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2. Getting Started

There are many different thesis designs, varying according to university or discipline [5]. If you have been told to use a particular class file, use that one. If not, there are a selection of thesis class files available on CTAN and listed in the OnLine TeX Catalogue's Topic Index [3]. Since there are so many to choose from, I'm just going to follow on from Volume 1 of this series and use one of the KOMA-Script class files. But which one? The scrreprt class is the one usually recommended for a report or thesis. It defaults to one-sided and has an abstract environment, but it doesn't define \frontmatter, \mainmatter or \backmatter. The scrbook class does define those commands, but it doesn't provide an abstract environment and defaults to two-sided layout. So, you can either do:

\documentclass{scrreprt}
\title{A Sample Thesis}
\author{A.N. Other}

\begin{document}
\maketitle

\pagenumbering{roman}
\tableofcontents

\chapter*{Acknowledgements}

\begin{abstract}
This is the abstract
\end{abstract}

\pagenumbering{arabic}

\chapter{Introduction}
...
\end{document}

or you can do:

\documentclass[oneside]{scrbook}
\title{A Sample Thesis}
\author{A.N. Other}

\begin{document}
\maketitle

\frontmatter
\tableofcontents

\chapter{Acknowledgements}

\chapter{Abstract}
This is the abstract

\mainmatter

\chapter{Introduction}
...
\end{document}

I'm going to use the second approach simply out of personal preference. The KOMA-Script options mentioned in this book are available for both scrreprt and scrbook, so choose whichever class file you feel best suits your thesis.

Unless you have been told otherwise, I recommend that you start out with a skeletal document that looks something like the following:

Listing 1:

\documentclass[oneside]{scrbook}

\title{A Sample Thesis}
\author{A.N. Other}
\date{July 2013}
\titlehead{A Thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy}
\publishers{School of Something\\University of Somewhere}

\begin{document}
\maketitle

\frontmatter
\tableofcontents
\listoffigures
\listoftables

\chapter{Acknowledgements}

I would like to thank my supervisor, Professor Someone. This
research was funded by the Imaginary Research Council.

\chapter{Abstract}

A brief summary of the project goes here.

% A glossary and list of acronyms may go here
% or may go in the back matter.

\mainmatter

\chapter{Introduction}
\label{ch:intro}

\chapter{Technical Introduction}
\label{ch:techintro}

\chapter{Method}
\label{ch:method}

\chapter{Results}
\label{ch:results}

\chapter{Conclusions}
\label{ch:conc}

\backmatter

% A glossary and list of acronyms may go here
% or may go in the front matter after the abstract.

% The bibliography will go here

\end{document}

If you do this, it will help ensure that your document has the correct structure before you begin with the actual contents of the document. (Note that the chapter titles will naturally vary depending on your subject or institution, and you may need a different paper size if you are not in Europe. I have based the above on my own PhD thesis which I wrote in the early to mid 1990s in the Department of Electronic Systems Engineering at the University of Essex, and it may well not fit your own requirements.)

If you haven't started your thesis yet, go ahead and try this. Creating a skeletal document can have an amazing psychological effect on some people: for very little effort it can produce a document several pages long, which can give you a sense of achievement that can help give you sufficient momentum to get started (but of course, it's not guaranteed to work with everyone). Remember that if you want to use arara (see §1.1.2. Arara) you must add the build rules to the document:

% arara: pdflatex: { synctex: on }
% arara: pdflatex: { synctex: on }
\documentclass[oneside]{scrbook}

(I'll add the arara rules to sample listings, in the event that you want to use arara. Since they are comments, they will be ignored if you use pdflatex explicitly or if you use another automation method, such as latexmk.)

Now think about other requirements. What font size have you been told to use?

10pt
Use the 10pt class option:

\documentclass[oneside,10pt]{scrbook}

11pt
Use the 11pt class option:

\documentclass[oneside,11pt]{scrbook}

12pt
Use the 12pt class option:

\documentclass[oneside,12pt]{scrbook}

Have you been told to have a blank line between paragraphs and no paragraph indentation? If so, use the parskip=full class option:

\documentclass[oneside,12pt,parskip=full]{scrbook}

[Changing the margins in LaTeX]Have you been told to have certain sized margins? If so, you can use the geometry package. For example, if you have been told you must have 1 inch margins, you can do

\usepackage[margin=1in]{geometry}

Changing the default fonts is covered in Volume 1. Other possible formatting requirements, such as double-spacing, are covered in §4. Formatting.


This book is also available as A4 PDF or 12.8cm x 9.6cm PDF or paperback (ISBN 978-1-909440-02-9).

© 2013 Dickimaw Books. "Dickimaw", "Dickimaw Books" and the Dickimaw parrot logo are trademarks. The Dickimaw parrot was painted by Magdalene Pritchett.

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