Basic rules

On the basis of the material we have collected, we first of all make a work scheme, in order to have a basic structure from which to start. Let’s try to make an outline for our thesis example:

1. The causes of the Locri tribute: the myth of the fault of Ajax, the sources of the myth, the interpretations of the myth

2. The Locrese tribute: the sources, characteristics of the tribute, the number of girls sent to Troy, interpretations of the tribute

3. Comparison with the rites of passage and the scapegoat

Then we divide all the material we have according to these three points of the scheme, and we begin to write starting from the first point, namely the first chapter. Obviously, the titles of the chapters and the subdivision into paragraphs in the first draft will be provisional, so first of all we will only try to insert all the information we need. After finishing writing the first chapter, let’s reread it, break it down into paragraphs and put an appropriate title.

We work in this way also with the following chapters, and if we have doubts, let us turn to the rapporteur. During this phase everything is temporary: the speaker will read each chapter, correct something, add or remove elements, change the titles.

After finishing the chapters, we move on to the introduction: we present the work summarizing the content of the thesis, describing the difficulties we have encountered and citing some of the most important documents.

Then we move on to the conclusions: here we briefly summarize the fulcrum of the entire career path, drawing conclusions based on the documents consulted and formulating any personal hypotheses.

Thesis. Step 3: how to set up the thesis pages. In phase 3 of this guide on how to write a thesis we see how to set up and organize pages and text. We combine all the chapters, introduction and conclusion in a single file, and set the pages according to the instructions provided by the secretariat. If we do not have specific indications, we can set the thesis as follows:

Margins: due to an aesthetic issue, it is advisable to leave margins wide enough: upper margin 4,5 cm, lower margin 4 cm, side margins 3 cm.

Text alignment: justified.

Line spacing: if the thesis is very long, better single, otherwise double also good.

Character: the most suitable font is Times New Roman, body 12, but we can choose any character on word, the important thing is that it is clear and legible. If we want to highlight a word or phrase, we use bold. The theses of the works cited must instead be put in italics.

Titles: the title of the chapter should be placed centrally, in capital letters, bold, body 18 or in any case larger than the whole text; the titles of the paragraphs must always be highlighted, then in bold, body 14, and must be numbered.

Note: to insert a note, we click at the end of the word, we go to “insert”, and then to “note footer”. The corresponding number will appear in the footer, and the note can be written there.

Quotations: quotations must be expressed in italics and in quotation marks; also, let’s remember to include the source in the notes.

Page break: at the end of each chapter, click on “page break”. This serves to divide some sessions into a single file, so as not to find the end of one chapter and the beginning of another on the same page.

Numbering: the ideal numbering is in the lower right corner, more practical and orderly. To enter the page number, go to “insert” and then click on “page numbers” and “format”.

Punctuation: even punctuation is very important, and not everyone is able to use it to the fullest. Here are some basic rules:

  • space is not left inside the parentheses and quotation marks: it is written
  • commas, periods, two points, semicolon, exclamation point and question mark must be attached to the word that precedes them

Index: the drama of all thesis students! Page numbers not aligned, points that do not fit together … First, the index is written at the end, is included in the page numbering but the page number should not be visible. If you are not very practical, you can use predefined summaries by clicking on “insert” and then on “indexes and summary”. If instead you want to set the index manually, we insert a two-column table in the page: in the left column we will put the titles, in the right column the pages. Then remember to make the edges of the table invisible!

Bibliography: the bibliography is the most important part, both because it is the first thing the commission reads, and because it is often the only thing the commission reads! It must be set in alphabetical order, although some speakers prefer chronological order. To make the work leaner and more orderly, it is advisable to insert a short bibliographic reference in the notes, consisting of Surname + Year, which then refers to the complete citation in the Bibliography:

Girard 1972 = R. Girard, La violence et le sacré, Paris 1972

The bibliographic citation of a book must be composed of: author, title of the work in italics, place and year. The citation of an article, instead, must have author, title of the article in quotation marks, title and number of the magazine, year and pages:

Graf 1978 = Graf, “Die lokrischen Madchen”: Historical-religious studies, 2 (1978)

Title page: generally the universities provide the title page already set up in which it will be necessary to add the faculty, the degree course, the final title of the thesis, the candidate’s name and student number, name of the speaker and academic year.

Dedication and Thanks: if we want, we can dedicate our work to one or more people, and finally thank those who supported us during the university years and the elaboration of the thesis. The dedication must be placed at the beginning, immediately after the title page, while the thanks must be inserted at the end.

Once we have written and set everything up, we cover all the work and correct some errors. At the end of everything, our thesis should be organized in this way:

  1. Title page
  2. Dedication
  3. Index
  4. Introduction
  5. Chapters
  6. Conclusions
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. Bibliography

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