A dissertation is a comprehensive paper you will write as a doctoral student. Just like a master’s level thesis, it entails extensive research that requires you to cite external resources. The paper allows you to communicate and demonstrate your mastery of the field. It also indicates your ability to conduct primary research and present your findings precisely and coherently.
You should know that, unlike other academic papers, your dissertation would be published to allow others to use your research in their studies. For instance, your research findings would lay the foundation for future research. For this reason, you should accurately cite a dissertation to enhance its credibility and reliability.
At a personal level, completing a dissertation will allow the development of unique and essential skills that include critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills. Based on its importance, you should master the different ways to cite a dissertation to contribute to future research.
Factors to Consider When Citing a Dissertation
Before citing a dissertation, there are significant considerations that you consider. Examples of these factors are outlined below:
- The required format: There are different ways you could acknowledge the work of others. You should always ensure you use the format proposed in the style guide. The styling includes APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago Turabian.
- Currency and relevance: Ensure that the sources of evidence are current and relevant to the topic of your dissertation. It helps you ensure your evidence is not outdated and is relevant to the targeted audience.
- Evaluate the authority of the author: You should ascertain that the author of the source is knowledgeable of the subject and field. Some of the ways you could determine whether the author is an expert in the field are to check their profile to determine their education level, experience in the field, and the organizations they have worked in. You could also check the source of funding for the research.
- Ensure the resource is accurate: Before you incorporate a resource in your work, ensure that the information provided is accurate. For instance, claims made in the article should be backed up by reliable and credible citations. The evidence shouldn’t be an emotional piece of writing or individual opinions.
- Determine the purpose your source of evidence was written: You should consider the purpose of the piece of writing. It will help you to determine whether the authors were biased, or how their point of view could be biased affecting the overall credibility of your citation.
- Ensure your source is accessible: You should also ensure that readers can easily access the evidence you use to support your claims. If you use online sources, it would be appropriate to include the URL or the unique Digital Object Identifier (DOI). Including the information would help readers assess and evaluate the quality and credibility of your sources.
How to cite a dissertation the different ways you could cite your dissertation
As mentioned earlier, there are different formatting styles that you could choose from when citing dissertations. This section will provide you with important insights to help you understand how to cite a dissertation. As you may already know, your evidence may be in different forms that include books, journal articles, articles in periodicals, and websites. Each of the discussed below provides the guidelines for citing each of the sources.
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American Psychological Association (APA) formatting style
One of the most popular approaches for you would be to cite a dissertation in APA, especially in social sciences. The formatting style is routinely reviewed and the current edition is APA 7. You should familiarize yourself with the formatting by researching numerous guides before adopting it in citing a dissertation.
While the referencing of the different forms of citation may be different, the in-text citations share some similarities. For instance, the style requires you to include the author’s name and date in parentheses (Author, Date) for borrowed ideas for all types of sources. You should online for an APA manual to understand all its aspects.
Modern Language Association (MLA)
MLA is another method that you could use in completing your dissertation. One of the benefits of using MLA is that it makes it easy for readers to access the source for ease. The style requires a researcher to include the author’s name and page number in the in-text citations. MLA doesn’t require you to have a separate title page. The style is more appropriate for students pursuing humanities courses such as cultural studies and comparative literature. Before you cite a dissertation in MLA, you should study the manual to understand all aspects of the style. The style has been revised and the current edition is MLA 9.
Harvard Formatting Style
It is another popular formatting style that students across different levels utilize in citations. One of the key features of the style is that it doesn’t have a single definite referencing style like the rest. Therefore, it is possible to notice variations from one paper to the next. Harvard style is an author-date style, therefore you should include the author’s name and date in the in-text citations.
Citing a Dissertation: How to Avoid Common Mistakes
Referencing and citation mistakes have serious consequences that could adversely impact your education, including plagiarism. Here are tips to avoid mistakes in dissertation citing:
- Be conversant with the formatting style: ensure you understand all the requirements of the formatting style you adopt. Research manuals, which are freely available online, for guidance.
- Seek assistance: Another effective way to avoid citations and referencing mistakes is by seeking help. You could engage a professional writer to help you understand the formatting style. Alternatively, you could use a citation and reference generator. However, you should ensure it is accurate and that the result aligns with the current manual.
- Ensure the sources are credible: Don’t forget to follow the steps discussed earlier to ensure that your sources are credible.
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