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How to create a properly formatted table of contents

 Category:Research Projects  
 By: usericon Nonny01  

 Posted: 9/3/2017 4:32:00 PM


Learn how to create a good table of contents

At first glance, the table of contents appears simple. You would be surprised how often supervisors reject table of contents because it is improperly formatted. In this post, you will learn how to create a good table of contents.

What is a Table of Contents?

A table of contents is a list of the parts of a book, research report or document, organized in the order in which the parts appear. It is made up of the titles of the first level headers, second level titles and sometimes third level titles or subsections.

Guidelines for creating a table of contents

A good table of contents should show what topics have been covered in your project report, and how your report has been organized. The titles of each and every chapter should be included in the table of contents, alongside its page number. Also, first level subheading and lower level sub headings(second level, third level and so on) should be included.

When creating a table of contents, ensure that the page numbers match the contents listed. For example, the chapter one of your project report would look something like this:

Table of Contents

Introduction                                         1
Background of the study                        2
Statement of the problem                        3
Objectives of the study                           4
Significance of the study                          5
Scope of the study (Optional)                     6
Limitation and Delimitation of the study    7
Definition of terms                                         8

Some points to note when creating a table of contents

1. Be sure that your page numbers are aligned in the right-hand column. Aligning the page numbers also makes a table of contents easier to read.
2. Follow your project format closely to ensure appropriate spacings between lines.
3. Check for proper indentations of chapter titles and subheadings. Chapter/section titles do not need to be indented, but each subheading level should be.
4. Do not use bold or italics in a table of contents unless it is required to denote a work or literature, botanical name, species, or any item that requires it.
5. Ensure that the page numbers match the contents listed.

Formatting your table of contents with Microsoft 2010(or earlier versions)

The process and concept are the same among any version of Microsoft Word. Go through each section/chapter of the document and specify the type of heading that section is. Basically, all you need to do is select the title of a section and click the "Heading 1 or Heading 2" under the Styles menu at the top. Scroll down and specify the headers of the other chapters in the project report.


When you are done with marking the section titles, scroll to the top of the document and insert Table of Contents by clicking References on the menu, then click Table of Contents, you will be presented with different designs. Select the design you prefer, the table of contents will be created automatically.


Whenever you change any heading or page number in the document, you can update the table of contents by selecting it and click the update table > update entire table.

Sample table of contents for a research project


Title page                                                                              i                            
Approval page                                                                        ii
Dedication                                                                             iii
Acknowledgement                                                                   iv
Abstract                                                                                 v
Table of contents                                                                    vi
List of table                                 
List of figures                                 

1.0    Introduction                                                                 1                     
1.1    Background of the study                                                2                  
1.2    Statement of the problem                                              2        
1.3    Purpose / objectives of the study                                     3        
1.4    Research questions                                                        4                   
1.5    Statement of the hypothesis                                            5              
1.6    Scope of the study                                                         5                    
1.7    Significance of the study                                                 7               
1.8    Limitation of the study                    8
1.9    Definition of terms                         9


2.0    Literature review                         10
2.1    Introduction                                11
2.2    Definition of communication             11  
2.3    Effective communication in our organization    13      
2.4    Communication process                                 15
2.5    Communication channel                                 17
2.5.1 Communication structure                                 19
2.6    Objectives of effective communication             20
2.7    Managing communication                               23
2.7.1 How to manage information on communication    25
2.7.3 Channels                                                      28
2.7.4 Communication about organization                 29
2.7.5 Foster inter departmental communication         31
2.7.6 Develop an effective performance feedback     33
2.7.7   Corporate culture                                         35
2.8    Constraint of effective communication            37

3.0    Research design and methodology             38
3.1    Introduction                                             41
3.2    Design of the study                                   43
3.3    Description of the instrument used for data collected  44
3.4    Validation of the instrument                                    47
3.5    Reliability of the study                                            49
3.6    Method of data analysis                                          50

4.0    Data presentation and analysis                51
4.1    Introduction                                           53
4.2    Presentation of data                               55
4.3    Testing hypothesis                                  58

5.0    Summary of findings, conclusion and recommendation    59
5.1    Conclusion                                                                 61
5.2    Recommendation                                                        63
    References                                                                    65
    Appendix                                                                      68
    Questionnaire                                                                71

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