Proper citations and a perfect reference page are crucial elements of a winning dissertation. The most important part of the process is to be consistent. There are different requirements for different subjects; for example mathematics and sociology dissertations would probably follow different style guides for references and citations. It’s essential for you to follow your program handbook and style guidelines for the rules used within your field of study.
Citations– these are usually small pieces of text that are located within the body of your dissertation. It could be a quote, conclusion, statement or other idea that’s taken from someone else’s work. It must be acknowledged properly whether you directly quote it or paraphrase it.
References– this is like a bibliography that you create and place at the end of your paper or dissertation. It usually is located on its own new page and the items are listed alphabetically. It’s a list of all the research materials (literature) that you used for writing your dissertation. You may have used their direct quotes within your text or you may have used their ideas to form your own discussion.
Because each educational discipline follows different rules for citing and referencing, it’s outside the scope of this article to list those rules in detail. However, the importance of including them and doing it in an efficient manner following the guidelines you’ve been assigned, can’t be over-stressed.
Some Universities also have their own referencing system, or they recommend using certain software that aids the researcher in the job of referencing. It’s important to remember that text is not the only thing that should be cited and referenced properly. Illustrations and diagrams, charts and tables that have been taken from someone else’s published works should also be properly cited as if they were a piece of text.
As you proceed with your research, you will find information in all kinds of places. There’s the usual books, journals and online sources. But how would you reference a personal communication, interview or pamphlet? Most style guides can give you some direction on these less common sources. With personal communication, you may have to approximate the date and include the initials and surname of the person who sent the communication for example via email or memo. The source is listed as personal communication. That way the reader knows it isn’t a public work they can access somewhere.
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