Dissertation Citing Rules: Useful Tips For Students


Citing dissertations can be tricky, so you need to do some research in order to avoid making any mistakes. It would be really sad to lose points because of something so simple. Be sure to discuss the matter with your advisor in order to check whether you understand the rules correctly.

In order to determine how exactly you should cite a dissertation, you will need to find answers to the following questions:

  1. Is the dissertation published?
  2. What citation format do I have to use?

Determine Whether the Paper Is Published

The vast majority of dissertations are indeed published, but not all of them. This little detail is essential for citing, so be sure to find out. If it is published, it should be uploaded to ProQuest database. A simple search through this website should give you the information you need.

If the paper isn’t actually published, its record will only include an abstract. In case you cannot find the work no matter how hard you look, but you are sure that it’s from a school in the U.S., contact a reference librarian and ask for help. This service is available through the website.

Dissertations from other countries can be found through similar online services. You can search for them online or ask your advisor for help.

Determine the Citing Requirements Set by the Format

The exact type of citations will be determined by the academic writing style you use. The most common of them are:

  • MLA
  • APA
  • Turabian

Study the style manual carefully in order to learn how to word you references correctly. This shouldn’t be difficult, but the task is extremely boring, so you can miss some important detail when your attention begins to slip. Double-check everything when you move to the editing stage in order to make sure that your reference list is indeed perfect.

The most important thing you have to consider when citing dissertations is publications number. Every published work must have it and it’s imperative that you include in in the reference. Usually, the numbers start with “AAT”. You will need to put it in the end of the citation.

Remember that formatting requirements vary from school to school. You should discuss these details with your advisor as well as study several papers written by graduates of your university. Take careful notes as it will be quite bothersome to look through the style manual every time you need to clarify something.

The easiest way to ensure that you don’t make any mistakes in references is to write the name of every source you use for research in the correct format immediately after you open it.