Completing The Bibliography Section Of A PhD Dissertation Proposal


A bibliography is a list of all the works that have been cited in your dissertation proposal. It must appear at the end section of your proposal. Depending on instructions from your supervisor, you may be required to write both the reference list and bibliography. Their differences are minimal, but they are clear. Writing a bibliography requires you to pay attention to the following.

  • Keep Track of All Books and Materials
  • Every material referenced in your proposal must be included in the bibliography list. Because of their numbers, this can only be done when you track all the papers, articles, journals, documentaries, online entries, books and materials cited in your work. In some cases, the books will be cited on multiple occasions. The entry should only appear once in the bibliography since the citation will differentiate the pages.

  • Adhere to Formatting Rules
  • The appearance of the bibliography depends on the formatting style used. The formatting style dictates the order in which information about the cited materials appears on the list. The format will therefore determine the order in which cited materials will appear on your bibliography. Failure to adhere to the formatting rules will mean that you have not met the requirements given by your supervisor. It leads to confusion since a reader will find it difficult to identify cited materials or may refer to the wrong book based on the format you have used.

  • Be Consistent
  • The formatting style and details provided in the citations must correspond to what is in your dissertation proposal bibliography. For instance, the names used in the citation, the years of publication, publisher, etc must be uniform. Where names correspond, each formatting style provides a way to differentiate them. Pay attention to these provisions to avoid confusion. The format used on the first reference material on your list must also remain consistent to the end. Articles or books with similar titles or initials should also be distinguished. Even paraphrased materials should be cited and included in your bibliography.

Finding Bibliography Information

The information to be entered in the dissertation proposal bibliography is located on different sections of the reference materials. It takes diligence to get this information. Some of the areas to get these materials include title pages of dictionaries, books or encyclopedia, headings of articles, editorial, second or front pages of news papers, content pages on journals and magazines, headers, ‘contact’, ‘about us’ and footers of websites. Know the information to include for consistency purposes.