Appendix B’, etc., as well as a descriptive title.

For example:

“Appendix A: Copy of survey questionnaire”

Example of appendices (PDF opens in new window)