References In A Dissertation – Guide From Experts


When writing a dissertation, the student has to study and analyze many sources. After writing the entire work, the sources you used to write your dissertation should be indicated in a separate section. That is, the section will contain the articles of other authoritative people that you used as evidence. This process can take a long time, depending on the topic of your research.

The list of used literature indicates that you spent a lot of time looking for the necessary information, and readers will take your article seriously. The person who will read the article can quickly determine how high quality and relevant literature you have used. Therefore, you need to study in detail our instructions for writing the “References” section to prove that you made a quality document.

References or Bibliography?

It is often difficult for students to compile this section because they do not understand what it should be called. Many universities specify either the name “References” or “Bibliography” in their requirements, thus confusing students. If you are confused, then you can name the section like this:

  1. When creating a “list of references,” you can add the word – used.
  2. As for the phrase “bibliographic list,” it is synonymous with the phrase above.

We can conclude that you can call this section in two ways, which will not be a mistake. If your supervisor did not specify any requirements, you could name this section as you see fit, but before these, please clarify whether the name corresponds to the official norms.

Filling References With Sources

When creating a thesis, every student should take care of a well-crafted bibliography list. The student must combine all the sources used into a logical list, but you must clearly understand what kind of literature should be included in the work before these. If you look at the bibliography section from the point of view commission, then you should be aware of such sources:

  1. Modern sources should be no more than 3-4 years old, from the day the author first published the document.
  2. As for the sources over 20-30 years old, their number in the text should not exceed 30% of the total amount of used literature. If your topic is related to the past, it is allowed to use more old literature, which will not be considered a mistake.

Also, when you add literature to the list of used sources, then you need to adhere to several rules:

  1. When using old and new literature, stick to an equal amount if all sources are relevant to the article’s topic and content.
  2. Each literature must be marked with a footnote so that the reader can see where the information came from. To understand exactly how to add a footnote, read the guidelines for creating links for such styles as MLA, APA.
  3. Most of all, the commission evaluates sources taken from magazines, articles, monographs, reviews, and examples of other theses of reputable writers. Textbooks and manuals are less valuable than the above document types.
  4. All laws and acts should be only modern. If they were written long ago, then be sure to indicate the year and the author.

How to Make a List of References in a Dissertation?

The amount of used literature depends on the type of work and the chosen topic. Traditionally, research in the natural sciences requires fewer sources than humanities. But exceptions are possible.

The exact amount of required literature is not approved by any rule, in contrast to the design of references in research papers. The list is selected depending on the format of the work and is of a conditional, recommendatory nature:

  • master’s theses – up to 100 points;
  • Ph.D. theses 150-200 positions in the list;
  • doctoral dissertations – up to 600 points may be required.

The primary resources for obtaining information are content on the Internet, libraries of higher educational institutions, and research institutes. The bibliographic list can consist of the following sections:

  • state documentation;
  • books that do not have an author, and books were written both individually and in co-authorship;
  • dictionaries, encyclopedic collections, reference books, multivolume books;
  • articles, monographs, abstracts;
  • electronic resources;
  • periodicals;
  • dissertations.

The more extensive and varied the literature used by a graduate student or doctoral student, the higher the chances of preparing quality work. But this does not mean that the task is to include as many items as possible. Only useful and relevant materials should be used that allowed a deep study of the issue.

Rules for Recording Literary Sources

The list’s structure and sequence depend on the topic, target coverage, and thesis’s specifics. Experience shows that the following sequence is more successful:

  1. Legislative base (acts, in turn, are placed according to the level of legal force, starting with laws, by-laws and up to acts of individual action);
  2. periodicals (it is recommended that each used article and publication be placed in a peer-reviewed source);
  3. materials in a foreign language;
  4. Internet resources (verified and official services).

It is forbidden to use information from so-called “yellow” sources and electronic encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), non-academic directories, and publications from popular science collections.

Legislative Acts

For this list, the bibliographic list applies. The sequence is as follows:

  • norm-setting acts by the date of adoption (entry into force);
  • Constitution, codes of conduct in alphabetical order;
  • Presidential decrees in chronological order;
  • departmental and ministerial acts (in chronology, starting from orders, followed by decisions, at the end of the position);
  • a list of instructions in alphabetical order;
  • regional legislative acts;
  • decisions of municipal authorities and local self-government;
  • court decisions and orders. The order of placement depends on the status of the court.

If the degree of significance of legal acts is equal, their placement is carried out by the publication date. When referring to laws, which have already lost their legal force, sources indicate at the end of the bibliographic list. The date of invalidation must be indicated in parentheses.

Periodicals and Foreign Materials

Magazines and other types of periodicals follow the list of legal frameworks, if any, used in the dissertation. If not, then nonfiction tops the list. References and catalogs contain the correct title of the source.

The information should be indicated in strict accordance with the official name. Most often, alphabetical order is used, but exceptions are possible depending on authorship and publication date.

Materials in a foreign language are placed at the end of the list in strict alphabetical order. If there is no complete information about the document used in one language, it is allowed to use the language of the sources. For example, in an article by a French author, the source is described in English.

Information From the Internet

The categories of Internet sources depend on the type of resource used. So, there is a division:

  • online editions;
  • websites;
  • books published on the Internet, methodological instructions;
  • thematic pages.

The design principle for each of the points is the same. The information is mentioned in the text of the thesis, which is followed with a link. Considering that Internet sources are quite complex to specify, it is important to take information from verified resources and official sites.

When using electronic resources, for example, websites, the bibliographic list must contain the author’s full name, subject, the title of the material, year, and publication place. The very combination “Electronic resource” is necessarily formulated. The brackets are square. Additionally, the e-mail address and information about access to the resource are registered.

Official Documentation and Books

When specifying official state documentation, first of all, the name is indicated: law, decree, pact. The full name from the official source is in quotation marks. The number, date of signing is put down next to it, and then information follows who accepted and signed the document.

One problematic point in the question of how to arrange a bibliography for a dissertation is a book. If the publication does not have an author, the title is indicated in quotation marks, then the city of publication and the year.

If a one-volume book is described, the sequence is as follows: Name of the author, title. If there are several authors, they are indicated in sequence as on the source through a fraction. In multivolume editions, the volume number is additionally indicated.

Publications in Journals, Scientific Research

The dissertation is included in the list indicating the full title, the academic degree of the author, topic, year, and date of publication. For a monograph, the list must be supplemented with a journal page number.

A common type of source is conference abstracts and articles. Preferably, the material is taken from reputable, peer-reviewed sources. When compiling the list, the very designation of the article is not prescribed. Indicate the author, the title of the material in quotation marks. Through a line – the name of the publication in which the article was published. Next – year and page.

The complexity of drawing up a list of references for a dissertation lies in the laboriousness of the process and the time spent. This is a technical work that requires attention and elaboration of a large number of rules.

Is It Allowed to Refer to the Sources of Their Authorship?

The writing of scientific work is usually preceded by the publication of the author’s articles, so it is quite appropriate to indicate them in the cited bibliography. But at the same time, there is an important rule. The referenced material must be posted in the journal that is being reviewed. This also applies to the indication of the previous works of the author.

Check Your References Carefully

Usually, students don’t pay much attention to the references. Yet it is very important for any papers. Thus, you have to check them carefully. If you have doubts about the correctness of the links, ask our excerpts for proofreading and editing. We can cope with such a task within half an hour. Just leave your request. We are ready to help 24/7!

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