How To Correctly Reference A Dissertation

Referencing is a crucial part of dissertation writing. It gives your work the academic finish it needs to have and also serves as the support for your ideas and arguments. It is the platform upon which anyone reading through your work can have a clear understanding and in-depth knowledge of your research topic.
In this article, we shall make more use of “scholarly referencing” as a means of differentiating references used in the academic world from others. For example, the one you’ll use in a CV, etc.

What is scholarly referencing?

It refers to the series of conventions used to point readers towards the source of the materials; books, literature, journal, etc. used in writing your dissertation.
There are different styles of scholarly referencing; however, a proper academic referencing contains the following;

  1. The title of the work
  2. The name of its author
  3. The type of publication, e.g., webpage, journal, book, etc.
  4. Date of the publication
  5. Publisher and place of publication
  6. Other details that can point readers to locate the source of information cited in your dissertation quickly.

Why do I reference?

Plagiarism is a grade one offense in the academic world, but a proper referencing saves you from plagiarism related accusations.
Plagiarism can be unintentional. However, when you fail to provide a reference to the source that might have influenced your thoughts, you would have opened yourself up to plagiarism related accusations.
Other reasons why you need to reference your dissertation include;

  1. It’s a standard academic courtesy to make it easy for anyone to engage with your work. Referencing makes it easy to follow data, methodology, and trace the influence on your thoughts.
  2. Citing other academics gives credibility to your work. It shows you are well-read in the field and build confidence in your readers.

What reference system should you use?

Different reference systems are acceptable, depending on your academic field. If you’re lucky enough, your university could let you choose between footnotes and parenthetical referencing.
If you are allowed to choose, ask the following questions after reading the “usage” section of the referencing types.

  1. How many sources will I cite?
  2. Do I want to engage closely with the sources, or you wish to cite briefly?
  3. Will I use paraphrase or direct quotation?

These questions can help you decide the referencing style to use.

How do you reference your dissertation effectively?

If you want a consistent and effective dissertation referencing, two things are of great importance;

  1. Be systematic

    You’ll probably have tens, if not hundreds, of references. If you want to finish writing the paper before citing your recommendations, you’ll probably find it difficult to do or unable to do it at all.

    Therefore, you have to be systematic about how you track and organize your work. Cite your references as you write for easy retrieval and use in the bibliography.

  2. Use Software

    There are several ways to be systematic about referencing. You can decide to take notes or keep a spreadsheet as you research. However, the best way to store, retrieve, and, most importantly, cite references is with the help of referencing software like Refworks, Endnotes, etc.

    This software is a time saver as it lets you easily catalog, retrieve, and annotate sources. They generate a citation and develop a bibliography on your behalf.

Accurate referencing is a big deal in academic writing. It goes a long way to determine the credibility of your dissertation. You must, therefore, pay attention to the efficiency of your thesis referencing. It gives academic writing the proper finish.

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