I have edited hundreds of theses; below are some of the common errors I find and some tips on making the process easier:
Headings – use the headings setting under ‘styles’ in Word. Title, Heading 1, Heading 2, etc., this will make creating your Table of Contents so much easier (you would be surprised how many people manually create their TOC).
Referencing – ensure you adhere to your subjects agreed referencing style, i.e. in-text citations using the APA style; superscript numerals or symbols for the documentary-note system, and that your reference list follows the agreed style. Referencing is the area that causes the most confusion as some styles allow the use of ibid; some like double spacing between sentences; and they all dictate different places for the use of commas and full stops in the reference list.
A thesis is the culmination of a great deal of work and research and is most students’ first published document. Ensuring your thesis is clearly articulated, error-free and well laid-out should be the goal of every PhD candidate. Most universities have study skills centres that can provide information and advice regarding referencing guidelines, and some universities even provide funding for the external editing of theses.
To make the writing and formatting of your thesis easier, I have created a thesis template in Word that you can download to get you started.