Mml Cambridge Optional Dissertation Definition

Inserting images

If it is relevant, you may wish to include images in your dissertation. This might be particularly appropriate for dissertations on visual art or film, where it would be very helpful to the examiner to see a reproduction of a painting or a cinematic shot that you analyse in depth.

Jpeg files can be inserted into a Word document by clicking on ‘Insert’ on the dropdown menu and then ‘Picture’, or simply copying and pasting. You are advised to insert images at the final stage of editing your dissertation as they may increase the size of the file to the extent that it is difficult to handle. Inserting images at the appropriate point in the text makes it easier for your reader to find them; on the other hand, you may find it easier to include them in an appendix at the end and keep them in a separate file. In either case, you should number your images and given the figure number and the page number at the relevant point in your dissertation. Every image should have a figure number (e.g. ‘Fig. 1’) at the least, and it may also be useful to include a caption – but remember these should be included in the final word count.

Capturing images from a DVD

Some DVD software programs will allow you to capture an image from a DVD and save it as a Jpeg file (or another format). If yours does not have this facility, a good option is to download the free VLC player which works on PCs and Macs. Once you have installed the player on your computer, open it from the Applications folder. From the top drop-down menu choose File, then Open File, and select your DVD drive. Find the right place on the DVD and then click Video, then Snapshot. The image should automatically save to your Desktop, unless you have directed the program to save it elsewhere. Double-click on the icon to open the image in Preview (or right-click on it in some operating platforms) and then save it as a Jpeg file.

Using a referencing system

It is important that you reference the work of others very carefully in your dissertation. The meticulous use of an established referencing system is vital:

  • it allows your reader to find the works you mention easily.
  • it shows the reader/examiner clearly which ideas in the dissertation are your own interpretations and should be credited as such.
  • it protects you from any suspicion of plagiarism.
  • it demonstrates that you have mastered the technical skills of scholarly research and writing.
  • it demonstrates the care, consistency and attention to detail which always accompany high-quality research.

You are free to choose either of the two main referencing systems set out in the Style Guide of the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association): the traditional footnote system, or the author-date system. The one used here is a slightly simplified version of the standard MHRA footnote system, as it is more commonly used than the author-date; although it may initially seem more complicated, it deals more effectively with a wider range of bibliographic items and also has the advantage of being more elegant. Whichever system you choose, it is important to use it consistently throughout your dissertation. Examiners will award or deduct marks for the scholarly presentation of your work.

The full MHRA Style Guide may be downloaded from the MHRA website. But it is usually much simpler to consult Cite Them Right Online, as MHRA is one of the styles it supports. 

Referring to titles of works

Referring to authors or other people

Using footnotes

Inserting footnotes markers

Formatting footnotes


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