Students sometimes realise at the last minute that they’ve forgotten to do an important part of their dissertation such as the abstract or bibliography, so it pays to keep checking as you go along. And your final check is just as important. When you’re near to your submission date, check that you’ve got any last-minute issues sorted.
A Bibliography is a list of the books (or other sources of information) that you consulted when writing an essay, report, thesis or dissertation.
Producing an accurate record of all the references you’ve cited in your dissertation may not be your idea of a grand day out. Putting together your ‘Bibliography’ or ‘List of References’ can be long-winded, repetitive and fiddly. But the end result can be a wonderful way of gaining you easy marks.
Department of Education, this database provides extensive coverage of journal articles, conferences, meetings, government documents, theses, dissertations, reports, audiovisual media, bibliographies, directories, books and monographs.
Consistency: decide for a style system early on and stick to it
When you first start building up your bibliography for a PhD dissertation, you may feel very far away from the final writing-up stages before submission. In this last phase you will be overwhelmed with the task of polishing and concluding an extensive piece of writing, a text longer than anything you are likely to have produced before. You will do yourself a great favour if you decide on a particular reference style when you start setting up your bibliography and carry it through whilst updating this list throughout the whole period of your research. This is one huge task taken off your shoulders when you come to the last stretches of finishing off. Many British universities adopt the same system for Arts research, the MHRA system (to view our pages on the ), but whatever you opt for, you must be consistent. If for example the system that your university requires prescribes a comma after the name of the author, you cannot just alternate the comma with a semicolon. When starting your research, inform yourself whether your university requires a particular reference system, so that you won't waste any time on standardizing your bibliographical entries at the end of your research.
Avoid trying to read everything
When following up on all the different publications you have collated in your general work-in-progress bibliography, you may easily be tempted by the desire to read everything, however marginal. Such an attitude is not only extremely dangerous, since you are expected to complete your research in three years, but also unprofessional. Part of becoming an academic is to learn how to work towards deadlines and produce research within given limitations of time. No one can have proper firsthand knowledge of every single essay that has been written in a particular discipline. Academic research is about specialization and not about general knowledge, so keep weighing up what is really relevant to your dissertation. If however you are working in an area where not much has been written, eg you are dealing with a living writer or some very obscure works of earlier periods then you will be expected to have read everything on your subject.