Tips on Citation in Your Ph.D. Thesis

The previous section has given you detailed information about how and why you should cite correctly. What follows is a quick reference to this to which you can refer:

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  • Referencing correctly is vital and you should never overlook or underestimate its importance to the success of your doctorate.
  • Familiarise yourself with the correct referencing style before you even begin your proposal.
  • Use the required referencing style at all times during the research and writing of your thesis – even in note-taking – as then it will become second nature to you to use it and not seem so tedious to adopt and to maintain.
  • Remember that certain disciplines, such as Law and Medicine, employ the same referencing techniques whatever the degree or academic institution.
  • However, most disciplines have a specific non-generic style requirement for referencing and this is what you need to familiarise yourself with.
  • All citations must be carried out in the same referencing style throughout the course of your thesis.
  • Adhere precisely to any and all style requirements right down to every dot and comma – that’s how exact referencing needs to be.
  • Remember that there is a logical reason for precise referencing – it isn’t being inflicted upon you as a punishment by evil examiners!
  • If you consider, the idea of every thesis employing certain common features allows you to note precisely where the source from which it is taken can be located.
  • Examples of this include the common feature of placing titles not published separately in single inverted commas, whilst sources that have been published alone are either underlined or in italics: knowing this helps you to know that a text may be found either within a book or searched for separately, which is very helpful.
  • When citing within the text of your thesis, remember that it is important to limit the use of terms such as ‘ibid’ as it can become confusing.
  • When you cite a text for the first time, you need to give the full details, after that you can – and should - use abbreviations.

Cite correctly within both your main thesis and your bibliography from first to last!

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