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Research work


This is a guide to the presentation of a Graduate research work required for the award of a degree at the British University in Dubai. It provides guidance on the arrangement of thesis, dissertation, and research project in preparation for binding and deposit.

This guide deals with the practicalities of producing your research work in a format that is acceptable for examination and deposit in the Library. However, this guide does not deal with the content and academic standard required. On these matters, you must always consult your supervisor and the guidance issued by your Faculty.

All candidates are required to submit their research work in English. Many practical decisions (such as the paper to be used, how to cope with illustrative matter, binding specifications etc.) need to be thought out before you put together your completed research work with all of its constituent elements. Unless you are aware of these practical issues, you may find that it is impossible to have this done in the fashion you anticipated, or that the costs incurred will be greater than they need have been. Some mistakes are impossible to correct when the time comes for binding. This must be produced to a standard acceptable for long-term storage, and bound in accordance with University requirements before the degree may be awarded.


Research work – for the purpose of this guide, this includes thesis, dissertations, and research projects.

Supervisor – this refers to the Director of Studies, Dissertation Supervisor and the module coordinator for research based route.

Embargo – a restriction placed on an electronic access and availability of a research work for a period.

ETD – acronym for “Electronic Thesis & Dissertations”


Are there any special requirements (e.g. graphing, presentation of statistical data, etc.) which might affect the choice of software?

How are you going to manage your references? If you are using reference management software, does the package allow you to format and print out references in a style suitable for the presentation of your research work?  Software formatting must be removed before submitting the electronic copy.

During the process of writing, there are a number of practical and technical points to observe, and you should review these well in advance of final writing.

If your research includes confidential or sensitive material, does this need to be presented in a separate volume or appendix that would enable the Library to withhold that section from public access? If it includes any third-party material, have you sought appropriate permission to incorporate and disseminate it?

You should allow adequate time for preparation, word processing, checking and corrections. If someone else is typing your paper, you should check the work frequently in the early stages so that any problems or difficulties can be detected early.


You should use A4 paper. Where computer data is to be presented, A4 is normally the best size. Buy a sufficient quantity of paper for the whole job at the outset. If you find that the paper you have varies in size, or that insertions (e.g. photographs, plates, maps etc.) are slightly different, consult your supervisor before proceeding and certainly before you assemble your paper. It may not be possible to trim to a uniform format after assembly.

Typing and Word processing

You must make your own arrangements for the typing. Use double line spacing throughout the body of the text.

Single-spacing is acceptable for quotations, footnotes, captions, etc and within items in the bibliography. Layout should be reasonably uniform in length of line and the number of lines per page.

The final paper should be printed using a good quality printer.

Typeface and Point Size

It is extremely important that your paper is clearly set out and is easy to read. A clear, standard typeface should be used. Recommended typeface is Times New Roman; a number of other standard faces are equally acceptable but consult your supervisor if in doubt. To help ensure clarity it is important that the point size is not too small. Your research may be photocopied or reduced at a later stage, so a 12-point typeface is the recommended standard for general use.

Margins and Pagination

The margin on the binding edge must be at least 3 cm. When photographs are mounted the binding margin must be increased to 4 cm

It is desirable to leave 3 cm at the top and bottom of the page and about 2 cm at the outer edge.

Preliminary pages should not be numbered

Contents listing pages should have Roman pagination (i.ii.iii.iv. etc.) beginning with the Table of Contents.  Page numbers may either be placed at bottom-centre, 1 cm below the edge or at the foot of the page, 2 cm above the edge.

The Main Body of Text, beginning with Introduction, should have regular page numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.)

Photocopies or Copied Material

If photocopies are to be included, ensure that all copies are clear and of high quality, especially when plates are being reproduced. It is important that the printed matter is square-set on each page with approximately equal margins all round. If this is not done, it may be impossible to trim the pages properly; even if it is possible, costs will be increased. It is also important to ensure that you are not infringing someone else’s copyright in the material.


Colour photocopies or scanning and printing onto photographic quality A4 paper can provide good quality reproduction of photographs. If this produces a satisfactory result, the binding process is easier.

Where original photographs are used, either a matt or gloss finish is acceptable but you should seek the advice of your supervisor on the most effective one for the purpose in hand. Full-page photographs are best mounted on single weight printing paper, preferably not glazed. Double weight paper is difficult to oversee, and might have to be hinged which will increase the cost of binding. Copy paper is not heavy enough for satisfactory mounting.

Photographs can be mounted by a variety of methods, but whichever method you choose must be permanent. The use of ‘photographic stamps’ is a good method but not always readily available. Photographs can also be mounted with PVA (polyvinyl acetate) based glue which is available from good stationers and photographic shops. Photos should be ‘spot mounted’ at the corners and middle, and not glued all over. This helps to avoid warping of the mounting paper. Use the adhesive sparingly to avoid transfer to adjacent pages. Photographs attached with paste based adhesives (‘Pritt sticks’) tend to dry out and become detached after a while.  

All photographs must have permission where copyright exists.


CDs: Dissertations and theses sometimes need to contain supplementary media. Disks can usually be built into a pocket at the back of the volume.


Coloured text, graphics, and photographs should only be used if necessary to the integrity and accuracy of the information involved. Colour should not be used in any form as decoration.