PHD Help

Compiling Your Bibliography

As has been reiterated many times throughout this guide, the bibliography should evolve as you research so that it is not a major task when you head towards the completion of your thesis.

Notwithstanding, it is worth considering precisely how your bibliography should be structured according to content as it is such a vital part of your Ph.D. thesis. Primarily, your bibliography is a reference tool and a record of your research. As such, it is ital that the structure should appear to be structured as clearly as possible.

Obviously, you have to compile your bibliography in alphabetical order and according to the referencing style of your college (see the section in this guide on referencing styles for further information on this). It is a good idea also to consider subdivisions.

Subdividing your bibliography can be an extremely effective way of controlling the structure an helping you – and the examiners - to locate a specific source.

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There are various ways in which you can subdivide your bibliography, depending on what type of thesis you have been compiling. A good way to start is to think about primary and secondary sources that you have used in your thesis research. As you know, you have to include every book you even consult in your research for your thesis when you compile your bibliography so it is essential that you make some kind of distinction between those texts which you have used most frequently and from which you have quoted in your thesis and books which were merely a supportive framework. Make lists of books from which you have quoted as you research in the correct referencing style of your college or university. This will give you an excellent starting point.

You can then subdivide these into primary texts, critical works, biographies, journals etc. Then move on to list the works which you consulted but did not necessarily include in your thesis. These, too, should be subdivided into the categories applied to your primary texts – critical works, biographies etc. – and should be listed alphabetically.

You also need to decide whether or not you want to list works according to subject, too. This might sound strange as you are writing your thesis on one main subject area, of course, but you need to show how the thesis is related to other areas and in researching this you may well have enlarged the area covered so that you would need a separate section to list these.

Your bibliography is vital to the success of your thesis so ensure it is well constructed!

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