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Title page for thesis paper

Apr 3, 2018

To see the corresponding video for this blog post click here.

In the last post we looked at adding a bibliography to our thesis using biblatex. In this post we’re going to look at customising some of the opening pages. In the first video we made a rather make shift title page using the \maketitle command and by using an \includegraphics command in the \title command. Although this works, it doesn’t give us as much flexibility as we may want.

The Title Page

A much better way to do this is to use the title page environment. We’ll do this in a separate tex file and then input it. The first thing we’ll do is enclose everything in the title page in the ‘center’ environment so it’s all aligned to the centre. Next we need to instruct LaTeX to leave a gap between the top of the page and the first line of text. To do this we use the \vspace command followed by a length. We also need to add an asterisk into the command to make sure LaTeX doesn’t decide to ignore the command. Next we’ll add the thesis title in bold font using the \textbf command. To leave a gap between this and the next line of text we use the \vspace command again, this time without the asterisk. Now we’ll add in a subtitle followed by some more vertical space and then the author name in bold font. This concludes what we want at the top of the title page. The rest of the content we’ll add at the bottom of the title page. To separate these two sections out we’ll use the \vfill command which will automatically add in the amount of vertical space needed for the content to fill the page. Next we’ll add in a line of text to specify what degree the thesis is being submitted for. The double backslash is used to create a new line. We’ll then add more space before adding in the university logo specifying it’s width as a fraction of the text width. Finally we’ll add in some information about the university and the date.

\begin{titlepage}
    \begin{center}
        \vspace*{1cm}
        
        \textbf{Thesis Title}
        
        \vspace{0.5cm}
        Thesis Subtitle
        
        \vspace{1.5cm}
        
        \textbf{Author Name}
        
        \vfill
        
        A thesis presented for the degree of\\
        Doctor of Philosophy
        
        \vspace{0.8cm}
        
        \includegraphics[width=0.4\textwidth]{university}
        
        Department Name\\
        University Name\\
        Country\\
        Date
        
    \end{center}
\end{titlepage}

Now in the main tex file we can replace the \maketitle command with an input command linked to our new title page. If we now compile the code we can see all the items have been correctly processed.

smalltitle

However the text is quite small so we’ll go back and change the font sizes. To do this we use one of the sizing commands. There are ten of these to choose from. From smallest to largest they are:

\tiny 
\scriptsize
\footnotesize
\small
\normalsize
\large
\Large
\LARGE
\huge
\Huge

Let’s make the title as big as it can be using \Huge. We’ll then make the subtitle two steps smaller using \large. When we use one of these commands they affect all the text in it’s scope. Therefore in it’s current state all the remaining text on the page will appear in the size of the subtitle. We’ll keep it like this for the author name and degree title but we’ll drop down one size for the university details and the date.

\begin{titlepage}
    \begin{center}
        \vspace*{1cm}
        
        \Huge
        \textbf{Thesis Title}
        
        \vspace{0.5cm}
        \LARGE
        Thesis Subtitle
        
        \vspace{1.5cm}
        
        \textbf{Author Name}
        
        \vfill
        
        A thesis presented for the degree of\\
        Doctor of Philosophy
        
        \vspace{0.8cm}
        
        \includegraphics[width=0.4\textwidth]{university}
        
        \Large
        Department Name\\
        University Name\\
        Country\\
        Date
        
    \end{center}
\end{titlepage}

title

The Abstract

We can also customise other pages like the abstract. Instead of using an unnumbered chapter, we’ll create a new tex file, customise the layout and then input it. At the top of this file we need to change the page style to plain in order to stop the headers being added in. Now in a similar way to the title page we’ll add in some custom titles and then the abstract text.

\thispagestyle{plain}
\begin{center}
    \Large
    \textbf{Thesis Title}
    
    \vspace{0.4cm}
    \large
    Thesis Subtitle
    
    \vspace{0.4cm}
    \textbf{Author Name}
    
    \vspace{0.9cm}
    \textbf{Abstract}
\end{center}
Lorem ipsum dolor...

This is what it will look like added in.

abstract

This concludes our series on writing a basic thesis. If you want to play around with the thesis we’ve created in this series you can open the project in ShareLaTeX by clicking here.

Other posts in this series:

pt 1 - Basic Structure

pt 2 - Page Layout

pt 3 - Figures, Subfigures and Tables

pt 4 - Bibliographies with Biblatex

Posted by Josh Cassidy on 09 Aug 2013

Order of Writing

Your thesis is not written in the same order as it is presented in. The following gives you one idea how to proceed. 
  1. first organize your paper as a logical argument before you begin writing
  2. make your figures to illustrate your argument (think skimming)
  3. the main sections are: background to the argument (intro); describing the information to be used in the argument, and making points about them (observations), connecting the points regarding the info (analysis), summing up (conclusions). 
  4. outline the main elements: sections, and subsections
  5. begin writing, choosing options in the following hierarchy - paragraphs, sentences, and words. 
Here is another approach. 
  1. Write up a preliminary version of the background section first. This will serve as the basis for the introduction in your final paper. 
  2. As you collect data, write up the methods section. It is much easier to do this right after you have collected the data. Be sure to include a description of the research equipment and relevant calibration plots. 
  3. When you have some data, start making plots and tables of the data. These will help you to visualize the data and to see gaps in your data collection. If time permits, you should go back and fill in the gaps. You are finished when you have a set of plots that show a definite trend (or lack of a trend). Be sure to make adequate statistical tests of your results. 
  4. Once you have a complete set of plots and statistical tests, arrange the plots and tables in a logical order. Write figure captions for the plots and tables. As much as possible, the captions should stand alone in explaining the plots and tables. Many scientists read only the abstract, figures, figure captions, tables, table captions, and conclusions of a paper. Be sure that your figures, tables and captions are well labeled and well documented. 
  5. Once your plots and tables are complete, write the results section. Writing this section requires extreme discipline. You must describe your results, but you must NOT interpret them. (If good ideas occur to you at this time, save them at the bottom of the page for the discussion section.) Be factual and orderly in this section, but try not to be too dry. 
  6. Once you have written the results section, you can move on to the discussion section. This is usually fun to write, because now you can talk about your ideas about the data. If you can come up with a good cartoon/schematic showing your ideas, do so. Many papers are cited in the literature because they have a good cartoon that subsequent authors would like to use or modify. 
  7. In writing the discussion session, be sure to adequately discuss the work of other authors who collected data on the same or related scientific questions. Be sure to discuss how their work is relevant to your work. If there were flaws in their methodology, this is the place to discuss it.
  8. After you have discussed the data, you can write the conclusions section. In this section, you take the ideas that were mentioned in the discussion section and try to come to some closure. If some hypothesis can be ruled out as a result of your work, say so. If more work is needed for a definitive answer, say that.
  9. The final section in the paper is a recommendation section. This is really the end of the conclusion section in a scientific paper. Make recommendations for further research or policy actions in this section. If you can make predictions about what will be found if X is true, then do so. You will get credit from later researchers for this. 
  10. After you have finished the recommendation section, look back at your original introduction. Your introduction should set the stage for the conclusions of the paper by laying out the ideas that you will test in the paper. Now that you know where the paper is leading, you will probably need to rewrite the introduction. 
  11. You must write your abstract last. 

Help young people. Help small guys. Because small guys will be big. Young people will have the seeds you bury in their minds, and when they grow up, they will change the world. Jack Ma

Format (3 lines):

in the
Department, School, or Program
Faculty

Program or department names should be written out in full, without abbreviations.

Selected Examples:

Faculty of Applied Sciences

in the
School of Computing Science
Faculty of Applied Sciences

in the
School of Engineering Science
Faculty of Applied Sciences

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

in the
Department of Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

in the
Graduate Liberal Studies Program
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

in the
Latin American Studies Program
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

in the
School of Public Policy
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

in the
Urban Studies Program
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Beedie School of Business

in the
Segal Graduate School
Beedie School of Business

Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

in the
Publishing Program
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

in the
School for the Contemporary Arts
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

in the
School of Communication
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

in the
School of Communication (Dual Degree Program in Global Communication)
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

in the
School of Interactive Arts and Technology
Faculty of Communication, Art and Technology

Faculty of Education

in the
Individual Program Name*
Faculty of Education

* Faculty of Education graduate students: see Doctoral Degrees or Master's Degrees for the wording of program names.

Faculty of Environment

in the
Department of Geography
Faculty of Environment

Faculty of Health Sciences

in the
Doctor of Philosophy Program
Faculty of Health Sciences

in the
Master of Public Health Program
Faculty of Health Sciences

in the
Master of Science Program
Faculty of Health Sciences

Faculty of Science

in the
Department of Mathematics
Faculty of Science

in the
Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science
Faculty of Science

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