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Sibelius Academy Guide for Doctoral Studies in Music: Content Pages

Table of Contents

The content hierarchy must be clearly illustrated in the table of contents. The hierarchy (chapters, subsections etc.) can be expressed by changing the typeface size or type and using indents with different widths (the lower the level in the hierarchy, the wider the indent) or, most commonly, by using Arabic numerals. You should avoid inconsistencies when choosing typeface sizes, bolding, and line spacing in the table of contents and the actual text.

  • If you number the chapters, do not add a full stop after the number (e.g. 2 is Chapter two, 4.3 is Chapter four point three).
  • If there is only one block of text in a subsection, there is no need to number the subsection.
  • Number only the actual text, not the bibliography or the appendices.
  • The page number in the beginning of a chapter is placed on the right-hand side of the table of contents without a full stop. A line or similar can be added between the chapter heading and the page number to make it easier to read. Practices vary.
  • Appendices are also titled, but not numbered. If there are multiple appendices, they can be assigned letters (i.e. unlike the chapters).
  • The abstract is not mentioned in the table of contents.


All pages are included in the pagination of the thesis – even if all numbers are not visible. Appendices also have page numbers. There are two ways to add page numbers to a thesis:

EITHER: Only Arabic numerals are used in pagination, but they are not shown until after the publication details page.

OR: Pages before the Introduction are numbered using lowercase Roman numerals (i, ii etc.). However, numbering begins only after the publication details page (=v). New pagination with Arabic numerals (=1) begins with the Introduction. Sometimes pagination is now shown until the second page of the Introduction (=2).

Pagination in the above-mentioned ways in MS Word requires the use of sections in the text (section breaks) to sever the links between these sections.

Actual Text

The following text structure is suitable for a traditional study. Other solutions may be used depending on the content and approach; in some cases this is even recommended.

The chapter heading should reflect the true content of the chapter: if, for instance, your heading is “Cat and Dog”, the text should discuss both of these, and in roughly equal amounts.

  • Introduction
  • Research question or assignment
  • Data and methods
  • Actual analysis where the questions posed in the research assignment are answered within the framework of the described data and methods, usually through some example cases. This is often the longest section in a dissertation.
  • Results (reported in the order of the questions/assignments)
  • Conclusions or discussion, answering the following questions (as applicable):
    • How has the study succeeded in answering the questions?
    • What limitations did the research method or data have and how should the method or the choice of data possibly be changed or developed in future research?
    • Has the study increased knowledge in the studied area?
    • Can the results be utilized and how?
    • What topics for further research does the thesis raise?

Indicate references consistently (e.g. author, year, page number). No page number is usually given for articles, because the reader can easily find the cited part without it. (Whereas the page numbers of a full article are given in the bibliography, also in the case of anthologies or compilations.)

Use italics, bolding, and especially parentheses sparingly and systematically. Generally e.g. words of foreign origin are italicized, same as the proper names of musical pieces (Finlandia, but Symphony No. 7). The excessive use of footnotes should also be avoided for the sake of the reader – unless this is a general practice in the discipline where e.g. learnedness is demonstrated specifically in footnotes.

Make a distinction between a hyphen, used in hyphenation, compound words, and fixed phrases (-) and an en or em-dash (– or —).Please note that Word enters a dash by default in fixed phrases and this needs to be edited manually if you are using automatic correction.

References (or Literature)

If there are multiple or many different types of references, they can be grouped in various ways, e.g. Research Literature, Regulations, Archive Sources, Sheet Music, and Recordings. There are various ways to group references; follow the example of a model text.

If the thesis is historical or empirical, it is customary to separate the data from the references. The data is the material that is researched, whereas the references (literature) are the material used as the background of the research and (in part) its arguments.

For example, historical (researched) data typically contains relics and literary data: memoirs, diaries etc. Empirical data may consist of interviews, questionnaires, images, sheet music etc. It is customary to list the data before the references.

The bibliography lists only the references that have been used. You may use e.g. the bibliography instructions of the Musiikki journal (cf. the latest issue or Elektra). However, the most important thing is the internal consistency of the bibliography and that the reader can find the used source using the bibliography. If the study includes separate research data, this is also referred to according to the practice explained in the study.

Unlike the other chapters, the bibliography is not numbered.


  • Appendices are numbered or lettered differently than the actual content.
  • Each appendix must be given a heading (appendix caption).
  • Appendices are listed in the table of contents.

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