How to write references in a thesis

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One of the most important issues in creating a successful dissertation is knowing properly, how to write references in a thesis, indicating your sources in the most transparent manner. Knowing, how to write references in your thesis is essential in academic writing as they help to provide transparency and credibility to your work, demonstrate the resources you have used, and give credit to the original authors. However, referencing can be a complicated process, especially for those who are new to academic writing. 

In this article, we will explore the essential guidelines to show you how to write references in a thesis, and provide tips and tricks to make the process easier and more efficient. Continue reading, because this post will provide you with all the necessary knowledge and brilliant tips on how to reference accurately and effectively in your thesis.

Start: How to Write References in a Thesis and Cite your Sources correctly


Citing references in a thesis is an essential aspect of academic writing and the main way of acknowledging the literature you used to ground your research and giving credit to the authors whose ideas you borrowed. The proper quotation also helps to avoid plagiarism, which can have severe consequences in academic settings.

When it comes to the question of how to write references in a thesis, there are several citation styles to choose from, including APA, MLA, Chicago, and Harvard, among others. Each style has its own set of rules and guidelines for citing sources. Before starting, it is essential to choose the appropriate style for your thesis and stick to its system.

The following paragraphs contain key tips that you should consider when writing and working with quotes and references: 

  • Style: The citation style you choose will determine how you format your reference list or bibliography. In most styles, references are listed alphabetically by the author’s last name, and specific formatting rules apply to different types of sources, such as books, journal articles, websites, and others. 
  • Format: To cite a reference in your thesis, make sure to provide all relevant details to keep it free from plagiarism. The author’s name, the title of the work, the publication date, the publisher’s name, and the location of the publication, among other details, depend on the citation style you are using.
  • Consistency: One of the most important things to remember when citing references in a thesis is to be consequent and consistent. Ensure that you use the same citation style throughout your thesis and maintain consistency in formatting and referencing.

Wrapping it up, citing references in a thesis is an essential aspect of academic writing that requires attention to detail and adherence to specific citation rules and guidelines. By properly citing your sources, you demonstrate academic integrity and acknowledgement where it is due.

Step by Step: Learn properly How to Write References in a Thesis

To ensure that you are working properly with sources and references in your thesis, this section provides guidelines that you can follow up for writing references properly in a thesis:

  1. Choose the appropriate referencing style, according to your universities guidelines: There are several referencing styles such as APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. Ensure that the referencing style used conforms to the guidelines specified by the institution or the supervisor.
  2. Include all relevant information: For each source used in the thesis, include the author’s name, publication date, title of the work, and the name of the publisher/journal. For online sources, include the URL or DOI.
  3. Order the references alphabetically: Arrange the references in alphabetical order according to the author’s last name. If there are multiple sources from the same author, arrange them by the publication date, starting with the earliest.
  4. Work with in-text citations: They are used to refer to the source within the body of the thesis. The citation should include the author’s last name and the publication date, and the page number if applicable.
  5. Be consistent: Ensure that the same referencing style is used throughout the thesis, and the same format is followed for all references.
  6. Double-check for accuracy: Check all the references twice to ensure accuracy, including the spelling of the author’s name, publication date, and other details.

 Following these guidelines will help to ensure that the references are accurate and easily accessible to the readers.

Creating a Bibliography for your Dissertation


References play a crucial role in any academic writing, as they support and back up  arguments and ideas, showing that the writer conducted thorough research and consulted reputable sources. In addition to in-text references which follow on your universities required citation style, a thesis and must be contain a separate section at the end of the manuscript. In most cases, this section is titled “References,” “Bibliography,” or “Works Cited.”

When writing references in a thesis, it is crucial to follow the citation style recommended by your academic institution or supervisor. Caution: Each citation style has its unique guidelines for formatting in-text citations and reference lists (differing from each other).

The reference list should include all the sources cited in your document, arranged alphabetically by the author’s surname. Each reference entry needs to be transparent, containing essential details such as the author’s name, publication date, title of the source, publisher, and page numbers. For online sources, you also should look out for the URL or DOI (and date of your latest access).

How to write references in thesis

It is important to note that accurate and complete references in your thesis not only demonstrates your credibility as a scholar but also helps to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense that can result in severe penalties, including the revocation of your degree.

In conclusion, references are an integral part of a thesis and must be included in a separate section at the end of the thesis. It is crucial to follow the citation style recommended by your academic institution or supervisor and ensure that all sources cited in your document are accurately and completely referenced.

Why should you try a Thesis Citation Generator?


A thesis citation generator is a tool that helps students create accurate and consistent citations for their thesis. It is a software program that automatically generates citations in various formats, such as APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago. This tool, which is provided by various programs, e.g. Grammarly´s free version, simplifies the referencing process by automatically generating accurate and consistent citations. All you have to do is enter the necessary information about the source, and the citation generator will do the rest.

Using a thesis citation generator has several benefits. 

  • First, it saves time and effort, as students do not have to manually create citations for each source. 
  • Second, it ensures accuracy and consistency, as the citation generator follows the rules of the chosen citation style. 
  • Third, it helps students avoid plagiarism by providing them with proper citations for their sources.

Overall, a thesis citation generator is a helpful tool for any student writing a thesis. It simplifies the process of creating accurate and consistent citations and helps students avoid plagiarism.

Write References in a Thesis and Arrange your Sources perfectly


As a student, writing a thesis can be challenging, especially when it comes to arranging the references. References are an essential part of your thesis, and it is crucial to arrange them in a proper format. Here are some tips on how to arrange references in your thesis:

  1. Choose a referencing style, following on your faculties requirements: There are different referencing styles, such as APA, MLA, and Harvard. Each style has its own rules for arranging references. Choose a referencing style that is appropriate for your field of study.
  2. Make it a way easier by using a reference manager tool: A reference manager tool can help you manage your references and arrange them in the correct format. Some popular reference manager tools include Mendeley, Zotero, and EndNote.
  3. Order the references alphabetically: Arrange the references in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If there are multiple authors, list them in the order they appear on the publication.
  4. Include all necessary information: Make sure that you include all necessary information about the reference, such as the title of the article, the name of the journal or book, the volume and issue number, and the page numbers.
  5. Use proper punctuation: Follow the punctuation rules for the referencing style you have chosen. For example, in APA style, use a comma to separate the author’s name and the publication year, and use parentheses to enclose the publication year. Make sure that you have included all the necessary information and that they are formatting correctly.

In summary, arranging references in a thesis can be daunting, but it is essential for academic integrity. After choosing a referencing style,  make sure to include all necessary information, use proper punctuation, and check for accuracy. By following these tips, you can ensure that your references are properly arranged and correctly formatted, and guarantee to present a well-researched and credible thesis that will be convince your supervisors, academic readers and audience at the Thesis Defense, and make an important contribution to the academic community.

About the author:

Dr. Friederike Jurth
Dr. Friederike Jurth

Possibly you already heard of me through different media channels. My name is Dr. Friederike Jurth, and since 2010 I give lectures on Methodology, Empirical Research, Anthropology, and Transcultural (Music) Studies in collaboration with universities in the United States, Germany, Spain, and Brazil. In 2010 I started to carry out 7-year-long fieldwork in Rio de Janeiro and to present my research at conferences all around the world, such as in Japan, the United States, Australia, Brazil, Thailand, Switzerland, and many others. In addition, I worked as a lecturer and researcher with Germany’s famous UNESCO Chair.

After finalizing my doctoral dissertation with summa cum laude, it became my aim to unite, condense and share the steps, ways and details of my unique methodological and structural approach that I could develop and elaborate during my Ph.D. and that finally helped me to achieve this result. By concentrating and putting them together to an elaborated academic conception, MyThesis Academy was born. Motivated by the only aim and objective to help my students through all steps and stages of their thesis journey, it enables them to achieve their best possible result in shortest time, independent of their specific area of research.

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