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Creating a Works Cited Page Of a Phd Thesis Paper


The typical dissertation or PhD thesis has a references section that is at least ten pages long. That’s hundreds of cited works at the very least! This makes sense, considering that most PhD dissertations or theses contain thick Introduction sections that are absolutely loaded with references to pre-existing research.

Of course, meeting this high standard of citation can be tricky and incredibly tedious. Putting together a properly formatted works cited page is time consuming, and most graduate students make some errors. Fortunately, there are a number of useful tips and handy software programs that can make the process a bit less stressful. Here they are.

Use Citation Tracking Software

It can be difficult to keep track of every paper that you reference in your dissertation. It’s even harder to go back to this list of papers and construct a meticulous and alphabetized reference page from it. Many students still type their works cited pages by hand, and make all kinds of errors of omissions and formatting mistakes as a result.

Thankfully, this can be avoided entirely if you use a citation creation program from the outset. Before you begin writing your dissertation, download a program such as Zotero to your desktop, and install the plug in to your web browser of choice. This program can log every single reference you access and use, and then later can create an alphabetized and properly formatted reference section on demand. All you have to do is hit Zotero’s icon in the corner of your web browser or pdf reader when you are accessing a work you intend to cite. Make sure you do so for every single reference you use! At the end of your project, open the desktop program and request a bibliography.

Keep Meticulous Notes

If you have already started your dissertation and your reference page, you may have to rely on a more analogue solution. Print out your reference page and your paper, and starting from the beginning, scan for every single work you cite in parentheses. Write the full citation down on a spare piece of paper, in alphabetical order. Make sure not to double list a citation, or you may end up with a reference section that has redundant entries. Use a highlighter to indicate the references you do not have all the necessary background information on.

After you have composed a list of every citation in your paper (this could take some time), scan the list and remove all repeats. Then look up all the missing citation information that you have highlighted. Type these results up in your text editor and you’re done!

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