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DISSERTATION GUIDELINES AND TEMPLATE

by

A student

1 September 2009

A Dissertation submitted in part fulfilment of the


Degree of Master of Science Built Environment:
Environmental Design and Engineering

Bartlett school of Graduate Studies


University College London

A Student

September 2009

CONTENTS
ABSTRACT........................................................................................... 1
1.

INTRODUCTION..............................................................................2
1.1.
1.2.
1.3.
1.4.
1.5.

2.

EDITING........................................................................................6
2.1.
2.2.

3.

REQUIREMENTS............................................................................................ 2
MARKING.................................................................................................... 3
TIMETABLE.................................................................................................. 3
WORKING WITH ELECTRONIC DISSERTATION FILES................................................4
PAPER AND ELECTRONIC COPIES OF THE DISSERTATION.........................................5
FIGURES..................................................................................................... 7
REFERENCING.............................................................................................. 9

REFERENCES................................................................................10

FIGURES
FIGURE 1 : VENN DIAGRAM........................................................................................... 8
FIGURE 2 : SO2......................................................................................................... 9

TABLES
TABLE 1 : DISSERTATION MARKING SCHEME......................................................................3
TABLE 2 : DISSERTATION TIMETABLE 2009.......................................................................4
TABLE 3 : SUMMARY OF PRIMARY DATABASES....................................................................7

A Student

September 2009

ABSTRACT
This document is intended to provide information about producing a
dissertation in terms of content, editing and the making of final copies. The
requirements for the dissertation in terms of length are specified by UCL, but
the content and formatting are not. This document may itself be used as a
template for the dissertation if the student wishes.

A Student

September 2009

1. INTRODUCTION
This document is intended to provide useful information about producing a
dissertation in terms of content, editing and production of copies. This
document was first written with Microsoft Word 2003 in 2006; it was last
updated in September 2008.
An Excel template is also available.
Further information from Ben Croxford B.Croxford@ucl.ac.uk .

1.1.

Requirements

Dissertation length
The dissertation should be about 10000 words for the main body of text
(between 8000 and 12000). There is an absolute maximum of 200 pages
including all appendices, and a preferred maximum of 100 pages including
appendices. If it is over 15000 words or 200 pages it will lose marks.

Structure
The structure of the dissertation should broadly follow this outline.

Abstract. 2-300 words long and give a very brief overview of the whole
dissertation, including your findings.

Introduction

Middle chapters

Aims, methods, data, description, analysis

Conclusions. The conclusion section should be quite short, 5 pages at


the most, and normally 1 or 2. It should:
o
o
o
o

sum up the findings made during your research,


have a short introductory section explaining the process of
your dissertation,
often have recommendations for the future.
answer the research question that your dissertation
addresses.

References

Appendices

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to check that your chapters link together coherently;


at the start of each chapter you might have an introductory paragraph setting
the scene for the contents and at the end of each chapter it may help to have
a few paragraphs summing up it's contents.

A Student

September 2009

Spreadsheets should be inserted as tables.


Some students find Excel using in developing the structure with word counts,
etc.
Finally, your title is expected to reflect the content!

1.2.

Marking

Dissertations are usually read and marked by two tutors. Marks are out of 100
and are allocated to aspects of the dissertation as in the following table.
Table 1 : Dissertation marking scheme
Basic aims of study

Marks out of 10

Critical analysis and data gathering

Marks out of 20

Clarity and range of discussion

Marks out of 20

Conclusion

Marks out of 20

Structure of report

Marks out of 20

Presentation

Marks out of 10

Total

Add all marks

1.3.

Timetable

The next table shows the timetable to complete by the deadline.


Table 2 : Dissertation timetable 2009
Timing

Task

May - June

Choose topic and develop contents and structure with supervisor

June - July

Hand structure, draft chapters, data and analysis to your supervisor to


demonstrate the shape and content of the finished thesis.

10 August

A draft version of your dissertation handed in to your dissertation


supervisor by the 10th August, by then you should have finished
gathering all the data and have written at least 30 pages.

August

Finalise text

1 September

Get dissertation bound

7 September

Hand in bound copy

A Student

September 2009

Interaction with supervisor


It is useful to know when your tutor is generally unavailable, bearing in mind
that you will be working on it during the summer holiday period. Make sure
you give your text to the tutor so that they have enough time to look at it
before any critical date or meeting, Check with your tutor whether they want a
printed copy or whether a computer document will do.
Before giving document to tutor:
i.

If you have trouble with English, ask a friend to check it for you.

ii.

Do Ctrl-A to select all text and F9 to recalculate. This updates


automatic numbering, table of contents etc.

iii.

Do a spell and grammar check.

iv.

Tracking changes. If your tutor or someone else edits your document, it


is useful for them to use Track Changes (Alt-TT).

1.4.

Paper and electronic copies of the dissertation

We require a bound copy and an electronic copy of your dissertation. .

Bound copies
We require two canvas bound copies with hard or soft cover. On the spine the
lettering should be in the format:
MSc EDE 2006

J. Bloggs

This should read from left to right if you look at the spine when the book is
laid on a table. You don't need any lettering on the front
Two suggested places for binding are below; Keypoint is quite close and
Marba is reasonably cheap.
Keypoint Bookbinders Ltd
Unit 8, Balmoral Grove
Islington
London N7 9NQ
(tel: 020 7609 1050)
Marba Bookbinding
63 Jeddo Road
LONDON W12
Tel: 020 8743 4715

A Student

September 2009

City bookbinders are very fast and accept PDF by email.


Also see this page for binders:
http://www.inprint.co.uk/thebookguide/binders/london.shtml

Electronic copies
These should be in Word or PDF format. It is useful to have it on a CD, but if
the whole lot can be zipped to under 10MB then you can also email it to your
tutor.

A Student

September 2009

2. USING MICROSOFT WORD


This section gives some tips on using Microsoft Word. Although for Word
2003, most should also work with Word 2007.

Keyboard commands
You can use mouse or keyboard commands; here the latter are used for
concise description.
It is often faster to use keyboard commands.; here the latter are used for
concise description.

Ctrl-A means hold down control key and press A.

Alt-A means hold down Alt key and press A

F9 means press the F9 function key.

To find out more, press F1 (for Help) and search for keyboard shortcuts.
Generally, right clicking with the mouse will bring up context sensitive menus
and F1 (Function 1) will give you help.

2.1.

Working with electronic dissertation files

Most tutors are familiar with Microsoft Word, rather than other programmes
such as Adobe Acrobat (pdf format). The software specific advice in this
document refers to Word.

Using this template


If you wish to use this template, file (Alt-FA) this document with your
dissertation name, making sure you dont overwrite anything you need to
keep. You can then edit this document replacing titles, headers, text etc. with
your own material. To make it easier for tutors and you to track versions, its
useful to have your initials and the date of the draft: e.g.
AStudentDiss150806.doc. Then edit in your own content.
Please make sure you back up all your work regularly. Make a copy, email it
to someone else, put it on a CD, store it in a different location from your flat,
etc.

Editing windows
You might find it handy to have:

The text window in the middle. This can be viewed in normal mode (AltVP) or outline mode to structure document,.

document map in left pane (Alt-VD).

A Student

September 2009

styles pane at right (Alt-OS).

Writing
Write text.
When you want a new paragraph press Return/Enter key. Do not enter blank
lines between paragraphs, this will be done by the paragraph Style.
To select a whole paragraph, double click with mouse in margin to left of
paragraph. You can then apply a style to it.
When writing, you often have to stop before finishing a section. Its useful to
put a reminder, such as zzz. You can then search for this text (Ctl-F)
throughout the document to find what is not completed. And notice that it is
highlighted as a spelling mistake so it is easy to see.

New sections
If you want a new section in the document with different page numbers, layout
etc, insert a break with Alt-IB. This document has three sections:
i.

The cover page with no page number/ header/footer.

ii.

The contents page with header/footer and roman numbering starting at


i.

iii.

The main body of text with header/footer and Arabic numbering starting
at 1.

You may want a section in landscape format for wide figures or tables. If so,
insert section and format with Page Layout Orientation.

Formatting
Use Alt-OS to display styles and formatting. Select text and apply style.
It is particularly useful to use header styles for different levels of heading.
These may be used for automatic contents, document map, and outlining.

Numbers and units


Use standard SI units, prefixes and suffixes.

Space between number and unit e.g. 1000 kW not 1000kW

750000 not 750k

Significant figures: Not 15254.61 to 48100.92 but 15255 to 48101, or


15000 to 48000.

A Student

September 2009

Headers/Footers
Double click on header/footer when in page/print layout view and edit.

Table of contents, figures and tables


Use automatic contents generation, Alt-IND to list chapter contents, figures
and tables. You may wish to use Format Formal. To update, select all (Ctl-A)
and recalculate (F9).

Tables

To insert blank table press Alt-AI, or copy and insert from Excel.

To select whole table, put cursor in cell and pres Alt-ACT

To keep selected rows together Alt-OPPX

Use Table Autofit (Alt-AA) options to fit text into table.

Justify numbers right

You can copy and paste this Table header. It contains an automatic numbering
field.
Table 3 : Summary of primary databases

2.2.

Figures

If you rely on colour in your figures, then the thesis will have to be printed in
colour.
You can make nice diagrams in Excel using the drawing toolbar.
To copy from Excel.

Copy chart. Select chart in Excel, Ctl-C to copy toclipboard, go to


Word, Alt-ES to paste (Picture Enhanced Metafile generally works
well).

To place on page, right click on diagram, format picture, layout, in line


with text usually works ok.

Copy cells. Select in Excel, Ctl-C to copy, go to Word, Alt-ES to paste.

Copy diagram. Copy cells containing diagram , Alt-ES to paste.

A Student

September 2009

It is probably best not to paste links to other documents (e.g. spreadsheet


diagrams), as you then need to make sure the reader has this on their
computer at the right address.
Copy and paste the Figure header below. It contains an automatic numbering
field.
Figure 1 : Venn diagram

Excel charts
For clarity:

Better to have contrasting white background (rather than standard


grey) to chart. To change background, right click on chart and format.

Use font size 10 or more.

A Student

September 2009

Figure 2 : SO2

2.3.

Referencing

The Harvard referencing system is recommended. There are many guides to


this: e.g. from Bournemouth University (2005).
Note that Web material might be removed or changed and be unavailable to
the reader. Such material should have institutions, authors and titles listed to
enable tracing of such material.

Cross-referencing
It can be useful to cross-reference text so that the cross-reference is updated
if the referred text is moved or changed.
For example, to obtain: As shown in Figure 2 from the Figure header.
i.

Press Alt-IK and give a name (e.g. FigNSO2)

ii.

Go to where you want to insert reference and press Alt-INR Bookmark


and select FigNSO2.

The Figure number and reference will be updated automatically if it is


changed, after pressing Ctl-A and F9. You can cross reference other material
such as section headers, numbers etc.

10

A Student

September 2009

3. REFERENCES
Bournemouth University, 2005, Citing References,
www.bournemouth.ac.uk/academic_services/documents/Library/Citing_Refer
ences.pdf. [Accessed August 2006].

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