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Electronic Theses & Dissertations (ETD): Common Errors

FORMATTING TIPS & COMMON ERRORS

There are some common errors to be aware of:

  • PAGE MARGINS: While the first couple of manuscript pages have unusual margins, everything from the acknowledgments page to the references should have 1-inch top, bottom, and right margins and a 1.5-inch left margin.  The appendices are allowed to have larger margins but not smaller.
  • IN-TEXT CITATIONS & REFERENCES: Your best bet is to review these throughly with a copy of the APA manual (6th ed.) guidelines.  Common citation/reference tools (e.g. Zotero, Citation Machine) are great but don't necessarily format your references correctly.  Go to the FSU Citation LibGuide for some of those citation/reference tools and other helpful websites. You need to make sure that each in-text citation is properly formatted and included in the references.
  • CITING WORKS BY AN AUTHOR IN THE SAME YEAR THE SAME WAY - If you cite works from same author that were published in the same year, you need to adjust your in-text citations accordingly. As per the APA manual (section 6.25), the in-text citation and its corresponding reference gets a lower-case letter next to the year of publication. That way, a reader can identify which work you are referring to - not guessing!
  • PAGE NUMBERING: The preliminary pages use Roman numerals, starting with "ii".  However, there should be no page number on the title page, approval page, or copyright page.
  • TYPOGRAPHICAL & GRAMMATICAL ERRORS:  While MS Word has spelling and grammar check tools, it's still a good idea to have someone reliable proof your manuscript.  For example, a computer won't necessarily save you from the inadvertant use of "there" for "their."
  • INCONSISTENCIES: Both the APA manual and Ed.D. dissertation style guide stress the importance of consistency.  For instance, do you use a hyphen in some headings, e.g. "Chapter 1 - Introduction," but a colon in others, "Appendix A: Data"?  Here's another case where having someone else proofread your manuscript will be helpful.
  • TABLES & FIGURES: APA has specific guidelines about how to display table data and images in figures, as well as, citing them.  Review chapter 5 of the APA manual for details.
  • HEADINGS: APA has specific guidelines for using headings, too.  If you end up changing a level 2 heading to level 3, make sure that the format changes and that the Table of Contents is updated accordingly.  Refer to the APA manual, Section 3.03, pgs. 62-63, and the Ed.D. Dissertation Style Guide for more information.