PhD Studies

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Tips on Constructing Your Bibliography

Having discussed the construction of your thesis bibliography in the previous section, what follows is a quick list of points to which you can refer when you are compiling your bibliography:

  • Remember that it is never too early to begin your bibliography, in fact it should begin the day that you begin to compile your thesis.
  • The bibliography must contain every book to which you refer during the research and writing of your PhD. thesis.
  • Keep a constant and continuous record of all your reading from whatever source and keep this up until the day you finally submit your thesis.
  • Remember that it is vital to reference your texts in the style required by your college or university (see the section on referencing in this guide).
  • Subdivide your bibliography into primary and secondary sources, deciding on the method which works best for your particular thesis. a primary source would be one to which you have referred directly and/or from which you have quoted; a secondary source would be one which you have consulted but to which you have not actually directly referred.
  • Suggested subsequent divisions or categorisations that you could make include:
    • a. differentiating between fiction and non-fiction
    • b. dividing critical works from texts such as novels or other prose works.
    • c. separating works according to their particular topic
    • d. categorising works by author
    • e. collecting sources under relevance to a particular aspect of your work
  • As you can see, there are many ways that you can choose to separate your bibliography and it is vital to get it right.
  • Consult your supervisor before making a final decision about how to structure your bibliography as there may be a specific method laid down by your college or university which you must follow.

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The importance of the bibliography in your PhD. thesis cannot be overestimated as it is the backbone of your research and stands as a record of your work over a number of years, complementing and informing the writing you have done. For this reason, if for no other, the bibliography must be a priority in your thesis.

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