If you are following a certain formatting style for your research, then you have to follow all the rules that it sets. You cannot do an incomplete task by abiding with some standards and ignoring the others. There has to be parity between all elements. If you are following the APA (American Psychological Association) style for the citations, you cannot be following the MLA (Modern Language Association) for the format.
If you thought that just using the correct language and citing the references in the correct manner will suffice for meeting the refereeing standards, you need to revise your work. There are more things that make for a complete document and ensure that it is evaluated satisfactorily. Apart from the referencing system, there are the following aspects that you need to keep in mind:
* Headers and sub headers: there are page headers and there are sub headers. While the former is common for the entire document and will appear on each page, the latter has the function of dividing the chapter into sections. There will be sub headings for every topic that is included in the chapter and must enable the evaluator to find the matter on a topic that he wants to read.
* Margins: the top, bottom and side margins must be kept as per the stated rules. Most styles prescribe a minimum margin of one inch on all sides.
* Font style: the font that you use for your research report can be decided by the college or university from where you are pursuing the research. Make sure that you follow the font which is accepted by the college committee. Not just the style, but also the size of the font matters.
* Indentations: whether it is paragraph indents or use of hanging indents in quotes, you have to be sure of the extent of indentation to be incorporated.
* Line Spacing: the alignment and line spacing must also follow the set standard. Use single or double spacing as per asked by your supervisor. The text has to be left aligned in most cases. While citing a source, the spacing and alignment can have some changes.
So, keep the specific rules in mind while writing the dissertation/ thesis and impress your supervisor.