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Information on writing a dissertation

Choosing the subject and the rules on preparing the dissertation for the final examination.

Choosing and asking for a subject

The dissertation subject has to be asked to a professor within your Degree Programme, the supervisor, who will assess the validity of your proposal in relation to your study plan, deciding a final title.  You will have to prove to be able to put together and summarize a bibliography on the subject and re-elaborate it, based on the required editorial rules. The student can discuss the final theses in any of the courses from the courses structure diagram, ​despite the study plan, and credits achieved.

The supervisor is a professor of the School of Economics, Management and Statistics, and provides assistance in the writing of the ​reserach.

The final thesis consists on a topic of a specific course, on the discussion of a project, on the critical development of internship experience, on the analysis of a case study, on a theoretical or applied research.

When is it better to ask for a title to the supervisor?

Starting from the beginning of the third year. Together with your last exams, you should plan to work on the final thesis.

Some suggestions before you start

  1. Define the subject, ask yourself:

    a) What is the topic of my interest; b) why is it relevant to deal with this subject; c) to what extent is the topic connected to the teaching activity and to the degree programme.

  2. Get started 

    Read something beforehand, in order to get a general idea about the topic of the final thesis. If you do not have further suggestions about authors, books, magazines or articles you can search the theme you are interested in on the manual of the course, read a specific chapter or paragraph, and find out if there are any references to start from, then visit the library to find more details.

  3. Search for specific material

    Once you have a theme, you need to search for specific material. The first reference is the bibliography, where you can find more authors, books and articles to go deeper in your search.

  4. The outline. After you have read articles and books, you start planning your thesis with the outline of the main features.

  5. Apply to a real case. If you decided for an original thesis, you have to apply to a real case and use the methods you have learnt in class.
  6. Define the final objective of the thesis: whilst you are gathering information, you will develop more and more ideas: now you need to arrange them all and concentrate on the final result.

Editorial rules

There is no standard form for the Final Thesis. Here are some basic editorial rules to write a dissertation:

  • number of pages about 30-40
  • lines in each page: 32 – 35
  • font: Font Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica;
  • font size: 12 or 13 (10 for footnotes);
  • right-left and top-bottom margins: 2.5 cm;
  • spacing: 1.5 cm.
  • The use of the Unibo logo is strictly forbidden in the title page. The Unibo will proceed legally against violators for counterfeiting the seal. (R.D. 21/6/1942, as amended by Legislative Decree No. 480 of 1992 issued in implementation of the EU Directive No. 10 of 1989 and further amended by Legislative Decree No. 198 of 1996).
  • Chapters and paragraphs have to be enumerated as follows:

1 Chapter Title

1.1 Paragraph title

  • Charts and Figures shall be enumerated. Always specify the source of data.

Tav. 1 -Prime dieci province per incremento di peso sul valore aggiunto totale 1991-1999 di agricoltura, industria e servizi

Source: Istituto Tagliacarne

The structure of the final dissertation

No matter what the outline is, you have to consider the following elements:

  1. Introduction. The suggestion is to write it at the end, when all other parts are complete. The purpose of the introduction is to explain the overall work and the logic behind it. Within a paragraph it has to present the themes and the conclusion;
  2. A short review of the literature;
  3. An overview of the theme;
  4. The results of the analysis or of the research;
  5. The conclusions where you explicit your personal point of view;
  6. Eventually the appendix with documents or statistics;
  7. The bibliography.

The Bibliography

The bibliography is very important: it is the precise list of books, articles, websites and anything you considered for the research and the definition of your final thesis.

Some examples of the way you have to list books, articles and any other material:

Book: Last name of the author, initial of the name (year of publication), Title in italic, Publishing company, place of publication.

Alesina A. e Glaeser E. (2004), Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe: A World of Difference, Oxford University Press, Oxford UK.

  • In case of a single chapter: Last name of the author, initial of the name (year of publication), “title of the chapter”, name of the authors (by) Title of the book in italic, Publishing company, place of publication.
  • in case of translated book in Italian: Last name of the author, initial of the name (year of publication), Original Title, Publishing company, place of publication, trad. it. Translated Title, Publishing company, place of publication, (year).

    Ex.: Pasinetti, L. (1981), Structural change and economic growth, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, trad. it. Dinamica strutturale e sviluppo economico, Utet, Torino, (1984).

Article from a review: Last name of the author, initial of the name (year of publication), “Title of the article”, Name of the magazine, volume, number, page

Hennart, J.F. (1991) “The transaction cost theory of joint ventures: an empirical study of Japanese subsidiaries in the United States”, Management Science, vol. 37, 4, April, 483-497

Web site: Web site (Institution) (università degli studi di Bologna)

Archive, catalogue: Name of the archive, editorial, title of the document, position.

Eg.: Archivio camera di commercio di Bologna, Registro ditte, Cibas, n° 47230

Oral source: Full name of the interviewed, role, place and date of the interview

Guido Candela, Preside Facoltà di Economia, interviewed in Rimini on 20/3/2006

The Notes

The notes are marginal information. Notes can be used to give two kind of fundamental information: explanation or comments, as content notes; bibliograpfhic references. As for the position, they can be in footnote or listed in the end, enumerated in sequence and related to the numbers in text. The number shall be “limited” and short, or they will be an obstacle in the reading.

Content notes: They are needed for comments, explanations or specific extention of the topic and eventually they can refer to other part of the text.

Reference notes: They are needed to report specific bibliographic references, for example quotations. In general the references report specific editions as well.

Footnote: They can be considered whilst reading the text, thus they are useful for the reader: more often a reduced font is preferred.

Final list of notes: The composition can be less articulated, but more difficult to be considered by the reader: in general they are preferred as bibliographic references and when they are not crucial for the text.

Enumeration: In ascending and consecutive order in each chapter, starting all over again in the next one: notes related to charts, illustrations or particular schemes do not follow the enumaration of the text notes, but are marked with symbols, letters or numbers, listed as separate element.

Bibliographic references in note

Reduced form

They have to report the following elements: - authors. Generally, the shortened name is given first, then the last name (whereas in the bibliography it reversed); -title. The same as in the bibliography, without subtitle;

-part of the text (if relevant). In general it referes to the specific pages, with a p. and then the page number.


Single publication, full or partial

Reduced (note): R. Cozzi, P. Protti, T. Ruario. Analisi Chimica.

Partial: G. Plazio. La cera, il latte l’uomo dei boschi, p. 27.

Periodical and series

Reduced (note):

The Journal of Interdisciplinary History. Vol. XXIV, n. 1.

Articles on periodicals

Reduced (note): M. Eigen. “La quasispecie virale”, p. 29.

Unpublished texts

Reduced  (note): D.E. Olson. Eight steps to better written communications.

For bibliographic research, visit the Rimini Campus Library Biblioteca del Campus di Rimini