APA Style 7th Edition: Citing Your Sources

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Standard Format

Formatting rules, various examples.

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Adapted from American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed).  https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

Formatting:

  • Italicize the title
  • Identify whether source is doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis in parentheses after the title

See Ch. 10 pp. 313-352 of APA Manual for more examples and formatting rules

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APA Style, 7th edition - Citing Sources

  • Getting Started
  • Formatting the Paper

Dissertation & SPP Format Pieces

Creating a toc in apa, dnp spp toc examples, edd toc examples, important: signature page, the abstract & keywords.

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If you are on this tab, you have probably been asked to format a dissertation or Scholarly Practice Project paper using APA format. Use the below information to help you format the different pieces of your paper.  Please check with your academic department to see if they have an official dissertation/SPP format template for your program.

A note on Table of Contents: Most APA papers do not require a Table of Contents (TOC). If you are writing a Dissertation or Scholarly Practice Project, you may be asked to include one. Please note: the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association does not have an official stance on formatting a Table of Contents page .

Below, you will find some general information and examples of Table of Contents (TOC), Abstracts and Keywords, and the Signature page that you may find helpful.

  • Scribbr Creating an APA-style Table of Contents This tutorial from Scribbr is extremely helpful in formatting your APA Table of Contents.

Scribbr APA Table of Contents

Use the below examples as a reference point for forming your Table of Contents. These should be used as a baseline for formatting-- yours will be more specific to your headings and subject-matter.

  • DNP SPP TOC Example 1
  • DNP SPP TOC Example 2
  • EdD Dissertation TOC Example 1
  • EdD Dissertation TOC Example 2

Your signature page is one of the most important pieces of your final product. It proves that you completed the dissertation!  Below is an example of what your signature page should look like (names blanked out for privacy).

If you have any questions about the signature page or how to get it signed, please contact your program director.

apa dissertation format template

ABSTRACT : An abstract is required for your Dissertation or Scholarly Practice Project and must be included before submitting your final copy to Proquest.  An abstract is a brief, comprehensive overview of your paper. Generally, it should not exceed 250 words.

KEYWORDS : You should also include keywords. Keywords are descriptive terms that encompass the themes of your paper. Think about what terms you used when searching for your topic in the databases. This is what researchers will use to find your paper!

  • APA Style Abstract and Keywords Handout For more information on creating an Abstract and Keywords, please use this handout from the APA Style site.
  • Professional Paper sample with Abstract Example See page one of this document for an example of an Abstract and Keywords, with annotations on where to find more information in APA Manual. From the APA Style site.
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EDK 850 Research Design & Proposal Development

  • Formatting your Dissertation in APA Style
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  • How to Request Books and Articles from Other Libraries (ILL)
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  • Research Methods Resources for Graduate Students
  • Formatting using Microsoft Word
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APA Style Resources

Here are some general APA Style resources. Scroll down further to see more details about citations and paper formatting. 

  • APA Style Website The APA Style Website is the official website for APA 7th edition, and includes formatting guidelines for formatting your overall paper including title page setup, tables and figures, as well as guidelines for formatting reference citations. Sample papers are included.
  • Excelsior Online Writing Lab: APA Style The Excelsior OWL is an excellent resource for how to write and cite your academic work in APA Style. This is a recommended starting point if you're not sure how to use APA style in your work, and includes helpful multimedia elements.

Several print copies of the APA 7th edition Publication Manual are available for checkout at the Mardigian Library.

(Sorry, APA does not provide an eBook version of this for libraries at the present time.)

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APA Style 7th edition Citations (References and In-Text Citations)

If you're new to citation, this brief video will cover an introduction to in-text citations and reference lists in APA 7th edition. Scroll down for more recommended resources about citations. 

More information including examples and sample papers can be found at the recommended websites below: 

  • APA Style Website: Reference Examples Guidelines about references from the official APA Style website.
  • APA Style Website: In-text Citations Guidelines for in-text citations from the official APA Style website.
  • APA 7th edition quick reference handout This quick reference guide to APA 7th edition citations is handy and includes many commonly cited source types and corresponding in-text citations.
  • APA In-text Citation Checklist APA's official In-text citation checklist for the 7th edition.

APA Style 7th edition Formatting for Professional Papers (including Dissertations)

  • APA Style Website: Sample Annotated Professional Paper This is the official sample professional paper from the APA Style website, and includes annotations illustrating the usage of each element.
  • APA Style Website: Paper Format The APA Style website's paper format page includes all of the elements of paper format that you need to follow, including information about the title page, margins and spacing, fonts and headings. Sample papers are included.

CEHHS Formatting Requirements for Ed.D. Dissertations

CEHHS uses the current version of the APA Publication Manual (7th edition) for all matters of format with the exception of some particular requirements for the Title page, pagination (especially of front matter) and top margins. Unless otherwise stated in the CEHHS Ed.D. Dissertation Guide below, defer to APA 7th edition. 

Some formatting aspects to be sure you are following correctly include: 

  • Tables and Figures, including labeling thereof
  • CEHHS Ed.D. Dissertation Guide
  • UM-Ann Arbor Scholarspace Microsoft for Dissertations Guide
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In-text citation

Reference list.

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Theses and dissertations

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  • Other styles AGLC4 APA 7th Chicago 17th (A) Notes Chicago 17th (B) Author-Date Harvard MLA 9th Vancouver
  • Referencing home

(Author's surname, Year)

This was seen in an Australian study (Couch, 2017). 

Couch (2017) suggests that…

  • Go to  Getting started >  In-text citation  to view other examples such as multiple authors.

Published thesis

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of thesis [Type of thesis, Name of institution awarding degree]. Name of archive or site. https://xxxxxx

Stored in a database

Author, A. A. (Year). Title of thesis (Database Publication number, if assigned) [Type of thesis, Name of institution awarding degree]. Database Name.

Taffe, S. (2017).  The Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders: The politics of inter-racial coalition in Australia, 1958–1973.  [Doctoral thesis, Monash University]. Bridges.  https://doi.org/10.4225/03/59d4482289ea4

Bozeman, A. Jr. (2007).  Age of onset as predictor of cognitive performance in children with seizure disorders  (Publication No. 3259752) [Doctoral dissertation, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

Unpublished thesis

Author, A. A. (Year).  Title of thesis or dissertation  [Unpublished Doctoral dissertation or Master's thesis]. Name of Institution.

Imber, A. (2003).  Applicant reactions to graduate recruitment and selection  [Unpublished Doctoral dissertation]. Monash University. 

For further guidance, see the APA Style website- Published Dissertation or Thesis , Unpublished Dissertation or Theses .

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APA Style (7th ed.)

  • Cite: Why? When?
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  • Format Your Paper

Format Your Paper

Download and use the editable templates for student papers below: .

  • APA 7th ed. Template Document This is an APA format template document in Google Docs. Click on the link -- it will ask for you to make a new copy of the document, which you can save in your own Google Drive with your preferred privacy settings.
  • APA 7th ed. Template Document A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly according to APA 7th edition.
  • APA 7th ed. Annotated Bibliography template A Microsoft Word document formatted correctly for an annotated bibliography.

Or, view the directions for specific sections below:

Order of sections (section 2.17).

  • Title page including Title, Author, University and Department, Class, Instructor, and Date
  • Body (including introduction, literature review or background, discussion, and conclusion)
  • Appendices (including tables & figures)

Margins & Page Numbers (sections 2.22-2.24)

  • 1 inch at top, bottom, and both sides
  • Left aligned paragraphs and leave the right edge ragged (not "right justified")
  • Indent first line of each paragraph 1/2 inch from left margin
  • Use page numbers, including on the title page, 1/2 inch from top and flush with right margin

Text Format (section 2.19)

  • Times New Roman, 12 point
  • Calibri, 11 point
  • Arial, 11 point
  • Lucinda Sans Unicode, 10 point
  • Georgia, 11 point
  • Double-space and align text to the left
  • Use active voice
  • Don't overuse technical jargon
  • No periods after a web address or DOI in the References list.

Tables and Figures In-Text (chapter 7)

  • Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1)
  • Give each table column a heading and use separating lines only when necessary
  • Design the table and figure so that it can be understood on its own, i.e. it does not require reference to the surrounding text to understand it
  • Notes go below tables and figures

Title Page (section 2.3)

  • Include the title, your name,  the class name , and  the college's name
  • Title should be 12 words or less and summarize the paper's main idea
  • No periods or abbreviations
  • Do not italicize or underline
  • No quotation marks, all capital letters, or bold
  • Center horizontally in upper half of the page

Body (section 2.11)

  • Align the text to the left with a 1/2-inch left indent on the first line
  • Double-space
  • As long as there is no Abstract, at the top of the first page, type the title of the paper, centered, in bold , and in Sentence Case Capitalization
  • Usually, include sections like these:  introduction, literature review or background,  discussion, and conclusion -- but the specific organization will depend on the paper type
  • Spell out long organization names and add the abbreviation in parenthesis, then just use the abbreviation
  • Spell out numbers one through nine and use a number for 10 or more
  • Use a number for units of measurement, in tables, to represent statistical or math functions, and dates or times

Headings (section 2.26-2.27)

  • Level 1: Center, bold , Title Case 
  • Level 2: Align left, bold , Title Case
  • Level 3: Alight left, bold italics , Title Case
  • Level 4: Indented 1/2", bold , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text. 
  • Level 5: Indented 1/2", bold italics , Title Case, end with a period. Follow with text. 

an illustration of the headings -- same detail as is given directly above this image

Quotations (sections 8.26-8.33)

  • Include short quotations (40 words or less) in-text with quotation marks
  • For quotes more than 40 words, indent the entire quote a half inch from the left margin and double-space it with no quotation marks
  • When quoting two or more paragraphs from an original source, indent the first line of each paragraph a half inch from the left margin
  • Use ellipsis (...) when omitting sections from a quote and use four periods (....) if omitting the end section of a quote

References (section 2.12)

Begins on a new page following the text of your paper and includes complete citations for the resources you've used in your writing.

  • References should be centered and bolded at the top of a new page
  • Double-space and use hanging indents (where the first line is on the left margin and the following lines are indented a half inch from the left)
  • List authors' last name first followed by the first and middle initials (ex. Skinner, B. F.)
  • Alphabetize the list by the first author's last name of of each citation (see sections 9.44-9.49)
  • Capitalize only the first word, the first after a colon or em dash, and proper nouns
  • Don't capitalize the second word of a hyphenated compound
  • No quotation marks around titles of articles

Appendices with Tables, Figures, & Illustrations (section 2.14, and chapter 7)

  • Include appendices only to help the reader understand, evaluate, or replicate the study or argument
  • Put each appendix on a separate page and align left
  • For text, do not indent the first paragraph, but do indent the rest
  • If you have only one appendix, label it "Appendix"
  • If you have two or more appendices, label them "Appendix A", "Appendix B" and so forth as they appear in the body of your paper
  • Label tables and figures numerically (ex. Table 1, or Table B1 and Table B2 if Appendix B has two tables) and describe them within the text of the appendix
  • Notes go below tables and figures (see samples on p. 210-226)

Annotated Bibliography

Double-space the entire bibliography. give each entry a hanging indent. in the following annotation, indent the entire paragraph a half inch from the left margin and give the first line of each paragraph a half inch indent. see the template document at the top of this page..

  • Check with your professor for the length of the annotation and which elements you should evaluate.

These elements are optional, if your professor or field requires them, but they are  not required for student papers: 

Abstract (section 2.9).

  • Abstract gets its own page
  • Center "Abstract" heading and do not indent the first line of the text
  • Summarize the main points and purpose of the paper in 150-250 words maximum
  • Define abbreviations and acronyms used in the paper

Running Head (section 2.8 )

  • Shorten title to 50 characters or less (counting spaces and punctuation) for the running head
  • In the top margin, the running head is aligned left, with the page number aligned on the right
  • On every page, put (without the brackets): [SHORTENED TITLE OF YOUR PAPER IN ALL CAPS] [page number] 

More questions? Check out the authoritative source: APA style blog

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apa dissertation format template

Love Your Dissertation

Achieve your dream of earning a Ph.D.

Love Your Dissertation

APA-WORD TEMPLATES

Updated 8/19/2020 for the current APA 7th edition (2020)

All APA 7th edition Word templates are available to download from my Etsy store .

Dissertators often have trouble formatting their documents to comply with the format and style requirements dictated by their institutions. Many dissertators fail to comply with the requirements of their style guides. Further, many dissertators don’t know how to use Word styles and waste valuable time formatting content (e.g., headings) individually instead of setting styles one time and applying with a click wherever they are needed. That means formats are applied inconsistently or incorrectly throughout their papers. Incorrect heading styles can derail your chances of getting approvals for your dissertation proposal or manuscript.

Download a Word template to save time

To save you the time and hassle of styling your own Word document to comply with APA 7th edition style requirements, I offer you four versions of a preformatted Word 2013 document (.docx). Two heading schemes are offered for a dissertation proposal and for a dissertation manuscript. See below for descriptions, images, and specifications of each heading scheme.

About the APA-7th ed. Word templates

First, make sure your institution requires APA 7th ed. (2020), not some other style guide. Most social science programs will require APA. If you are in the humanities, you might need to comply with MLA style, and these templates might not work well for you.

These documents are Word documents (created on a PC) preformatted with heading styles that will comply with the heading style requirements of your institution.

IMPORTANT : Before you download a template, check your institution’s dissertation handbook for the preferred heading style scheme. Specifically, determine whether the chapter title headings are considered level 1 (strict APA style) or level 0 ( not strict APA style). The images below show examples of the two heading schemes, updated for APA 7th edition.

Heading scheme 0

apa dissertation format template

Heading scheme 1

apa dissertation format template

Next, choose the document that suits your current status: proposal or manuscript . The proposal contains the first three chapters typically found in a social sciences dissertation proposal (Introduction, Literature Review, and Methodology), plus the front matter (Title page, Abstract, Lists of Tables/Figures, and the Table of Contents) and the back matter (References and Appendices). The manuscript includes all five chapters (Introduction, Literature Review, Methodology, Findings, and Conclusions/Implications), plus the front and back matter.

Template descriptions

In addition to the formatted body of the paper, all the templates include placeholder pages and text for the front matter (Title page, Abstract, Lists of Tables/Figures, Table of Contents) and the back matter (References and Appendices).

NOTE: These files are regular Word 2013 documents (.docx) formatted using Word styles. You can use these documents as a template. These files are not actual Word TEMPLATEs (.dot or .dotm), which your virus scanning software may not accept. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry about it.

APA-7th ed.-Word Template: PROPOSAL 0123

Chapter titles are level zero. Heading level 1 is bold, centered, title case. Heading level 2 is bold, left-aligned, and title case. Heading level 3 is bold, left aligned, italicized, title case. Heading level 4 is a paragraph-level heading, bold, title case, and ends with a period. Heading level 5 is a paragraph-level heading, bold, italicized, title case, and ends with a period. See APA 7th ed. (2020), section 2.27, for details and examples. Note that the APA examples will not show level zero headings. Many institutions require chapter headings to be document level (chapter title) level heading. This style departs from APA style.

APA-7th ed.-Word Template: PROPOSAL 123

Chapter titles are level 1 headings. Heading level 2 is bold, left-aligned, and title case. Heading level 3 is bold, left aligned, italicized, title case. Heading level 4 is a paragraph-level heading, bold, title case, and ends with a period. Heading level 5 is a paragraph-level heading, bold, italicized, title case, and ends with a period. See APA 7th ed. (2020), section 2.27, for details and examples. Heading styles comply strictly with APA style.

APA-7th ed.-Word Template: MANUSCRIPT 0123

Apa-7th ed.-word template: manuscript 123, heading scheme specifications.

The Styles Panes for the two APA 7th ed. heading schemes are shown below.

apa dissertation format template

To view your Styles Pane in one of the later versions of Word for PC, on the Home Ribbon, click the little arrow at the bottom right hand corner of the Styles command section. If your Styles Pane doesn’t look like this, you can adjust the view using the Options button. When I’m working, I usually show just the styles in the document, and I like them in alphabetical order.

apa dissertation format template

How to use these templates

  • After downloading the appropriate template for your needs, open the file.
  • Enable editing (click the button so you can edit the document. Your virus software will scan to make sure the file is safe to open on your computer).
  • Save the file with a new name (usually using the naming conventions required by your institution) in a place you can find it again. This new version is the one you can start editing. Keep the original template somewhere on your computer so you can refer back to the style scheme as needed.
  • Scroll through the document and look at the sections to make sure the template and format will work for you.
  • Start adding your own content. Customize the heading text with the headings required by your institution. The template is preformatted so you can simply type your text over the heading placeholders.
  • Check your institutional guidelines for other formatting requirements that may depart from strict APA style. For example, some institutions require block quotes and references lists to be single-spaced with one blank line after.
  • I’ve included some comments in the margins of the templates to guide you as you go. Remove these comments when they aren’t useful (right-click, Remove Comment).
  • To remove the yellow highlighting, you can select the text and type over it or you can select the text and turn off the highlighting (find the Highlighter tool on the Home Ribbon, select No Color).

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What Is a Dissertation? | Guide, Examples, & Template

Structure of a Dissertation

A dissertation is a long-form piece of academic writing based on original research conducted by you. It is usually submitted as the final step in order to finish a PhD program.

Your dissertation is probably the longest piece of writing you’ve ever completed. It requires solid research, writing, and analysis skills, and it can be intimidating to know where to begin.

Your department likely has guidelines related to how your dissertation should be structured. When in doubt, consult with your supervisor.

You can also download our full dissertation template in the format of your choice below. The template includes a ready-made table of contents with notes on what to include in each chapter, easily adaptable to your department’s requirements.

Download Word template Download Google Docs template

  • In the US, a dissertation generally refers to the collection of research you conducted to obtain a PhD.
  • In other countries (such as the UK), a dissertation often refers to the research you conduct to obtain your bachelor’s or master’s degree.

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Table of contents

Dissertation committee and prospectus process, how to write and structure a dissertation, acknowledgements or preface, list of figures and tables, list of abbreviations, introduction, literature review, methodology, reference list, proofreading and editing, defending your dissertation, free checklist and lecture slides.

When you’ve finished your coursework, as well as any comprehensive exams or other requirements, you advance to “ABD” (All But Dissertation) status. This means you’ve completed everything except your dissertation.

Prior to starting to write, you must form your committee and write your prospectus or proposal . Your committee comprises your adviser and a few other faculty members. They can be from your own department, or, if your work is more interdisciplinary, from other departments. Your committee will guide you through the dissertation process, and ultimately decide whether you pass your dissertation defense and receive your PhD.

Your prospectus is a formal document presented to your committee, usually orally in a defense, outlining your research aims and objectives and showing why your topic is relevant . After passing your prospectus defense, you’re ready to start your research and writing.

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The structure of your dissertation depends on a variety of factors, such as your discipline, topic, and approach. Dissertations in the humanities are often structured more like a long essay , building an overall argument to support a central thesis , with chapters organized around different themes or case studies.

However, hard science and social science dissertations typically include a review of existing works, a methodology section, an analysis of your original research, and a presentation of your results , presented in different chapters.

Dissertation examples

We’ve compiled a list of dissertation examples to help you get started.

  • Example dissertation #1: Heat, Wildfire and Energy Demand: An Examination of Residential Buildings and Community Equity (a dissertation by C. A. Antonopoulos about the impact of extreme heat and wildfire on residential buildings and occupant exposure risks).
  • Example dissertation #2: Exploring Income Volatility and Financial Health Among Middle-Income Households (a dissertation by M. Addo about income volatility and declining economic security among middle-income households).
  • Example dissertation #3: The Use of Mindfulness Meditation to Increase the Efficacy of Mirror Visual Feedback for Reducing Phantom Limb Pain in Amputees (a dissertation by N. S. Mills about the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on the relationship between mirror visual feedback and the pain level in amputees with phantom limb pain).

The very first page of your document contains your dissertation title, your name, department, institution, degree program, and submission date. Sometimes it also includes your student number, your supervisor’s name, and the university’s logo.

Read more about title pages

The acknowledgements section is usually optional and gives space for you to thank everyone who helped you in writing your dissertation. This might include your supervisors, participants in your research, and friends or family who supported you. In some cases, your acknowledgements are part of a preface.

Read more about acknowledgements Read more about prefaces

Receive feedback on language, structure, and formatting

Professional editors proofread and edit your paper by focusing on:

  • Academic style
  • Vague sentences
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See an example

apa dissertation format template

The abstract is a short summary of your dissertation, usually about 150 to 300 words long. Though this may seem very short, it’s one of the most important parts of your dissertation, because it introduces your work to your audience.

Your abstract should:

  • State your main topic and the aims of your research
  • Describe your methods
  • Summarize your main results
  • State your conclusions

Read more about abstracts

The table of contents lists all of your chapters, along with corresponding subheadings and page numbers. This gives your reader an overview of your structure and helps them easily navigate your document.

Remember to include all main parts of your dissertation in your table of contents, even the appendices. It’s easy to generate a table automatically in Word if you used heading styles. Generally speaking, you only include level 2 and level 3 headings, not every subheading you included in your finished work.

Read more about tables of contents

While not usually mandatory, it’s nice to include a list of figures and tables to help guide your reader if you have used a lot of these in your dissertation. It’s easy to generate one of these in Word using the Insert Caption feature.

Read more about lists of figures and tables

Similarly, if you have used a lot of abbreviations (especially industry-specific ones) in your dissertation, you can include them in an alphabetized list of abbreviations so that the reader can easily look up their meanings.

Read more about lists of abbreviations

In addition to the list of abbreviations, if you find yourself using a lot of highly specialized terms that you worry will not be familiar to your reader, consider including a glossary. Here, alphabetize the terms and include a brief description or definition.

Read more about glossaries

The introduction serves to set up your dissertation’s topic, purpose, and relevance. It tells the reader what to expect in the rest of your dissertation. The introduction should:

  • Establish your research topic , giving the background information needed to contextualize your work
  • Narrow down the focus and define the scope of your research
  • Discuss the state of existing research on the topic, showing your work’s relevance to a broader problem or debate
  • Clearly state your research questions and objectives
  • Outline the flow of the rest of your work

Everything in the introduction should be clear, engaging, and relevant. By the end, the reader should understand the what, why, and how of your research.

Read more about introductions

A formative part of your research is your literature review . This helps you gain a thorough understanding of the academic work that already exists on your topic.

Literature reviews encompass:

  • Finding relevant sources (e.g., books and journal articles)
  • Assessing the credibility of your sources
  • Critically analyzing and evaluating each source
  • Drawing connections between them (e.g., themes, patterns, conflicts, or gaps) to strengthen your overall point

A literature review is not merely a summary of existing sources. Your literature review should have a coherent structure and argument that leads to a clear justification for your own research. It may aim to:

  • Address a gap in the literature or build on existing knowledge
  • Take a new theoretical or methodological approach to your topic
  • Propose a solution to an unresolved problem or advance one side of a theoretical debate

Read more about literature reviews

Theoretical framework

Your literature review can often form the basis for your theoretical framework. Here, you define and analyze the key theories, concepts, and models that frame your research.

Read more about theoretical frameworks

Your methodology chapter describes how you conducted your research, allowing your reader to critically assess its credibility. Your methodology section should accurately report what you did, as well as convince your reader that this was the best way to answer your research question.

A methodology section should generally include:

  • The overall research approach ( quantitative vs. qualitative ) and research methods (e.g., a longitudinal study )
  • Your data collection methods (e.g., interviews or a controlled experiment )
  • Details of where, when, and with whom the research took place
  • Any tools and materials you used (e.g., computer programs, lab equipment)
  • Your data analysis methods (e.g., statistical analysis , discourse analysis )
  • An evaluation or justification of your methods

Read more about methodology sections

Your results section should highlight what your methodology discovered. You can structure this section around sub-questions, hypotheses , or themes, but avoid including any subjective or speculative interpretation here.

Your results section should:

  • Concisely state each relevant result together with relevant descriptive statistics (e.g., mean , standard deviation ) and inferential statistics (e.g., test statistics , p values )
  • Briefly state how the result relates to the question or whether the hypothesis was supported
  • Report all results that are relevant to your research questions , including any that did not meet your expectations.

Additional data (including raw numbers, full questionnaires, or interview transcripts) can be included as an appendix. You can include tables and figures, but only if they help the reader better understand your results. Read more about results sections

Your discussion section is your opportunity to explore the meaning and implications of your results in relation to your research question. Here, interpret your results in detail, discussing whether they met your expectations and how well they fit with the framework that you built in earlier chapters. Refer back to relevant source material to show how your results fit within existing research in your field.

Some guiding questions include:

  • What do your results mean?
  • Why do your results matter?
  • What limitations do the results have?

If any of the results were unexpected, offer explanations for why this might be. It’s a good idea to consider alternative interpretations of your data.

Read more about discussion sections

Your dissertation’s conclusion should concisely answer your main research question, leaving your reader with a clear understanding of your central argument and emphasizing what your research has contributed to the field.

In some disciplines, the conclusion is just a short section preceding the discussion section, but in other contexts, it is the final chapter of your work. Here, you wrap up your dissertation with a final reflection on what you found, with recommendations for future research and concluding remarks.

It’s important to leave the reader with a clear impression of why your research matters. What have you added to what was already known? Why is your research necessary for the future of your field?

Read more about conclusions

It is crucial to include a reference list or list of works cited with the full details of all the sources that you used, in order to avoid plagiarism. Be sure to choose one citation style and follow it consistently throughout your dissertation. Each style has strict and specific formatting requirements.

Common styles include MLA , Chicago , and APA , but which style you use is often set by your department or your field.

Create APA citations Create MLA citations

Your dissertation should contain only essential information that directly contributes to answering your research question. Documents such as interview transcripts or survey questions can be added as appendices, rather than adding them to the main body.

Read more about appendices

Making sure that all of your sections are in the right place is only the first step to a well-written dissertation. Don’t forget to leave plenty of time for editing and proofreading, as grammar mistakes and sloppy spelling errors can really negatively impact your work.

Dissertations can take up to five years to write, so you will definitely want to make sure that everything is perfect before submitting. You may want to consider using a professional dissertation editing service , AI proofreader or grammar checker to make sure your final project is perfect prior to submitting.

After your written dissertation is approved, your committee will schedule a defense. Similarly to defending your prospectus, dissertation defenses are oral presentations of your work. You’ll present your dissertation, and your committee will ask you questions. Many departments allow family members, friends, and other people who are interested to join as well.

After your defense, your committee will meet, and then inform you whether you have passed. Keep in mind that defenses are usually just a formality; most committees will have resolved any serious issues with your work with you far prior to your defense, giving you ample time to fix any problems.

As you write your dissertation, you can use this simple checklist to make sure you’ve included all the essentials.

Checklist: Dissertation

My title page includes all information required by my university.

I have included acknowledgements thanking those who helped me.

My abstract provides a concise summary of the dissertation, giving the reader a clear idea of my key results or arguments.

I have created a table of contents to help the reader navigate my dissertation. It includes all chapter titles, but excludes the title page, acknowledgements, and abstract.

My introduction leads into my topic in an engaging way and shows the relevance of my research.

My introduction clearly defines the focus of my research, stating my research questions and research objectives .

My introduction includes an overview of the dissertation’s structure (reading guide).

I have conducted a literature review in which I (1) critically engage with sources, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of existing research, (2) discuss patterns, themes, and debates in the literature, and (3) address a gap or show how my research contributes to existing research.

I have clearly outlined the theoretical framework of my research, explaining the theories and models that support my approach.

I have thoroughly described my methodology , explaining how I collected data and analyzed data.

I have concisely and objectively reported all relevant results .

I have (1) evaluated and interpreted the meaning of the results and (2) acknowledged any important limitations of the results in my discussion .

I have clearly stated the answer to my main research question in the conclusion .

I have clearly explained the implications of my conclusion, emphasizing what new insight my research has contributed.

I have provided relevant recommendations for further research or practice.

If relevant, I have included appendices with supplemental information.

I have included an in-text citation every time I use words, ideas, or information from a source.

I have listed every source in a reference list at the end of my dissertation.

I have consistently followed the rules of my chosen citation style .

I have followed all formatting guidelines provided by my university.

Congratulations!

The end is in sight—your dissertation is nearly ready to submit! Make sure it's perfectly polished with the help of a Scribbr editor.

If you’re an educator, feel free to download and adapt these slides to teach your students about structuring a dissertation.

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Free Download: APA 7 Template

Feeling a little intimidated by the never-ending list of formatting, content and referencing requirements of APA 7th edition? Our free APA student paper template makes it easy by taking care of all the finer details, right out of the box.

This free template includes all five core sections typically required for a student paper formatted using APA 7th edition. Here’s an overview of the template structure:

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The perfectly formatted MS Word document (DOCX format) is fully editable , so you can use it for your as is, copy over the contents to a fresh document, or convert to LaTeX.

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APA Formatting and Style (7th ed.) for Student Papers

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Reference Page Examples - Dissertations or Theses

  • Published Dissertation or Thesis
  • Unpublished Dissertation or Thesis

 A dissertation or thesis is considered published when it is available from a database such as ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

If the database or archive requires users to log in before they can view the dissertation or thesis, meaning the url will not work for readers, end the reference with the database name., author, a. a. (year).  title of dissertation  (publication no. xxxxxxxxx). [doctoral dissertation or masters thesis, name of, institution that awarded the degree]. name of source i.e. proquest dissertations and theses global. url for, the dissertation or thesis., d'arcangelis, g. s. (2009).  the bio scare: anthrax, smallpox, sars, flu and post-9/11 u.s. empire  (order no.,            3388146). [doctoral dissertation, university of california los angeles]. proquest dissertations and theses,            global. , * ** remember: each source listed on the reference page must correspond to at least one in-text citation in the body of the paper; each in-text citation must correspond to a source listed on the reference page., when a dissertation or thesis is unpublished, include the description “[unpublished doctoral dissertation]” or “[unpublished master’s thesis]” in square brackets after the dissertation or thesis title., in the source element of the reference, provide the name of the institution that awarded the degree., author, a. a. (year).  title of dissertation  [unpublished doctoral dissertation or unpublished, masters thesis], name of institution that awarded the degree. , johnson, b. (2005). balanced scorecard applications  [unpublished master's thesis]. worthington university..

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / APA Format / How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in APA

How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in APA

In this citation guide, you will learn how to reference and cite an undergraduate thesis, master’s thesis, or doctoral dissertation. This guide will also review the differences between a thesis or dissertation that is published and one that has remained unpublished. The guidelines below come from the 7th edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (2020a), pages 333 and 334. Please note that the association is not affiliated with this guide.

Alternatively, you can visit EasyBib.com for helpful citation tools to cite your thesis or dissertation .

Guide Overview

Citing an unpublished thesis or dissertation, citing a published dissertation or thesis from a database, citing a thesis or dissertation published online but not from a database, citing a thesis or dissertation: reference overview, what you need.

Since unpublished theses can usually only be sourced in print form from a university library, the correct citation structure includes the university name where the publisher element usually goes.

Author’s last name, F. M. (Year published). Title in sentence case [Unpublished degree type thesis or dissertation]. Name of institution.

Ames, J. H., & Doughty, L. H. (1911). The proposed plans for the Iowa State College athletic field including the design of a reinforced concrete grandstand and wall [Unpublished bachelor’s thesis]. Iowa State University.

In-text citation example:

  • Parenthetical :  (Ames & Doughty, 1911)
  • Narrative :  Ames & Doughty (1911)

If a thesis or dissertation has been published and is found on a database, then follow the structure below. It’s similar to the format for an unpublished dissertation/thesis, but with a few differences:

  • The institution is presented in brackets after the title
  • The archive or database name is included

Author’s last name, F. M. (Year published). Title in sentence case (Publication or Document No.) [Degree type thesis or dissertation, Name of institution]. Database name.

Examples 1:

Knight, K. A. (2011). Media epidemics: Viral structures in literature and new media (Accession No. 2013420395) [Doctoral dissertation, University of California, Santa Barbara]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Example dissertation-thesis

Trotman, J.B. (2018). New insights into the biochemistry and cell biology of RNA recapping (Document No. osu1523896565730483) [Doctoral dissertation, Ohio State University]. OhioLINK Electronic Theses & Dissertations Center.

In the example given above, the dissertation is presented with a Document Number (Document No.). Sometimes called a database number or publication number, this is the identifier that is used by the database’s indexing system. If the database you are using provides you with such a number, then include it directly after the work’s title in parentheses.

If you are interested in learning more about how to handle works that were accessed via academic research databases, see Section 9.3 of the Publication Manual.

In-text citation examples :

  • Parenthetical citation : (Trotman, 2018)
  • Narrative citation : Trotman (2018)

Author’s last name, F. M. (Year Published). Title in sentence case [Degree type thesis or dissertation, Name of institution]. Name of archive or collection. URL

Kim, O. (2019). Soviet tableau: cinema and history under late socialism [Doctoral dissertation, University of Pittsburgh]. Institutional Repository at the University of Pittsburgh. https://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/37669/7/Olga%20Kim%20Final%20ETD.pdf

Stiles, T. W. (2001). Doing science: Teachers’ authentic experiences at the Lone Star Dinosaur Field Institute [Master’s thesis, Texas A&M University]. OAKTrust. https://hdl.handle.net/1969.1/ETD-TAMU-2001-THESIS-S745

It is important to note that not every thesis or dissertation published online will be associated with a specific archive or collection. If the work is published on a private website, provide only the URL as the source element.

In-text citation examples:

  • Parenthetical citation : (Kim, 2019)
  • Narrative citation : Kim (2019)
  • Parenthetical citation : (Stiles, 2001)
  • Narrative citation : Stiles (2001)

dissertation and thesis Citations for APA 7

We hope that the information provided here will serve as an effective guide for your research. If you’re looking for even more citation info, visit EasyBib.com for a comprehensive collection of educational materials covering multiple source types.

If you’re citing a variety of different sources, consider taking the EasyBib citation generator for a spin. It can help you cite easily and offers citation forms for several different kinds of sources.

To start things off, let’s take a look at the different types of literature that are classified under Chapter 10.6 of the Publication Manual :

  • Undergraduate thesis
  • Master’s thesis
  • Doctoral dissertation

You will need to know which type you are citing. You’ll also need to know if it is published or unpublished .

When you decide to cite a dissertation or thesis, you’ll need to look for the following information to use in your citation:

  • Author’s last name, and first and middle initials
  • Year published
  • Title of thesis or dissertation
  • If it is unpublished
  • Publication or document number (if applicable; for published work)
  • Degree type (bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral)
  • Thesis or dissertation
  • Name of institution awarding degree
  • DOI (https://doi.org/xxxxx) or URL (if applicable)

Since theses and dissertations are directly linked to educational degrees, it is necessary to list the name of the associated institution; i.e., the college, university, or school that is awarding the associated degree.

To get an idea of the proper form, take a look at the examples below. There are three outlined scenarios:

  • Unpublished thesis or dissertation
  • Published thesis or dissertation from a database
  • Thesis or dissertation published online but not from a database

American Psychological Association. (2020a). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1037/0000165-000

American Psychological Association. (2020b). Style-Grammar-Guidelines. https://apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/basic-principles/parenthetical-versus-narrative

Published August 10, 2012. Updated March 24, 2020.

Written and edited by Michele Kirschenbaum and Elise Barbeau. Michele Kirschenbaum is a school library media specialist and the in-house librarian at EasyBib.com. Elise Barbeau is the Citation Specialist at Chegg. She has worked in digital marketing, libraries, and publishing.

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To cite a published thesis in APA style, it is important that you know some basic information such as the author, publication year, title of the thesis, institute name, archive name, and URL (uniform resource locator). The templates for an in-text citation and reference list entry of a thesis, along with examples, are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

Use the author surname and the publication year in the in-text citation.

Author Surname (Publication Year)

Cartmel (2007)

Parenthetical:

(Author Surname, Publication Year)

(Cartmel, 2007)

Reference list entry template and example:

The title of the thesis is set in sentence case and italicized. Enclose the thesis and the institute awarding the degree inside brackets following the publication year. Then add the name of the database followed by the URL.

Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Title of the thesis [Master’s thesis, Institute Name]. Name of the Database. URL

Cartmel, J. (2007). Outside school hours care and schools [Master’s thesis, Queensland University of Technology]. EPrints. http://eprints.qut.edu.au/17810/1/Jennifer_Cartmel_Thesis.pdf

To cite an unpublished dissertation in APA style, it is important that you know some basic information such as the author, year, title of the dissertation, and institute name. The templates for in-text citation and reference list entry of an online thesis, along with examples, are given below:

Author Surname (Year)

Averill (2009)

(Author Surname, Year)

(Averill, 2009)

The title of the dissertation is set in sentence case and italicized. Enclose “Unpublished doctoral dissertation” inside brackets following the year. Then add the name of the institution awarding the degree.

Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Title of the dissertation [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Name of the Institute.

Averill, R. (2009). Teacher–student relationships in diverse New Zealand year 10 mathematics classrooms: Teacher care [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. Victoria University of Wellington.

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Dear Doctoral Candidate:

Prior to using the template, please read the template in its entirety. Once you have read through the document, please transfer your work section by section following the provided instructions. In some places, it will be necessary to retype the work e.g. the first pages, the table of contents, but in other sections, the copy and paste function can be used – note the option to accept the format of the template or that ensures double spacing. All settings have been made to the template. Once all of your work has been transferred to the template, please send it to your Chair. He/she will then forward your complete dissertation for the pre- APA review.

Any questions prior to or during the use of the template can be sent to Pre-APA review .

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Monroe college uses  apa 7 style guidelines for all student papers. , you can download our detailed apa 7 formatting tutorial here ., if your instructor's directions conflict with any apa rules, follow the instructor's directions., apa 7th edition template.

  • APA 7 Student Paper Template (.docx) Download this 7th-edition template, and use it to format your APA-style Research Paper. Simply download and save a new copy of the document and paste the contents of your paper into the appropriate fields within the template.
  • APA 7 Paper Template WITH ABSTRACT This version of the template includes the ABSTRACT page. Ask your instructor whether the Abstract is required for your paper.
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7th Edition APA Section Headings

Apa 7 section headings.

  •  Running heads are no longer required for student papers.
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  1. PDF APA Style Dissertation Guidelines: Formatting Your Dissertation

    tutorials under the "Resources for Writing Your Dissertation" tab. APA Style, 7 th Edition: A Brief Overview This section provides a very brief overview of APA Style formatting. For more thorough information about APA Style, 7 th edition, please refer to Appendix A (on page 11) of this guide for additional APA resources. Headings

  2. Sample papers

    Download and edit sample papers formatted in seventh edition APA Style for different paper types, such as literature review, mixed methods, qualitative, and quantitative. The sample papers show the format that authors should use to submit a manuscript or a paper for publication or a course assignment.

  3. APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.)

    Home Knowledge Base APA Style 7th edition APA format for academic papers and essays APA Formatting and Citation (7th Ed.) | Generator, Template, Examples Published on November 6, 2020 by Raimo Streefkerk . Revised on January 17, 2024. This article reflects the APA 7th edition guidelines. Click here for APA 6th edition guidelines.

  4. University Thesis and Dissertation Templates

    If your institution has a template for formatting your thesis or dissertation that you can use, do so. Don't look at another student's document and try to replicate it yourself.

  5. PDF How to Prepare your Dissertation in APA Style Style Manual Spacing Margins

    Style Manual It is recommended that APA Style Seventh Edition is used. It should be in 12-point type using Times New Roman font. Spacing The test in the manuscript should be double-spaced. The right margin of the text should not be justified, but kept left-aligned, also known as ragged right, like the test in this guide. Margins

  6. PDF APA 6 Dissertation Template

    APA 6 Dissertation Template TITLE OF THE STUDY A Dissertation Presented to the The Faculty of the School of Education The College of William and Mary in Virginia In Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Education By Your Name Month YEAR ADD TITLE HERE By Your Name Approved ADD DATE by ADD NAME Committee Member

  7. Thesis/Dissertation

    Italicize the title Identify whether source is doctoral dissertation or master's thesis in parentheses after the title Various Examples See Ch. 10 pp. 313-352 of APA Manual for more examples and formatting rules Last Updated: Nov 1, 2023 3:17 PM

  8. How to Cite a Dissertation in APA Style

    The format for citing someone else's dissertation or thesis in APA Style depends on whether the thesis is available from a database, published somewhere else (e.g. on a university archive or personal website), or unpublished (only available in print form directly from the author or university).

  9. APA Style, 7th edition

    DNP SPP TOC Example 1 DNP SPP TOC Example 2 EdD TOC Examples Use the below examples as a reference point for forming your Table of Contents. These should be used as a baseline for formatting-- yours will be more specific to your headings and subject-matter. EdD Dissertation TOC Example 1 EdD Dissertation TOC Example 2 IMPORTANT: Signature Page

  10. Formatting your Dissertation in APA Style

    The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition is the official source for APA Style. With millions of copies sold worldwide in multiple languages, it is the style manual of choice for writers, researchers, editors, students, and educators in the social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, nursing, communications, education, business, engineering, and ...

  11. Subject guides: APA 7th: Theses and dissertations

    Format Online. Author, A. A. (Year). Title of thesis [Type of thesis, Name of institution awarding degree]. Name of archive or site. https://xxxxxx. Stored in a database ... For further guidance, see the APA Style website- Published Dissertation or Thesis, ...

  12. Format Your Paper

    APA 7th ed. Template Document This is an APA format template document in Google Docs. Click on the link -- it will ask for you to make a new copy of the document, which you can save in your own Google Drive with your preferred privacy settings.

  13. PDF Manual for the Formatting of Graduate Dissertations and Theses

    APA Format [Sample: Title Page] A Dissertation entitled A Game-Theoretic Approach to a General Equilibrium Model with Asymmetric Price Information and No Goods by Elmer J. Fudd Submitted to the Graduate Faculty as partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Economics Roy Hinkley, Ph.D., Committee Chair

  14. APA Sample Paper

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    APA-WORD TEMPLATES Updated 8/19/2020 for the current APA 7th edition (2020) All APA 7th edition Word templates are now free to download. Click the "Purchase" button, enter your email, and download the files you want. If something goes wrong, email Carol at [email protected] or fill out the contact form.

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    APA 7th ed. Template Download this Word document, fill out the title page and get writing! Sample Paper APA 7th ed. Our APA sample paper shows you how to format the main parts of a basic research paper. APA 7th Sample Papers from Purdue Owl Last Updated: Jan 10, 2024 11:31 AM URL: https://national.libguides.com/apa_7th

  17. APA Sample Paper

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  18. What Is a Dissertation?

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  19. Published Dissertation or Thesis References

    This page contains reference examples for published dissertations or theses, which are considered published when they are available from a database such as ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global or PDQT Open, an institutional repository, or an archive.

  20. Free Download: APA 7 Template (Word Doc

    This free template includes all five core sections typically required for a student paper formatted using APA 7th edition. Here's an overview of the template structure: The perfectly formatted MS Word document (DOCX format) is fully editable, so you can use it for your as is, copy over the contents to a fresh document, or convert to LaTeX.

  21. Dissertations or Theses

    When a dissertation or thesis is unpublished, include the description "[Unpublished doctoral dissertation]" or "[Unpublished master's thesis]" in square brackets after the dissertation or thesis title. In the source element of the reference, provide the name of the institution that awarded the degree. Pattern: Author, A. A. (year).

  22. How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in APA

    How to Cite a Thesis or Dissertation in APA In this citation guide, you will learn how to reference and cite an undergraduate thesis, master's thesis, or doctoral dissertation. This guide will also review the differences between a thesis or dissertation that is published and one that has remained unpublished.

  23. PDF Sample Student Paper

    Sample Student Paper paper title, 2.4, 2.27, Table 2.1, Figure 2.4 ... Sample Papers • 67 doctoral dissertation reference, 10.6 shortDOI, 9.36 ELEMENTS & FORMAT. Title: Sample Annotated Student Paper in APA Style Author: American Psychological Association Subject: APA Style Keywords: sample, student, paper, annotated Created Date:

  24. APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

    Start Here General Format Guidelines on writing an APA style paper In-Text Citations Resources on using in-text citations in APA style The Basics General guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay Author/Authors How to refer to authors in-text, including single and multiple authors, unknown authors, organizations, etc.

  25. Dissertation Templates

    All settings have been made to the template. Once all of your work has been transferred to the template, please send it to your Chair. He/she will then forward your complete dissertation for the pre- APA review. Any questions prior to or during the use of the template can be sent to Pre-APA review.

  26. Download Template & Section Headings

    Download this 7th-edition template, and use it to format your APA-style Research Paper. Simply download and save a new copy of the document and paste the contents of your paper into the appropriate fields within the template. APA 7 Paper Template WITH ABSTRACT.