In this guide, we give you some insightful tips for dissertation reference to help you get your project completed right.
There’s more to a dissertation project than just choosing a topic, conducting research, and putting your findings on paper. You also have to reference your dissertation correctly before submission.
Proper referencing of your dissertation is important for two reasons:
- You give your project the standardized academic finish necessary to get a pass.
- It presents your level of knowledge by demonstrating that you took the time to do your research to support your ideas and arguments.
This guide will give you the fundamentals of referencing your dissertation correctly so you can score more points. Whether you have some clue on how to approach dissertation referencing or no idea at all, these tips should help a great deal.
What is Scholarly Referencing?
Scholarly referencing is a set of guidelines used to direct readers to sources you’ve mentioned, quoted, or otherwise drawn from in your work.
While there are different ways to reference sources in your research assignment, they all play the same goal, which is to send readers directly to where you sourced the information you cited in your work.
Whichever referencing style you choose to use in your dissertation project, you must clearly mention the following information:
- The name of the author
- The title of the author of the work
- The type of publication you’ve cited, which can be a web page, a book chapter, a journal article – and so on
- The date of the publication, place of publication, and the name of the publisher
Don’t hesitate to go the extra mile to include additional information such as page range, volume, and issue number where applicable.
Why is Referencing Important for a Dissertation?
There are three reasons why it’s important to reference sources in your dissertation.
First, precise citation is important since it protects you from plagiarism charges.
When you incorporate work done others in your research paper but fail to provide citation, you demonstrate to your institution that you’ve ignorantly used another person’s piece of writing as your own, which can be detrimental.
If you’ve included another researcher’s work in your own paper, whether it be direct quotation, paraphrases, statistics, or broad “schools of thought”, give a reference.
To be abundantly clear, plagiarism isn’t necessarily a sign of dishonestly, and more if you unknowingly misrepresenting someone else’s work as your own.
But if you fail to credit any sources that may have impacted your thinking, you risk being accused of plagiarism.
Second, your readers may wish to interact with your dissertation paper directly or just be stimulated to think about what you’ve researched.
In any case, it’s common academic etiquette to ensure that anyone reading your work can trace the impacts of your thought, data, and methods.
Third, identifying and citing reputable scholarly work that supports your interpretations helps you make the implicit rhetorical argument that you understand the subject.
Moreover, readers are more likely to be convinced by your argument if you identify and cite reputable scholarly work that supports your interpretations.
5 Tips for Dissertation Reference
Here are some reference tips that will help you cite your dissertation properly:
1. Check the Recommended Citation Style
Many universities, journals, and publishers will have a recommended referencing style.
So before you begin writing, determine which system they require you to employ. It can be either Harvard, MLA, or APA referencing style.
2. Reference When It’s ABSOLUTELY Necessary
Some people are concerned that their work lacks sufficient references, but you need to keep in mind that quality is far more essential than filling your document with a ton of unnecessary references.
If anything, we strongly recommend that you use references in your dissertation only when it’s necessary.
Every time you cite or depend on the work of another author to support your point, you should add a citation in your work.
Including references indicates that you took the time to conduct your research. And as we mentioned earlier, it’s the only best way to avoid plagiarism.
3. Put Your References Together as You Write
It is easier to build a reference list while writing your dissertation paper than to wait until the end to do so.
Doing so will ensure you don’t overlook any crucial sources and will make it easy to double-check the texts you’ve cited while editing.
It’s important to maintain a consistent style throughout your work when comes to referring sources.
Remember, it’s considerably easier for the reader to discover sources if your citations and reference list are clear and consistent.
4. Countercheck Your Sources Before Submission
You must double-check your reference list before you submit your dissertation, even if you build it as you go. Make sure every source you’ve used includes complete publishing information.
Check to make sure you’ve provided your reference in the right sequence. If employing an endnote system, outline them numerically in the order they occur in the text, or alphabetically by author surname.
5. Use a Software to Help You Reference Your Dissertation Faster
You can create a spreadsheet or simply taking detailed notes as you study.
However, using a reference management software is by far the most effective way to save, access, and cite the sources you uncover you write your dissertation.
Some universities offer commercial software like RefWorks and EndNote, but a freeware package like Zotero may still save you a lot of time.
The limitation with Zotero is that it doesn’t offer sophisticated tools for generating bibliography, not to mention you get far fewer citation format compared to what you get from commercial tools.
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