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Lesson 17: References

In this first part of our class, we’ll discuss how to write the references part of your thesis.


  • To determine which references you should include.
  • To determine why this is important to your thesis.

Your references page is one of the most important parts of your thesis paper. This list showcases the different sources which you used for your paper—without this, your panelists won’t be able to double-check your paper and your thesis won’t be considered credible. Furthermore, without this you won’t be giving proper credit to your sources (whether cited in-text or not) and will result in plagiarism charges.

Reference Page Sample ( Click the image to enlarge)

While this page differs in title and arrangements depending on which kind of system your school and field of study employs (some schools use MLA, others use APA and others have their own specific format followed campus-wide), there are a couple of general rules which hold true across all specific formats. For instance, in all formats you should include all of the sources for all thoughts, ideas and findings which were not your own. Most thesis studies require more than 10 different reliable sources for the paper to be considered credible. In all instances, staples which you should know about your sources are their authors, their titles, their publication date and what kind of publication the text came from (book, journal, website, etc.).

[WpProQuiz 183]

One of the conventions which are used for writing the references section is that the sources are arranged alphabetically by author—both within the citation and outside it.

For example:

Devon, Q. (1993) Carbohydrates and Sugars. Glucose, pp. 45-85.

Eggers, D. and Libra, K. (1997) Aromatic Compounds. Phenyl, p.199.

In the example above, you can see that the entry for Devon comes before Eggers and that within the second citation, Eggers still comes before Libra. When there are more than three authors for one source, we use the phrase et al. after the first author and refrain from using the other authors both in the in-text citation and the references page. In most cases, the first names of the authors are denoted by the first name and a period (as done above).

If the authors’ names aren’t mentioned (as with some government files or cases), cite the specific department or bureau instead. Do not leave this out of your sources.

For example:

National Treasury. (2005) Yearly Income Tax Report. Case 178928, pp.2-7.

Your book and journal sources should always outnumber your online sources. When citing online sources, you need to include the complete URL and the date when you accessed the website.

If the source is for example, the PDF version of a journal (scanned, etc.) then it counts as a journal entry and not an online source. When using journal entries, you also need to know the Volume and Issue number, usually located on the lower-right hand corner of the journal.

[WpProQuiz 184]

In this lesson, we were able to discuss why it’s important that your list of references is complete. We were also able to discuss the different conventions applied to references. In addition to this, we were also able to list down the types of information that we need to know to be able to write a proper references page.

Next we’ll be talking about the appendices. We’ll be discussing what needs to be included in this part of the thesis and why it’s important to include in your thesis.



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