Thesis Writing

Graduate students often think that the thesis happens in two distinct phases: doing the research, and writing the thesis. This may be the case for some students, but more often, these phases overlap and interact with one another. Sometimes it’s difficult to formalize an idea well enough to test, evaluate, analyze, and substantiate or prove it until you’ve written it up; the results of your analysis often require you to make changes that mean that you have to go back and rewrite parts of the thesis; and the process of developing and testing your ideas is almost never complete (there’s always more that you could do) so that many graduate students end up “doing research” right up until the day or two before the thesis is turned in.

The divide-and-conquer approach works as well for writing as it does for research. A problem that many graduate students face is that their only goal seems to be “finish the thesis? It is essential that you break this down into manageable stages, both in terms of doing the research and when writing the thesis. Tasks that you can finish in a week, a day, or even as little as half an hour are much more realistic goals. Try to come up with a range of tasks, both in terms of duration and difficulty.That way, on days when you feel energetic and enthusiastic, you can sink your teeth into a solid problem, but on days when you’re unmotivated, you can at least accomplish and few small tasks and get them off your list.

It also helps to start writing at a coarse granularity and successively refine your thesis. Don’t sit down and try to start writing the entire thesis from beginning to end. First make notes on what you want to cover; then organize these into an outline (which will probably change as you progress in your research and writing). Start drafting sections,beginning with those you’re most confident about. Do not feel obligated to write it perfectly the first time: if you can’t get a paragraph or phrase right, just write something (a rough cut, a note to yourself, a list of bulleted points) and move on. You can always come back to the hard parts later; the important thing is to make steady progress.

When writing a thesis, or any paper, realize that your audience is almost guaranteed to be less familiar with your subject than you are.Explain your motivations, goals, and methodology clearly. Be repetitive without being boring, by presenting your ideas at several levels of abstraction,and by using examples to convey the ideas in a different way.

Having a writing friend? is a good idea. If they’re working on their thesis at the same time, so much the better, but the most important thing is that they be willing to give you feedback on rough drafts, meet regularly to chart your progress and give you psychological support, and preferably that they be familiar enough with your field to understand and review your writing.

A Creative Process

Writing a master’s thesis is a creative process. Thus its nature and progress can depend very much on the candidate and the subject matter. However a few general principles should be kept in mind:

  • An overall plan for the thesis should be compiled as early as possible and discussed with your supervisor. A plan should not be binding, but should be discussed and modified where necessary as research and analysis proceed. It is a good idea for candidates to have a draft outline plan together with a timetable pinned on a notice board in front of them so that at every moment they are aware of where they are and of their immediate goals.
  • Key technical issues should also be addressed in early planning stages. For example, criticism of statistical analysis is common among examiners’ reports. The candidate should ensure that adequate statistical planning for the project is undertaken early in the project. Advice may be sought from supervisors or from other academic who are experienced in the statistical difficulties which can arise in many areas. Time spent with these people should lead to a sound experimental design with data capable of being analyzed according to standard statistical procedures.
  • Writing should commence as soon as possible. Even starting with very rough notes for paragraphs or chapters can give a good early psychological boost. Thesis writing does not necessarily have to start with chapter one. Write the easiest sections or chapters first. Again this can encourage a sense of progress and achievement. It is common for conclusions and introductions to be written last when candidates have a thorough awareness of the purpose and implications of their research. Bibliographies should not be left to do until last. With word processing, these can mostly be compiled as the reading and research progresses.
  • Candidates should do all their writing on a computer word processor. If they have had no previous experience they should arrange with their supervisor to have appropriate instruction. Word processors are wonderful tools, especially for thesis writing. Candidates who are not familiar with the features of a major word processing system—from data base managing to spell checking to footnoting—are putting themselves at a serious disadvantage. Great care must be taken at all times to protect every computer file with multiple backup copies, and not all stored at the same location. It is also a good idea to make periodic hard copies, i.e. printouts, of your work. Research data, notes and chapter drafts may represent several years intense effort by the candidate and may be impossible to recreate if they are lost through some electronic, technical or other misfortune.
  • Draft sections or chapters should be discussed with your supervisor as early as possible. Your supervisor has the duty to examine these carefully and critically and return them promptly. Candidates have a right to have considered feedback on whatever they show their supervisors.
  • Supervisors should see chapters at every stage, from rough notes, to early drafts, to revised drafts, to the final version. Supervisors should also see drafts of the whole thesis as soon as possible. While they may have commented on individual chapters shown to them at different times, they may also suggest revisions when all the chapters are seen together in the context of the thesis as a whole.
  • It is extremely unwise for candidates to submit a thesis or parts of a thesis for examination that have not been seen and approved, in their final form, by the supervisor.
  • In some disciplines (and sub-disciplines), candidates may be encouraged to publish the results of their research when their thesis is completed. Candidates should discuss publishing matters with their supervisors and there should be a clear understanding about issues of authorship, choice of journal, timing of publication, etc. Where both supervisor and candidate are co-authors each has the right to expect that such publications will not be excessively delayed.

    Some General Considerations in Writing a Proposal or Thesis

    Graduate students, and some faculty members, are frequently quite concerned about the exact format of a thesis and the Graduate School provides a standardized guide for the format. (Past submitted theses are not always a reliable duide to your thesis.) Additionally, you can obtain a thesis template which provides a general outline for your thesis: Where to put your statement of problem, where to state your hypothesis,etc. Regardless of the exact outline you follow, continuous considerations for the following overriding principles will be helpful:

    A. A thesis is a piece of written communication. Writing a thesis is not merely an act of theory formulation, hypothesis deduction, data collection or analysis. When you write your thesis, those activities are already done. Remember that the thesis is basically a piece of written communication. To be effective, your communication should be clear and direct. Write what you mean to communicate and don’t obfuscate.

    Your thesis, like all good communications, must have a central message. Lead your readers through this central message or argument from the beginning to the end and don’t digress.

    B. Your audience is not only the professors on your committee. Your thesis advisor and committee members are not the only audience of your thesis. They are the gatekeepers who ensure that the quality of your thesis meet certain professional standards. Don’t write to impress the committee. Instead, aim at communicating to an educated audience in the scientific community (e.g., imagine writing to another graduate student in another university).

    C. Writing a thesis is not filling out a form. Your overall thesis is one continuous presentation. There is a logical sequence to it and every part is related to other parts as well as to your central theme. Outlines and formats are meant to help you in preparing this logical sequence. Don’t sacrifice logical sequence and connectedness of parts for the sake of format. Chapters, titles, and headings are meant to be dividers and labels throughout your manuscript to guide readers through your thinking. They are not part of the text nor do they serve as connectors between different parts of your text. The logic and continuity of presentation must be in the text itself. A strategy is to write the thesis without headings and insert the headings after you are done.

    D. Your thesis is a presentation of an argument. Through your thesis, you are presenting an argument to the scientific community. To you, what is important may be that you have discovered an important fact, made a contribution to the literature, etc. The scientific community, however, says show me and convince me. To be effective, you must lead the audience through your study. Basically, you must tell them several things: What is the background of the study? What did you do to seek answers to your questions? and What were the answers? Often times, chapters 1 and 2 correspond to the first question, chapter 3 corresponds to the second question, and chapters 4 and 5 correspond to the last question. You need not rigidly adhere to these chapter formats. However, you need to lead your readers through these three questions regardless of format.


    A thesis serves the primary purpose of training the student in the processes of scholarly research and writing under the direction of members of the graduate faculty. After the student has graduated and the thesis is “published,” it serves as a contribution to human knowledge, useful to other scholars and perhaps a more general audience as well. Therefore, the Graduate School of International Relations have established format standards that a thesis must meet before it receives final approval as a graduate requirement. This publication sets forth those standards. Some thesis requirements are purely technical; others have been established to ensure that certain vital information is presented in an orderly, uniform manner.

    The requirements in this publication apply to all theses. They are, however, designed to allow for maximum flexibility in minor matters in which standard practices vary among academic disciplines (e.g., reference forms). Thus, while you will need to comply with the specifications given here, you will probably also need to consult a specialized manual of scholarly style in your field or the style sheet of a leading journal.

    Be careful if using another thesis as a model for yours; remember that this guide is revised from time to time, and you must meet current thesis requirements. You have a fair amount of discretion with regard to style, but be consistent in format throughout the thesis.

    It is expected that the thesis will be written in clear, grammatically correct, that words will be spelled and divided correctly, and that punctuation will be standard and appropriate. Therefore, it is advisable to have a good desk dictionary and a handbook for grammar and usage during the writing and revision processes.

    Typing Specifications

    Most important in typing a thesis is consistency of format and adherence to the specific instructions given in this guide. It is important to note that all theses must be double or one-and-a-half spaced and pages must be numbered throughout. For the final copy, superscripts and subscripts must be typed and equations and symbols must be either typed or neatly drafted.

    Type Size.

    A thesis must be typewritten on A4 metric size paper (21 cm x 29.7 cm) in a clear and legible font (e.g., Times 12 or Arial 10) using a laser writer, or some other printing device which gives a clear, legible result.

    A xerox, multilith, or mimeograph copy is acceptable if it is made from a well-typed original and the image is clean, clear, dark and sharp. The copy should be free of lines, shadows, and other marks.

    The body of the thesis must be double spaced. Footnotes, bibliographical entries, long quoted passages, and items in lists and tables may be single spaced.

    Non-typed materials such as symbols, equations, formulae, diacritical marks, etc. should be in black ink.

    Text material is typed on one side of the paper. The manuscript is to be neat in appearance and without error.

    Use a standard typeface of 10- 11-, or 12-point size. Do not use italic (script) print except for foreign words, book and journal titles, and special emphasis. If you wish, you may use larger size type for the title of the thesis and for chapter headings, as long as it is not larger than 18 point. Boldface type may also be used on the title page and for headings, as well as in the text for special symbols or for emphasis. Reduced type may be used within tables, figures, and appendices, but, in part because of microfilming requirements, it should be at least 9 point in size and must be completely legible. If you are photocopying an illustration from another source and the copy is not clear and sharp, you may need to photo-enlarge the type for readability.


    If at all possible, use the same font for the entire thesis but, if necessary, you may use different fonts within tables, figures, and appendices. To avoid distracting variations, changes in the font should be kept to a minimum.

    Chapter Head Pages and Page Layout.

    Begin each chapter on a new page. Do the same with each element of the front matter (list of tables, acknowledgments, etc.), the reference section, and each appendix. Try to avoid typing a heading near the bottom of a page unless there is room for at least two lines of text following the heading. Instead, you should simply leave a little extra space on that page and begin the heading on the next page. If you wish to use a “display” page (a page that shows only the chapter title) at the beginning of chapters or appendices, be sure to do so consistently.


    A margin of AT LEAST 4.0 cm MUST be left at the top and left side of each page and a margin of AT LEAST 2.5 cm on the right and bottom. The margin is determined by the last letter or character in the longest line on the page. Everything on the page (including the page number, footnotes, etc.) must conform to these requirements. Text should be at least a double-space from the page number. These stringent margin requirements are necessary because all edges are trimmed during the binding process.

    Format of Thesis

    The manuscript consists of three main parts: the preliminaries, the text, and the references. And it is to be arranged in the following sequence:

    1. The preliminaries.

    a. Title page.

    b. A blank page, or, if copyrighted, the copyright page.

    c. Signature page. (approval page)

    d. Dedication page. (optional)

    e. Table of contents.

    f. List of Symbols, tables, figures, illustrations, etc. (if applicable)

    g. Acknowledgment or acknowledgments. (optional)

    h. Abstract.

    2. The text.

    3. The references.

    a. Appendices. (if applicable)

    b. Notes.

    c. Glossary. (if applicable)

    d. Bibliography.

    e. Addendum. (if applicable)

    Facing Pages.

    Figure captions may be placed on facing pages if desired. Margins on facing pages should be reversed; that is, the larger margin will always be on the binding side of the page. The page number (unless centered) should be placed on the left instead of the right on a facing page.

    Use of Single Spacing.

    Single spacing is allowed in certain limited cases: the table of contents, block quotations, headings, table titles, figure captions, tables, appendices. It is also permitted within items in the list of tables, list of figures, bibliography/reference list, and notes, but double spacing must be used between items in these instances.


    Every page is numbered except 1) the title page, which is counted but not numbered, and 2) the blank page of copyright notice (following the title page), which is neither counted nor numbered.

    The preliminary pages are numbered in lower-case Roman numerals, beginning with the approval page, which is number ii.

    The text and reference pages are numbered in Arabic numerals, beginning with 1 on the first page of the text and continuing consecutively to the end of the manuscript including appendices and addenda, if any.

    Page Numbers.

    Every page in the thesis, including those with tables and figures, must be counted. Use small Roman numerals for the front matter and Arabic numbers for the text (the text must begin with page 1). The only exceptions are the following: the permission-to-copy page in master’s theses and the vita in doctoral theses are not included in the numbering system and thus are not counted at all; the title page and signatory page, although counted, should never show a page number (they are actually pages i and ii, respectively). The first page that shows a number is the Abstract, and it always begins on page iii. Page numbers should appear on every page that is counted, but you may use a style that “hides” the page number on the first page of each major section (e.g., the first page of each chapter and each appendix). If you choose this style, be consistent in its use. Make sure that all pages are present and in proper order when they are numbered. It is not permissible to number a page with “a” or “b” or to skip numbers. Do not embellish page numbers with punctuation (dashes, periods, etc.), and do not type the word “page” before the page number.

    Page Number Location.

    Page numbers should be placed in the upper right-hand corner at least 2.5 cm from both edges. The preliminary pages of the thesis and first page of each chapter may be numbered at the center bottom, at least 2.5 cm from the bottom of the page.

    Word Processing.

    Many authors type their own theses on personal computers. The hardware and software you use must be capable of producing the variety of characters, spacing, etc., required for the proper presentation of your work, and you must be sufficiently skilled in the operation of the computer in order to prepare correct and appropriate final copy.


    A thesis has three major parts: the front matter (abstract, table of contents, etc.), the text, and the back matter (references, appendices). The text of the thesis is the subject of this section.

    Tips on Organization and Headings

    The text of the thesis is usually divided into chapters and provided with introductory and concluding sections, which may or may not be designated as chapters. You will probably also need subheadings within the chapters to indicate the orderly progression of topics and their relation to each other. In any case, you should decide on an appropriate system of headings and apply it consistently throughout the thesis, including front and back matter.

    Two major types of headings are frequently used, one indicating levels of headings by variations in capitalization, position, and formatting, and one using a decimal system. All chapter headings should be typed consistently, however, as well as all first-level subheadings, and so on. For headings, work downward from the top without skipping levels. It is not necessary to subdivide each chapter to the same degree (you might have first- through fourth-level headings in one chapter but only first- and second-level headings in another). Each level of heading should be clearly distinguished typographically from the other levels, and the variations should be selected so as to reflect in an obvious way the hierarchy of headings (that is, higher level headings should look more important). Each subdivision of a first-level heading must be a second-level heading according to your system for the thesis as a whole, and each subdivision of a second-level heading must be a third-level heading.

    Always allow at least one extra line of space above subheadings, and preferably below as well. Without this extra space, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish headings from text. A heading must never appear alone at the bottom of a page (a “widow”) without at least two lines of text under it. Also keep in mind the conventional wisdom that a unit cannot be divided into a single part, or “you can’t have an A without a B.” If you have only one second-level heading under a given first-level heading, you should probably incorporate it into the text or, if subdivision is really called for, create another second-level heading. Addition- ally, if you have only one appendix, call it simply Appendix, not Appendix A.

    Documentation of Sources in the Text

    Source citations are required in the text whenever you use a direct quotation, paraphrase another author’s words, or include specific information that is not common knowledge (and is not the result of your own research reported in the thesis). Systems of source citation fall generally into three categories: (1) parenthetical author-date-page documentation; (2) citation by number, keyed to a numbered reference list; and (3) footnotes or endnotes.

    You should select one of these systems and use it throughout the thesis. A thesis using one of the first two systems could also include footnotes presenting non-source information or comments. Whichever style of documentation you use, the references in the text must correspond exactly to the listing of sources at the end of the thesis. You should make certain that all items are included in the bibliography or reference list, that authors’ names are spelled consistently and correctly, and that the dates are the same in both the text and the reference list.

    Author-Date-Page Citations.

    This system is used frequently by authors in the social sciences, including psychology, sociology, and most areas of education. It is also used, in a slightly altered form, by some authors in the humanities and by many fields of the natural sciences. The American Psychological Association’s Style Manual provides detailed instructions in this style, as do the style sheets of many academic journals that use this style. The author-date-page system indicates, in parentheses at the end of a statement, the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the pertinent page number(s). In this system, citations must correspond to a bibliography/reference section arranged alphabetically by author, so that a reader can easily locate the complete source. In some styles, the page number is omitted.

    Numbered Reference System.

    This system is used most often by authors in the natural sciences. Detailed instructions are provided by manuals such as the American Chemical Society’s Style Manual and by the style sheets of journals in these fields. In a numbered reference system, numbers enclosed within parentheses or brackets or typed as superscripts correspond to a numbered bibliography or reference list at the end of the text.

    Footnotes and Endnotes.

    This system is often used by authors in the humanities and fine arts. The Modern Language Association’s Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style as well as journal style sheets provide detailed information on this style. Footnotes or endnotes correspond to an alphabetically arranged bibliography. This system uses superscript numbers in the text to indicate notes that may be placed at the bottom of the page, the end of the chapter, or the end of the complete text (preceding the bibliography). The numbering system for notes may be consecutive throughout the text or may begin again with 1 in each chapter. The format for the notes themselves varies among academic disciplines. Make certain when you pick a format that it is a note style, not a bibliography style. For example, authors’ names in notes are not inverted, as they usually are in bibliographies, and internal punctuation is different. If notes are included at the bottom of the page, each note must begin on the same page as the corresponding superscript number in the text. A footnote may, however, be continued on the following page if necessary.


    Front Matter The front matter of the thesis includes these items, in the order given:

  • Title page
  • Permission-to-copy page (master’s theses only; not counted or numbered)
  • Signatory page
  • Abstract (always begins on page iii)
  • Table of Contents
  • Lists of Figures, Illustrations, Abbreviations,
  • Maps or Tables (in no particular order)
  • Preface or Acknowledgments (optional)
  • Epigraph or Frontispiece (optional)


    The Abstract is the first page that will show a page number and is required in all theses.

    The Table of Contents is also required. The Acknowledgments page is optional and must always be the last page of the front matter (unless an Epigraph or Frontispiece is included). A Preface usually is not necessary in the thesis, but if used it often will incorporate the acknowledgments. If separate from the Acknowledgments, the preface comes first A dedication may be included in the Acknowledgments, but a separate dedication page is not permitted in the official copy of the thesis. An “Introduction” may be chapter 1 or it may precede chapter 1, but it must be numbered as part of the text, not as part of the front matter.

    Title Page. The title page is the first page of the thesis (but it does not show a number). Minimum margins on the title page are the same as for other pages. Use appropriate vertical spacing between the individual items on the page so as to produce an attractive format within these specifications. Extra space may be used to good effect above and below the thesis title. Center all lines horizontally on the page. A sample title page appears near the end of this guide. Be sure to type all items line for line exactly as shown.

    “The International University of Japan” and “The Graduate School” (no quotes) must appear as the first two lines on the title page. In addition, be careful to use the correct title of your major on the line that reads “A Thesis in ____.”

    Type the title of the thesis using capital letters throughout. If it occupies more than one line, double space between lines. Express formulas, symbols, and abbreviations in words on the title page, even if the “shorthand” forms are conventional in your field of study and are used throughout the thesis itself. Be careful to punctuate appropriately. Use your legal name as it appears on your records in the Office of the GSIR. Your name must appear in exactly the same form each time it is used on the thesis (i.e., title page, permission-to-copy page, signatory page, vita).

    If you include a copyright line, you may begin it with either the word “Copyright” or the copyright symbol ©. Do not use both. It should be followed by the year and your name. Designate correctly the degree you will be receiving, for example:

    Master of International Relations

    On the date line, indicate the month and year of degree conferral (not the date of the defense or the date you submit your thesis). Degrees are conferred in June.

    Permission-to-Copy Page

    A statement granting IUJ the right to make single copies of the thesis appears following the title page in master’s theses only. It occupies a separate, unnumbered page (do not include it in the pagination) and need not be included in personal copies Type this page exactly as shown in the example near the back of this guide, and don’t forget to sign it when you submit the final copy to the Office of the GSIR.

    Whether or not you choose to include a copyright line on the title page, the thesis is your intellectual property. In signing the permission statement you are not relinquishing any rights, but you are making it legally possible for the University to produce a photocopy if someone wants to consult your work.

    Signatory Page.

    When you submit the final copy of your thesis, you must include one signatory page with the original signatures of all your committee members or readers. The signatures indicate that these persons have approved the thesis as a complete and final work requiring no further alteration as an archival document. Before signing, the page must be printed or copied onto thesis-quality paper. The signatory page follows permission-to-copy page in a master’s thesis. It does not show a page number. A sample signatory page appears near the end of this guide.

    The signatory page will be reviewed for format and accuracy when your thesis is submitted for format review. However, in some cases, the signatory page will be signed before the format review can be accomplished. Therefore, the Office of GSIR will review any signatory page on demand. It can be faxed, mailed, or hand-carried and will be checked immediately. This alleviates the need to have signatory pages re-signed due to errors in formatting, spelling, or professorial titles. Please make every effort to have the signatory page approved by the Office of GSIR before obtaining any signatures.

    The examiner must sign the signatory page. If one of the signatories has a dual role (e.g., thesis advisor and head of the department), list both roles under the professorial title. If the sharing of roles leaves you with fewer than the required number of signatures (see below), an additional reader must be added.


    Every thesis must contain an abstract. An abstract is a concise summary of the thesis, intended to inform prospective readers about its content. It usually includes a brief description of the research, the procedures or methods, and the results or conclusions. An abstract should not include internal headings, parenthetical citations of items listed in the reference section, diagrams or other illustrations. The abstract follows the signatory page and has the heading “Abstract.” Like the text, it must be double or one-and-a-half spaced. It always begins on page iii. There is no restriction on the length of the abstract in the thesis.

    Table of Contents.

    The table of contents is essentially a topic outline of the thesis. It is compiled by listing the headings in the thesis down to whichever level you choose. Keep in mind that there usually is no index in a thesis, and thus a fairly detailed table of contents can serve as a useful guide for the reader. The table of contents must appear immediately after the abstract and should not show a listing for the abstract, the table of contents itself, frontispiece, epigraph, or the vita. All other items in the thesis, however, should be listed. List all chapter headings and other major divisions. Be consistent in the level of heading that you list; e.g., if you list the second-level subheadings from one chapter, you should list the second-level subheadings from all chapters that contain this level. Each level of subheading should be consistently indented a few spaces more than the preceding level. If items in the table of contents are single spaced, use dot leaders to connect each heading with its page number; dot leaders are optional with double spacing.

    Be sure that the headings as listed in the table of contents match word for word and letter for letter the headings in the text. Do not, however, underline headings that are underlined in the text (though individual terms or book titles may be underlined if appropriate). Align all page numbers on the right. Double check to make certain that the listed page numbers are accurate; remember that they may change as you make revisions.

    In listing appendices, indicate the title of each appendix, and include the same levels of headings (if applicable) as for the text. If you use separate title pages (display pages) for appendices, the number of the title page is the one that appears in the table of contents.

    List of Figures and List of Tables.

    Include a list of figures (illustrations) and a list of tables if you have one or more items in these categories. Use a separate page for each list. List the number, caption, and page number of every figure and table in the body of the thesis. You should also list figures and tables in the appendix if they have individual numbers and captions. If captions are long, you may stop when you reach the first period (or other logical stopping point) in the caption. If you use preceding-page captions, list the page on which the figure or table actually appears, not the caption page.


    An acknowledgment page is required only if the author has received permission to use previously copyrighted material or is obliged to acknowledge grant sources. Otherwise, it is optional. If included, it is used to express the author’s professional and personal indebtedness. When writing the acknowledgments, be sure that your use of “person” is consistent. If you begin with references to “the author,” continue to use third person throughout. If you begin with first person (“I,” “me,” “my”), use first person consistently.

    Epigraph or Frontispiece.

    Some authors include a quotation (epigraph) or illustration (frontispiece) as the last of the preliminary pages. Neither should be listed in the table of contents, though a frontispiece is sometimes included in the list of illustrations. The source of an epigraph is indicated below the quotation but is not listed in the bibliography or references unless it is also cited in the text. Do number the page.

    Back Matter.

    The back matter (or end matter) of the thesis may include some or all of the following:

  • Bibliography or reference list (may be in back matter or at end of each chapter)
  • Appendices (if any, they may come either before or after references)
  • Endnotes or Notes (if any, they may be in back matter or at end of each chapter)
    Bibliography or Reference List.

    A thesis must include a bibliography or reference section listing all works which are referred to in the text, and in some cases other works also consulted in the course of research and writing. This section may either precede or follow the appendices (if any), or may appear at the end of each chapter. Usually, however, a single section is more convenient and useful for both author and reader.

    The forms used for listing sources in the bibliography/reference section are detailed and complicated, and they vary considerably among academic disciplines. For this reason, you will need to follow a scholarly style manual or perhaps a recent issue of a leading journal as a guide in compiling this section of the thesis. Also see section on “Documentation of Sources in the Text” in this guide.


    Material that is considered pertinent to the text of the thesis but is somewhat tangential or very detailed raw data, quoted material too long for the text, procedural explanations, etc.) may be placed in an appendix. Appendices should be designated A, B, C, etc. (not 1, 2, 3 or I, II, III). If there is only one appendix, it is called simply Appendix (not Appendix A). The form for the heading is the same as that for a chapter title. The heading pattern should follow the system you are using in the text for chapter headings.

    If desired, separate display (title) pages preceding appendixes can be used. If one appendix has such a display page, all appendices should have them. These pages must be included in the numbering system, and the number of the display page is the one that appears in the table of contents. Titles of appendices must be listed in the table of contents.

    Appendix material may be single spaced, and the type used in the body of an appendix does not have to match that of the thesis text. However, appendices must be numbered consecutively with the text of the thesis. It is not acceptable to number the pages A-1, A-2, etc.

    In general, margin and print-size requirements are the same as for the rest of the thesis. Minor variations may be acceptable, however, if required by the nature of the material. Consult the GSIR Office for a ruling on specific items. Oversized items may be included as pocket material or as foldout pages (see section on Oversized Materials below).


    A table is a columnar arrangement of information, often numbers, organized to save space and convey relationships at a glance. A rule of thumb to use in deciding whether given materials are tables or figures is that tables can be typed, but figures must be drawn. You may need to consult a style manual in your field as an aid in preparing tabular material. A figure is a graphic illustration (that is, it must be drawn or drafted) such as a chart, graph, diagram, map, photograph, or plate. You may have figures professionally prepared or may draft them yourself if the final product is of high quality. Straight lines must be typed or drawn with a ruler in black ink; words included in the figure should be typed unless there are technical reasons why this is not possible. You may use color as a means of distinguishing different areas in a figure, but be aware that the color will be lost in the microfilmed copy.

    Captions and numbering

    Each table and each figure in the text must have a number and caption. Number them consecutively throughout, beginning with 1, or by chapter using a decimal system. In the latter case, the first table in chapter 2, for example, would be table 2.1, the second would be table 2.2, and so on. Do not number tables and figures by sections in the chapter (as 2.21). In numbering appendix figures and tables, you may continue the consecutive numbering system from the text or you may use a separate appendix system. You do not have to give tables and figures in the appendix separate numbers or include them in the list of figures and tables. They should be included in the list, however, if you number them separately. Placing tables and figures in text. To make it easy for your readers to find tables or figures, place a table or figure immediately after the first mention of it in the text–on the same page if there is room, or on the following page. Alternatively, you may group tables and/or figures together at the end of each chapter. Tables or figures of peripheral importance to the text may be placed in an appendix. All tables and figures must be referred to in the text by number (not by a phrase such as “the following table”).

    Sources of Tables and Figures

    If a figure or table is taken from another source, indicate the source at the bottom, either at the end of the caption or in a note beginning “Source: . . . .” Source notes are not numbered, even if there are other numbered notes. If a figure or table is photocopied from its source, be sure the print is large enough to be readable.

    Oversized Materials

    If you are having trouble fitting a table or figure within the margins, even after relaxing the margins .25 inch on each side, consult the following options and select the method you prefer.

    Landscape Pages. You may place the table or figure sideways (landscape) on the page. If you do so, rotate it 90 degrees counterclockwise from its normal position. Place the table or figure caption sideways also so that all parts can be conveniently read together. You must, however, place the page number portrait style and in the same location as for other pages.

    Separate Page for the Caption.

    You may use the entire typing area for the table or figures and place the caption on a separate page preceding it. Type the caption so that it reads in the same direction as the table or figure (landscape or portrait) . If you use a facing page for the caption, reverse the location of the page number and reverse the left and right margins (see previous section on Facing Pages).

    Reduced Type.

    You may photo-reduce the body of the table or figure to meet margin requirements. Do not reduce the caption or the page number. The size of the type should be no smaller than 9 point after reduction.

    Foldout Pages.

    You may place oversized material on a foldout page if necessary, but remember that foldouts can be awkward to handle. Paper for foldouts must be xx cm. wide and is usually xx or xx cm long. The left edge of the foldout page should be even with the other pages of the thesis, and all folds should be made vertically. Folds must be at least 2.5 cm from the right side and at least xx cm. from the left side (this is to avoid damage to the foldout when pages are trimmed for binding). The right edge of the foldout sheet should line up with the right edge of other pages.

    Pocket Material.

    You may fold oversized items and include them as pocket material. When the thesis is bound, the material will be placed in a pocket attached to the inside back cover. Margin and paper requirements do not apply to pocket material. Submit pocket material in an envelope labeled with your name, graduation date, and the designation “Pocket Material” at the time of the thesis submission. If the material is an appendix, list it in the table of contents; if it is a table or figure, list it in the front matter. Use “in pocket” in place of the page number in the table of contents or list of figures or tables.


    Photographic illustrations to be used in a thesis must be either original photographs or high-quality reproductions. You may use color prints, but it is important to realize that color does not reproduce on microfilm. List and caption photographs as figures unless you wish to have a separate list of photographs or plates.

    Permanent Mounting.

    Be sure that all photographs are permanently attached to the page. Use dry-mounting tissue (applied with a warm iron), adhesive sheets, or permanent spray adhesive. Do not use tape, rubber cement, or adhesive corners. If they are not secure, you will be asked to re-mount them. Only original photos may be mounted in a thesis; any other type of reproduction must be copied directly onto the paper.

    Plates and Tables. If you submit photographic plates, have them produced on relatively lightweight stock. You may type or photograph figure numbers, captions, and page numbers on the same page or type them on a separate (facing or non-facing) page. Include them in the pagination even if you cannot place a page number on them.

    Plates and tables may be of various sizes within the overall limitations that follow. If made on the same paper used for the body of the thesis, the regular margin must be observed. Plates, tables, photos, etc., smaller than 14.5 cm ~ 23 cm should be mounted neatly on numbered blank sheets of A4 size paper. If the plates, tables, or graphs are too large to fit within the margins, the sheet may be folded and mounted on a blank sheet. The printing on the sheet, when folded, must fall within the regular margins as measured on the blank sheet. The blank sheet is to be numbered in the usual manner. On ruled graph paper, the lettering should be within the ruled portion and regular thesis margins must be observed. Graphs, drawings, and equations, lines, symbols, and lettering should be dark, sharp, neat, and of quality, permanent materials.

    Xerography. Xerox copies and duplicators tend to enlarge the original about one percent. This may vary slightly from one machine to the next, but this process of enlargement should be kept in mind so that margins are not exceeded. GSIR will allow reasonable reduction of maps, charts, graphs, tables, and figures provided that the accompanying text is not smaller than the elite type (or Times 10). It will NOT allow the text of the thesis to be reduced in such a way as to result in print size smaller than elite type.

    Copyrighted Materials

    Reproduced in Thesis: If you include photographs or copyrighted illustrations in a thesis, you must secure permission to reproduce them. To avoid obtaining letters of permission, you may leave the illustrations out of the copy.


    Copyright Copyright is legal protection of intellectual property–in this case, your thesis. This protection begins automatically as soon as a work is created. It is up to you to decide if you wish to maintain or register your copyright; IUJ has no requirement that you do either. Your copyright gives you the exclusive right to print, reprint, copy, sell, and prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work. It protects an author against anyone’s infringement of these rights. There are, however, limitations on your exclusive right:

    Others may excerpt portions of your thesis for scholarly work or research without obtaining your permission, if the borrowing is “fair use” (see “Fair Use Defined” below). Of course, they must credit you as the source. Anything beyond this “fair use” requires your permission.

    In order to maintain your copyright, insert a copyright notice on the thesis title page as shown in the example in this guide. This is not required, but it signals to readers that you acknowledge your legal rights and that you are the copyright owner. You may also choose to register your claim to copyright. Registration is a legal formality that makes a public record of your copyright. It is not a requirement for protection, but would be your first step if you ever find it necessary to file a copyright lawsuit. If there is a chance you might someday take someone to court for using your work unlawfully (e.g., if you have developed a separately marketable item such as a computer program), you may want to complete this procedure.

    You may formally register your claim to copyright. Be sure to include a copyright notice on the title page of the thesis if you plan to register your copyright.

    Materials Copyrighted by Others

    You do not need permission to use works in the public domain, i.e., works on which a copyright never existed and those on which the copyright has expired; however, you must properly acknowledge such works. If you use copyrighted works, you must not only acknowledge the source, but unless use falls within the doctrine of “fair use” you may not include the material without the written permission of the copyright holder.

    Fair Use Defined. Fair Use may be defined as follows:

    The fair use of a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, comment…and scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include: 1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is for nonprofit educational purposes; 2. the nature of the copyrighted work; 3. the amount…of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and 4. the effect of the use upon the…value of the copyrighted work.

    In determining fair use of copyrighted material in theses the GSIR looks for notice of previous copyright. If extensive use of copyrighted material is found in your thesis, GSIR will expect to find also a letter from the copyright holder granting permission. If not, GSIR will write to you and request such a letter. Unless you obtain permission for GSIR to film and sell the material, GSIR will delete the material in question when filming copies for sale to the public. Obviously, fair use is both a privilege and a source of confusion.

    Letter of Permission. If your borrowing exceeds fair use (for example, if you quote extensively from a copyrighted source or if you borrow an entire creation such as a photograph, a cartoon, or a testing scale), you must secure written permission. This permission should accompany the first submission of your thesis. When you request letters of permission, be sure the grantor is aware that the thesis will be “published” through GSIR’s master’s program. If you are the copyright holder of the previously copyrighted material, a letter from you to GSIR is sufficient. You are solely responsible if you violate the copyright law; neither GSIR nor IUJ will be held liable.

    Previously Published Work.

    Work by the thesis author which is published prior to thesis submission (or is shortly expected to be published) may be accepted as part of the thesis, provided that the committee approves the work and that the published material was written specifically to fulfill thesis requirements. If you submit previously published copyrighted work and you are not the copyright holder, a letter of permission from the copyright holder must accompany the thesis.

    If your thesis is composed of parts (published or unpublished), a comprehensive introduction should be provided. It is also useful to have a conclusion placing the parts in perspective to the whole and making recommendations for future research. The styles used in previously published parts may follow the styles required by the previous publishers; thus, you may use different styles among parts. The pagination of the parts, however, must follow thesis guidelines, i.e., numbering must be consecutive from page one to the end of the thesis. Front matter is the same as for any other thesis. In no case may work for a previous degree be submitted.

    First Author Requirement.

    The GSIR may permit you to submit multiple-authored work as thesis material if you are first author of the work. Your contributions must be clearly and fully indicated in a preface to the thesis.

    Acceptability of Reprints.

    Preprints and reprints are acceptable for inclusion in the thesis if they meet type size, margin, and legibility requirements. If there are problems, consult the GSIR Office. Material that does not quite meet the usual type size and margin requirements may sometimes be placed in an appendix or in a pocket. In such cases, a single display page in the body of the thesis can be used to indicate (for example) a chapter number and the title of the material, along with a designation such as “In Appendix C” or “In Pocket.”

    Classified Material.

    You may not use any information that is restricted or cannot be disseminated to the public in your thesis, because one of the primary intents of the thesis effort is to communicate the results of thesis authors’ research to the scholarly community. In very unusual cases an arrangement may be made to hold the thesis in the Library for a few months before it is sent to GSIR (or in the case of a master’s thesis, before it is placed in circulation). If you believe that your thesis requires this type of special handling, you may direct a request to the GSIR Office.

    Format In academic areas where research is most often published in the form of journal articles, students may wish to have the format of the thesis approximate that of a manuscript to be submitted for journal publication. With very minor exceptions, this purpose can generally be accomplished within the bounds of the requirements set forth in this guide. The main body of the thesis, for example, may be relatively brief, with such sections as the review of literature placed in an appendix. Tables and figures whose importance to the text is tangential may also be handled as appendix material. Or, as previously noted, the thesis may consist of chapters that are essentially separate journal articles.


    Below are several sources which may be consulted for style, grammar, etc. You may also wish to use other manuals or journals in your specific field and/or consult the reference section of the MLIC. Online sources are also available.

    General Manuals

    Chicago Manual of Style. 14th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1993.

    Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 6th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

    Specialized Manuals

    Achtert, Walter S., and Joseph Gibaldi, eds. The MLA Style Manual. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1985.

    Dodd, Janet S., ed. The ACS Style Guide: A Manual for Authors and Editors. Washington, DC: American Chemical Society, 1986.

    Handbooks of Grammar, Usage, and Writing Style

    Ebbitt, Wilma R., and David R. Ebbitt. Writer’s Guide and Index to English. 7th ed. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1982.

    Strunk, William, Jr., and E. B. White. The Elements of Style. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan, 1979.

    Sample Pages of Title, Signature, and Abstract Pages