I don't mean to be the citation police but...

Jan 30 2012 Published by under Publishing

After reading your thesis, you have been very stingy with the citations.  How are you going to throw out percentages and values without a citation likes it some type of common knowledge.  If this were a manuscript they would bounce it back to you in under an hour because they can't verify your claims because there are no references.  So a question I pose dear reader is do we hold a thesis to the same level of scrutiny as a manuscript with respect to proper citations?  Or should it be held higher or lower?

Oh and don't just cite reviewers, how about you give credit to the poor fuckers that actually did the work and not to someone who just writes up a "state of the field" review every few years.

10 responses so far

  • gerty-z says:

    hell yeah there should be proper citations in a dissertation. WTF. the point is to be "scholarly".

  • Bashir says:

    A thesis should be of "publishable quality". So an issue like that would definitely be dinged.

  • DrugMonkey says:

    The dissertation should be even *more* heavily cited than a research article. On the level of a comprehensive review.

  • Alyssa says:

    Absolutely should be citing papers as much or more so than a paper for publication. Isn't part of the point to show how knowledgeable you are about the literature? If that part of the thesis isn't comprehensive, I shudder to think what the rest of it looks like.

  • chall says:

    I can only tell what the standards was for my thesis, and that I thought they were sound and fair. Everything (especially the "since this % of thing are this") needed a reference and reviews were not accepted at all. As in, the reviews were accepted if you stated "as in the review summerizing this field in 1994" but then again, you needed to have found the other papers making the original find.

    I do remember at my defense, since I had cited Lancefield 1933 - Rebecca, a very key bacteriologist for Streptococci research, "have you really read that one" - saying, yes, I have the copy in my room... but since lots of data and "knowledge" stemmed from that one it was the paper to have.

    As for in general, I'd say that a thesis need to be more extensive in references than a research paper. Partly since you'd probably have more "background", thus needing more reference papers to back your claims.

    That's my elitistical view though..... ^^

  • andre says:

    Regarding what DrugMonkey and Dan Gaston said above, there are plenty of cases (in my field anyway) of over-citation. An author might cram in every paper he can find that uses a certain technique that he or she uses, just as a way of saying "look at all the reading (or database searching) I did". Many times if you dig through the citations, they don't contain any truly relavent information. In these cases I think a review article and one or two primary sources is more appropriate.

  • drugmonkey says:

    Does it really need saying that "citing" is not just listing everything that pops up on a keyword search?

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