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 Thesis and Article writing: Format and styles of referencing

Thesis Format Important Guidelines – Framework of Thesis Report

How to follow Thesis writing framework to prepare research report ?

 Thesis and Article writing: Format and styles of referencing

(Based on Unit-II Research Aptitude  New Syllabus of UGC NET EXAM)


UGC NET Study materiel on Research Topics for NET Exam has been covered entirely based on topics  provided in syllabus.

In the 7 Parts series which can be referred using below , the first six parts contains important short study notes useful for your paper 1 preparation while the 7th part contains solved question papers of last almost 12 years MCQ Question which are asked in previous examination. 

Please go through them in sequential fashion to understand them in better ways.  

Unit-II Research Aptitude

Introduction on Thesis format

When it is the matter of presenting your PhD thesis in the best possible form, you may not want to compromise. Your thesis is probably the most significant document created during your academic career. If its format is disturbed, it may severely affect the readability and spoil the very first impression on your readers. It may also affect the way your thesis is judged by the review committee.

Notwithstanding the University’s Ph.D./M.Phil/M.Tech. ordinance for submission of thesis/dissertation, the guidelines prescribed in this document entitled “Guidelines for Submission of Thesis/Dissertation)” are guidelines for submission of Ph.D./M.Phil/M.Tech Thesis/ Dissertation. Guidelines have been revised in accordance with the UGC Notification (Minimum Standards & Procedure for Award of Ph.D./M.Phil/M.Tech Degree, Regulation, 2009) dated 11 July, 2009;

This is a step-by-step guide intended for all those who are in any way involved in preparing research proposals, research reports, theses or dissertations, which are crucial components of master’s, doctoral and post doctoral programs, and which contribute substantially to the research accomplishments .

Thesis Format Guidelines

(UGC approved: April 28, 2006)

These guidelines are designed to provide the formatting requirements for all theses and project reports submitted to Indian University. It contains the basic structure, layout, form, and style are required for the purpose, however, Candidates/ Departments may use additional requirements, if needed, provide that does not conflict with the guidelines contained in this document.


Thesis and Project Report Arrangement

Assemble the thesis/project report in this order:

  1. Cover page: includes the title, author, degree (“Thesis/Project submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Degree of Ph.D. of … in …”), and date.
  2. Cover page color: Pink
  3. Thesis/Project Approval Form.
  4. Plagiarism policy compliance statement.
  5. Copyright page that grants MU the right to use and reproduce fully or partially the work being presented.
  6. Dedication page (optional).
  7. Acknowledgments page (optional).
  8. Abstract: a concise summary of the essential information of the work being presented, namely of the study’s scope, purpose and results. The reference-free single spaced abstract should not exceed two pages.
  9. Table of Contents: includes all the subsections of each chapter and the list of appendices (if applicable) and page numbers.
  10. List of Figures: includes figure number, caption, and the page number.
  11. List of Tables: includes table number, caption, and the page number.
  12. Abbreviations page: lists all the abbreviations used in the text alongside their fully written unabbreviated form.
  13. Thesis/Project text; the layout is described in the next section.


The following presents a framework for a thesis. The information is offered as a general guideline. Students should always consult their advisor for additional guidelines.

In particular, the layout of project reports can be different depending on the type and scope of the project. Note that each chapter should start on a new page.

  • Introduction: background; statement of the problem; definition of terms; purpose of the study; theoretical basis; contributions of the study; organization of the remainder of the study.
  • Literature Review: chronological, categorical or related theoretical view points related to topic.
  • Proposed Solution/Methodology: research design or approach (quantitative, qualitative or algorithmic); population and / or sample; collection and tabulation of data; and data analysis procedures.
  • Solution Validation, Analysis of the Data, Results, and Discussion: presentation and discussion of the findings, including limitations.
  • Conclusions, Recommendations: summarizes the entire research effort; addresses the initial purpose of the study (stated in the introduction); stresses the importance of the work accomplished; leaves a final impression on the reader. It can also include suggestions for further work.
  • Bibliography/References: references should acknowledge any work done by someone other than the author. The reference should also include work performed by the author if presented or published at an earlier date. References should adopt one of the standard international styles; the American Psychological Association style for references and citation is recommended. For more information, contact the library.
  • Appendices: material too detailed or lengthy for inclusion in the body of the study (e.g. questionnaires, maps). Appendices may also contain information that might clarify the thesis but is routine in nature or indirectly related to the thesis. Raw data and examples of calculation could be incorporated.

Style and Form

  • Paper: Use high-quality acid-free A4-size paper, with only one side of the paper.
  • Printing: A high-quality laser printer should be used for the final copy.
  • Headings: In disciplines where section numbering is normally used, the following guidelines apply: Chapter title: 18 – 24 pt size, bold. Main Section Headings: can be numbered as chapter-number. Section-number (e.g., 3.2 for chapter 3, section 2) in 14 pt size, bold. Second Headings: can be numbered as x.y.z (e.g., 3.2.4 for chapter 3, section 2, and subsection 4) in 12 pt size, bold. First Subheadings: can be numbered as w.x.y.z (e.g., for chapter 3, section 2, subsection 4, and sub-subsection 1) in 12 pt size, regular. Second Subheadings: preferably unnumbered, 12 pt, italics.
  • Text Font: Acceptable fonts generated by word processing programs include, but are not restricted to: Times Roman 12, Helvetica 12, and Letter Gothic 12. The font provided through LaTex is acceptable. Bold and italics should not be used excessively in the text. Furthermore, colored text should not be used.
  • Spacing: Double or one and a half spacing is required for the text. Only footnotes, long quotations, bibliography entries (double space between entries), table captions, and similar special material may be single spaced.
  • Margins: Left, 4 cm; top, bottom, and right, 2.5 cm. These are necessary to allow for binding and trimming.
  • Page Numbering: Preliminary pages of the thesis, that is, those preceding the text are to be numbered in Roman numerals. The first page must not show its page number. Pages of the text itself and of all items following the text should be numbered consecutively throughout in Arabic numbers, beginning with number 1 on the first page of the first chapter. Page numbers should be placed in the lower right corner or center of the page. Only the number should appear, not page 9.
  • Tables and Figures: Figures and tables should be inserted at the appropriate place in the text. Figures must have numbers and captions under the figures. Tables have their titles and numbers above.
  • Drawings: Any material which cannot be typed or computer generated should be drawn with permanent black ink in neat and heavy lines. Photographs of drawings are acceptable. Xerox reproductions of drawings are acceptable if they are of high contrast.
  • Photographs: Mount small photographs with glue. Do not use rubber cement or tape. High-clarity Xerox copies of photographs are also acceptable. However, highquality scanned e-images can also be inserted into the thesis text.
  • Footnotes: In disciplines where footnotes are normally used, they should appear at the bottom of the same page as their reference. Footnotes should be numbered in Arabic numerals. The footnote reference is superscripted and the explanation at the bottom of the page begins with the footnote reference number. Footnotes should have a smaller font size than the text (e.g. 10 pt).
  • CDs and DVDs: identify with title, name of student, and date.
  • Computer Software: Describe in separate section in prefatory pages (e.g., list of figures and tables). If applicable, state requirements for the use of the software (e.g., hardware, screen resolution type) and any other information necessary for proper viewing of the software.
  • Oversized Material: Oversize foldout pages may be included, though ample margins for binding must be included. Leave oversize page unfolded. The bindery will fold and insert them. All pages must appropriately numbered if found in the text.
  • Binding: Binding will be arranged by the library, for a fee, in order to ensure consistency. At least two copies of the thesis should be submitted to the library of the campus concerned.

The various frameworks can be used depending on the content of the report, but generally, the same rules apply. Introduction, method, results and discussion with references or bibliography at the end and an abstract at the beginning could form the framework.

But the most used and followed report structure is are as follow:

  • TITLE PAGE:- Title of project, Subtitle (where appropriate), Date, Author, Organization, Logo

  • BACKGROUND:– History(if any) behind the project

  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:- Author thanks people and organization who helped during
    the project

  • SUMMARY(sometimes called abstract of the synopsis):- A condensed version of a report – outlines salient points, emphasizes main conclusions and (where appropriate) the main recommendations. N.B this is often difficult to write and it is suggested that you write it last.

  • LIST OF CONTENTS:- An at- a – glance list that tells the reader what is in the report and what page number(s) to find it on.

  • LIST OF TABLES:- As above, specifically for tables.

  • LIST OF APPENDICES:- As above, specifically for appendices.

  • INTRODUCTION:- Author sets the scene and states his/ her intentions.

  • AIMS AND OBJECTIVES AIMS:- – general aims of the audit/ project, broad statement
    of intent.

  • OBJECTIVES:- specific things expected to do/deliver(e.g. expected outcomes)

  • METHOD:- Work steps; what was done – how, by whom, when?

  • RESULT/FINDINGS:- Honest presentation of the findings, whether these were as expected or not. Give the facts, including any inconsistencies or difficulties encountered

  • DISCUSSION:- Explanation of the results.( you might like to keep the SWOT analysis in mind and think about your project’s strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats, as you write)

  • CONCLUSIONS:- The author links the results/ findings with the points made in the introduction and strives to reach clear, simply stated and unbiased conclusions. Make sure they are fully supported by evidence and arguments of the main body of your audit/project.

  • RECOMMENDATIONS:- The author states what specific actions should be taken, by whom and why. They must always be linked to the future and should always be realistic. Don’t make them unless asked to.

  • REFERENCES:- A section of a report, which provides full details of publications mentioned in the text, or from which extracts have been quoted.

  • APPENDIX:- The purpose of an appendix is to supplement the information contained in the main body of the report.

Few Other Important Terms & Terminology


Overview of the framework of report

There are at least 3 distinct report writing styles that can be applied by students of Business
Studies. They are called:

  • Conservative
  • Key points
  • Holistic

Conservative Style

Essentially, the conservative approach takes the best structural elements from essay writing andintegrates these with appropriate report writing tools. Thus, headings are used to deliberate upon
different sections of the answer. In addition, the space is well utilized by ensuring that each
paragraph is distinct (perhaps separated from other paragraphs by leaving two blank lines in

 Key Point Style

This style utilizes all of the report writing tools and is thus more overtly ‘report-looking’. Use of
headings, underlining, margins, diagrams and tables are common. Occasionally reporting might
even use indentation and dot points. The important thing to remember is that the tools should be
applied in a way that adds to the report. The question must be addressed and the tools applied
should assist in doing that. An advantage of this style is the enormous amount of information that
can be delivered relatively quickly.

Holistic Style

The most complex and unusual of the styles, holistic report writing aims to answer the question
from a thematic and integrative perspective. This style of report writing requires the researcher to
have a strong understanding of the course and is able to see which outcomes are being targeted by
the question.

APA Citation Style

APA stands for American Psychological Association, the scientific organisation that assembles the publishing manual of the APA format. The style was developed in 1929 by a group of scientists to standardize scientific writing.It was created in the hopes that it would provide a coherent and professional manner of citing sources

Citing a book in print

APA format structure:

Author, A. (Year of Publication). Title of work. Publisher City, State: Publisher.

APA format example:

Finney, J. (1970). Time and again. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

Notes: When citing a book in APA, keep in mind:

  • Capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title and any subtitles, as well as the first letter of any proper nouns.
  • The full title of the book, including any subtitles, should be stated and italicized.
Citing a general website article with an author

APA format structure:

Author, A. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Retrieved from URL

APA format example:

Simmons, B. (2015, January 9). The tale of two Flaccos. Retrieved from http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-tale-of-two-flaccos/

Citing a general website article without an author

APA format structure:

Article title. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Retrieved from URL

APA format example:

Teen posed as doctor at West Palm Beach hospital: police. (2015, January 16). Retrieved from http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Teen-Posed-as-Doctor-at-West-Palm-Beach-Hospital-Police-288810831.html

The Shodhganga@INFLIBNET Centre provides a platform for research students to deposit their Ph.D. theses and make it available to the entire scholarly community in open access.

The UGC Notification (Minimum Standards & Procedure for Award of M.Phil. / Ph.D Degree, Regulation, 2016) dated 5th May 2016 mandates submission of electronic version of theses and dissertations by the researchers in universities with an aim to facilitate open access to Indian theses and dissertations to the academic community world-wide.

Online availability of electronic theses through centrally-maintained digital repositories, not only ensure easy access and archiving of Indian doctoral theses but will also help in raising the standard and quality of research.

This would overcome serious problem of duplication of research and poor quality resulting from the “poor visibility” and the “unseen” factor in research output. As per the Regulation, the responsibility of hosting, maintaining and making the digital repository of Indian Electronic Theses and Dissertation (called “Shodhganga”), accessible to all institutions and universities, is assigned to the INFLIBNET Centre.

The Shodhganga@INFLIBNET is set-up using an open source digital repository software called DSpace developed by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in partnership between Hewlett- Packard (HP). 

The word “Shodh” originates from Sanskrit and stands for “research and discovery”. “Gangotri” is one of the largest glacier in the Himalayas and source of origination of Ganges, the holiest, longest and largest of rivers in India. The Ganges is the symbol of age-long culture, civilization, ever-aging, ever-flowing, ever-loving and loved by its people.

Under the initiative called “ShodhGangotri”, research scholars / research supervisors in universities are requested to deposit electronic version of approved synopsis submitted by research scholars to the universities for registering themselves for the Ph.D programme. The repository on one hand, would reveal the trends and directions of research being conducted in Indian universities, on the other hand it would avoid duplication of research.

Synopsis in “ShodhGangotri” would later be mapped to full-text theses in “ShodhGanga”. As such, once the full-text thesis is submitted for a synopsis, a link to the full-text theses would be provided from ShodhGangotri to “ShodhGanga”

References – 

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