Posted on: 29th Apr 2020 1883 Views

Dissertation Contents page – Table of Content

A content page in the dissertation is very much important as it represents the quality of your work.  Students studying Masters or graduates have questions about what to include on the Contents page of the dissertation.  They also face issues related to the formatting of the Dissertation content page.

Dissertation Content Page

In this article, our professionals are providing you with the complete guidelines about   How to create and format content pages for a Dissertation.

Contents Page in a dissertation is a section where you need to list the chapters and major sections that you have covered in the Dissertation.  It is very much important for you to create a clear and ensure the proper format of the contents page as it represents the quality of your work.

You need to include the table of content after the abstract but before the introduction section of the Dissertation. It is very much important for you to make sure that the table of contents should not cover more than 2 pages.

Important features of the contents page in the Dissertation

A few key features of the table of the content page are:

  • A title page
  • Proper headings and Subheadings
  • Page number represents the different sections of the dissertation.

Note: You should review university or college guidelines, as it is the attics that will help you in determining the formatting requirements.

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What to include in the table of content for the Dissertation

You need to include at least one or two levels 1 heading on the contents page of your dissertation. It is completely dependent on you to decide whether to include the level 3 heading or not.

In case your table of content exceeds two pages then you can avoid including level 3 headings Dissertation content page.

An example of a level one heading in the Dissertation is the Literature review, Introduction, Bibliography, and   Research Methodology section.

Example of heading level    

Level 1: Chapter 3: Research methods

Level 2: 2.1 Method of sampling

Level 3: 3.1.1 Recruitment of participants

It is very much important for you to utilize clear headings in your entire document so that readers can easily navigate the table of content.  At the time of creating a table of tables, you need to keep in mind that the reader will first read the table of contents before proceeding to read the entire dissertation.

Clearing doubts related to Appendices and table

You need to include all appendices in the Dissertation table of contents.  Whether to include a list of figures or diagrams in the table of content is completely based on their numbers. For example, if in case there are three graphs, tables, or figures in your dissertation then you can list them on a separate page. You can also include a list of tables and figures in the table of the content page of the dissertation.

 Contents page: example

Table of contents


Chapter 1: Background information on the topic

1.1  Aim and objectives

1.2  Research questions

1.3  Significance of research

1.4  Rationale of research

Chapter 2: A literature review

Chapter 3: Research methodology

3.1  Research type

3.2  Research approach

3.3 Philosophy

3.4 Data collection

3.5 Data analysis

Chapter 4: Research Findings

Chapter 5: Discussion

Chapter 6: Reflection

Chapter 7: Conclusion

What not to include in the Dissertation contents page

You should not include an abstract, or acknowledgement on the dissertation contents page.  Both Acknowledgement and abstract are placed before the table of the content page of a dissertation.  The main objective of Contents pages in a Dissertation is to provide the reader ease in accessing the different sections.

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How to create a table of content in word automatically?

You for inserting the table of contents in Microsoft automatically need to apply heading styles in your entire content of the Dissertation. After that, you need to follow these 5 steps such as:

Step 1: You need to first insert the title in your Dissertation table of contents page.  It is a step; where you are required to follow a standard format for citation style. You should read the guidelines provided by your tutor or Dissertation supervisor.

Step 2: After that, you need to place your cursor on such a page where you want to insert your contents page.

Step 3: Then you are required to click on the reference option in the ribbon and locate the Table of contents.

Step 4: After that, you should click on the arrow button next to the Table of contents icon, and after that click on the Custom table of content. Now at this step, you can make a selection of styles for different levels of headings. You can also make adjustments in every level of the heading by clicking on the modify button,

Step 5: When you are ready for inserting the Dissertation table of contents you should click the OK option and your Table of content will get created automatically.

Styles of heading in the Dissertation Contents page

Below are the instructions which you can utilize for setting heading style these are:

  1. You need to first assign the type of formatting you intend to have for different levels of heading in the dissertation. For example, the first level of heading should be in times new roman. 14 pt.   Font and bold.  Then you can set such formatting style for all heading 1 in the dissertation.
  2. In case you want to set it as default formatting, then you are required to click on find the style section on the home tab.
  3. After that, you need to highlight the level 1 heading and right-click on it
  4. Lastly, you need to select an update heading 1 to match your selection.

You can apply a specific heading style forever heading in the entire dissertation by highlighting the heading in Questions and clicking the style which you intend to apply.

Automatically update Tables of contents

Students are always given suggestions by their tutor to update the Table of contents before making the final printing and submission of the Dissertation.  Such a suggestion is given as the changes in the document might take place during the process of revision.

It is very much important for you to ensure that the page number is correct. Word provides ease in updating the table of content automatically.  For updating the table of content in the dissertation automatically you just need to right-click the table of contents and click on the update field option.  You can choose to update page numbers only or update all information on the table.


From the above study, it has been concluded that the table of content provides the reader with ease in access to different sections of the lengthy paper. Another fact that has been discovered is that word provides ease in creating and updating content pages.

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