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Preparing a Dissertation (or Thesis) (or Capstone) Common Sense Guidelines And Some Rules.

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Presentation on theme: "Preparing a Dissertation (or Thesis) (or Capstone) Common Sense Guidelines And Some Rules."— Presentation transcript:

1 Preparing a Dissertation (or Thesis) (or Capstone) Common Sense Guidelines And Some Rules

2 Submission steps Submit to committee and program director ▫iThenticate check ▫Committee reads/reviews Defend Incorporate any changes corrections Submit to GSBS Make any changes Register copyright Submit to ETD server

3 Timelines ▫Same for Dissertation/Thesis/Capstone. Published in academic calendar. ▫Count on at least a week to get it back. ▫Word document or PDF is OK for post defense review, after committee changes incorporated. ▫I will check out a chapter early if you would like.

4 Request for Final Oral Exam

5 Plagiarism Detection Software search for duplication. Submit word document: ▫ 5MB by jump drive. ▫If your document is >5MB, you can strip out:  Front matter  References  Illustrations Changing one word is not paraphrasing. Quotations are OK!

6 The Template It is there to help you Revision coming soon. It is optional! Remember -the version submitted should look like the template – how you get there is up to you.

7 Why register your copyright? For your protection Not required Small fee


9 What is Required for Final Submission? Only the ETD ▫No Bound copy required by GSBS or library. ▫Even when doing an ETD you may well want bound copies for your mentor or parents or your bookshelf. ▫So margins count even in an ETD! ▫You submit to the ETD server after I approve. ▫Final submission a PDF ▫Supplemental files allowed

10 Reducing PDF File Size Requires Adobe Acrobat Pro which can be obtained for free by any UTMB student or employee by going to

11 Steps to Reduce File Size Open the PDF you would like to reduce using Adobe Acrobat Pro – Close all Adobe Reader files that you may have open – On a windows computer this can be done by right clicking on the PDF and choosing Open With: Adobe Acrobat (Version Number) In the Menu go to Document->Reduce File Size… – On Adobe Acrobat Pro 7.0 Reduce File Size… can be found under File Pick the highest compatible with: option – Should by Acrobat 9.0 or later, but if not pick the next highest option Click Okay Choose where you want to save the reduced file – You can overwrite the existing file Click Save

12 Steps to Reduce File Size, cont. Your Done, review the document and make sure everything is still a high enough quality – The first time should work with out a problem unless you have very high quality images that don’t work well with the initial compression Note: This process can be repeated as many times as you like, but be careful because if done to many times it can make the text, tables, figures, or illustrations unreadable. This sort of equates to if you reduce the DPI of an image to much it will become grainy or look distorted.

13 Report of Final Oral Exam

14 But I Came Here to Ask About the Dissertation !

15 Title Page

16 How should you organize it? There is a lot of leeway here. Common setup: Introduction/Background, Methods, Data/hypothesis (by aims), Conclusions. This may not fit your document. This is dependent on your area and topic.

17 Do I Need a Methods Chapter? Use if the methods are roughly the same for each subsequent section. Do NOT repeat the same methods sections in multiple chapters. Do NOT self quote the same descriptions.  If each chapter uses unique methods, it is usually better to put a methods section in each chapter.  If there are lots of common methods, it is usually better to use a separate methods chapter.

18 What if I’ve Already Published Everything? Congratulations! But …

19 Read Like A Book Your dissertation should, that is. You need a coherent presentation, not simply a collection of articles.

20 How to do that?  Even if you have already published all or most of the information, you will have to do some reformatting.  Be sure the same style is used in each chapter – there are frequently different styles for different journals, so:  Do not just paste them in sequentially.  Do not repeat the same stuff in every introduction, it may have been needed in separate articles, but not when it is all put together.  Do not use “we” and “our” all the time like you would in a paper.  Do change the different journal styles to be consistent.  Do cite the article if published as a footnote to the chapter title, including permission to reproduce.

21 PERMISSIONS! Copyright permission is needed even if it is your article or figure. If you have done a number of illustrations yourself and they look really professional, let me know they are yours when you send the document – otherwise I will probably ask where you took them from. Check the journal instructions to authors for their policy.

22 What about Fair Use? If in doubt do a four factors evaluation. Even if not in doubt, this is a good idea. ▫Purpose ▫Nature ▫Amount ▫Effect

23 Common Problems: Repetition Often occurs if you are using your papers as chapters. Do not repeat introductions. Do not repeat methods. Never include chapter abstracts.

24 Common Problems: Page Numbering Front matter uses Roman Numerals. Numbers don’t start appearing until the acknowledgements (p iv). Chapter one starts on page 1. All page numbers: bottom, centered. Numbers continue consecutively, through appendices and references and biosketch

25 Common Problems: Citations In text references: three options. Use the style that is appropriate to your discipline. ▫Footnoted: Standard for Medical Humanities, Use Chicago Humanities Style. ▫Numbered: either consecutively (normal) or keyed to alphabetical reference list. ▫ Author - date: e.g., Smith, 2001; Smith & Jones, 2002; Smith et al., 2003.

26 Common Problems: Citations ▫If using contextual author – date citations (Jones, 2005) spell out two authors (Smith and Jones, 2004), use (Jones et al., 2005) for three or more, listing only the first author. ▫If more than one citation at a time, order them within the parenthesis alphabetically or (preferably) chronologically, oldest first. Never randomly. Use the same system throughout. ▫Be Consistent!

27 Common Problems: References Cited ▫Bibliography – discipline accepted style as long as full titles, full pagination and authors, i.e., no super-abbreviated styles like Science or Nature. ▫Authors: list them all if 12 or fewer. ▫Every source has an author! ▫Pagination – complete and inclusive required. So , never ▫Be consistent!

28 More on References: Titles ▫Journal titles – always spell out single word titles. ▫Abbreviations are OK in multi-word titles  Do not mix abbreviations and spell outs  Always use the same abbreviation for the same word. It can’t be Phys and Physiol in different journals if the word is Physiology in both  Acronyms are only acceptable if used by the journal itself. So JAMA is OK, PNAS is not  Be Consistent!

29 Even More on References References: more is better than less. ▫If you have references within a table, they must be in your reference list ▫If you are numbering references, do not start over at each chapter ▫Numbered references can be either alphabetical or by order of appearance/citation (preferred) ▫URL content changes, so include the date they were accessed ▫Cities should always have the 2-letter state postal code included

30 Common Problems: Spacing ▫Spacing – no huge white space ▫(like this)  Continue on with text, even if the table you just referred to will start on the next page. ▫Spacing – no hanging titles  This is an exception to the no white space rule

31 Common Problems: Figures, Tables ▫Placement: after first mentioned at the first convenient place ▫Don’t split Tables or Figures over pages, if possible ▫The legend should be on the same page as the figure ▫Don’t start fresh numbering with each chapter. There may only be one Figure 1!  1.1, 2.1, 3.1 etc. is OK ▫It is preferable to have them in the text as mentioned, but permissible to place at the end of a chapter ▫If placement is difficult, you can center a table of figure on a page and give it the entire page

32 Appendices ▫Need titles ▫Margins still count ▫They must be readable, even if you have to reformat ▫Should not introduce new references that are not in your bibliography ▫Pages are numbered consecutively with the text

33 Biosketch Include one A formal CV is not needed

34 The Cardinal Rule Always think of the reader!

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