Thesis and Article Writing: Format & Styles of Referencing

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  Thesis and Article writing: The thesis is a treatise that represents the fulfillment of the scholarly aspiration of the student. A good thesis should be clear and unambiguous and have a logical structure that should assist the reader’s understanding of the argument being presented and not obscure it. In order to achieve this objective, the layout and physical appearance of the thesis should conform to a set pattern.

Note: The following format of thesis writing is the general standard and accepted format. But, universities and institutions have their own prescribed formats with this core structure of thesis writing. Please consider the specific format suggested by your institutions, organisations, and universities.

Thesis and Article Writing

The generally accepted format of thesis or report writing tend to be produced in the following way:

Research design “deals with a logical problem and not a logistical problem.”

Title Page

  • Title of the Research Project,
  • Name of the researcher,
  • Purpose of the research project, e.g., “A research project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of National Council for Hotel Management and Catering Technology, New Delhi for the degree of PhD in Hospitality and Hotel Administration”
  • Date of Publication

Table of Contents

This section consists of the contents of the report, either in chapters or in subheadings.

List of Tables

This section includes title and page number of all tables

List of Figures

This section contains the title and page number of all graphs, pie charts, etc.


Here, the researcher may acknowledge Institute Principal, Faculty Guide, both research guide and technical guide, research participants, friends etc.


This section introduces the research setting out aims and objectives. It includes a rationale for the research.

Theoretical Framework and Review of Literature

This section is included all your background research, which may be obtained from the literature review. You must indicate where all the information has come, so remember to keep a complete record of everything you read. If you do not do this, you could be accused of plagiarism which is a form of intellectual theft. When you are referring to a particular book or journal article, use the Harvard system.

Research design

This section includes all practical details followed for research. After reading this, any interested party should be able to replicate the research study. The methods used for data collection, how many people took part, how they were chosen, what tool was used for data collection, how the data was analysed etc.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

If you have conducted a large quantitative survey, this section may contain tables, graphs, pie charts, and associated statistics. If you have conducted a qualitative piece of research, this section may be descriptive prose.

Summary and Conclusion

In this section, you sum up your findings and draw conclusions from them, perhaps in relation to other research or literature.


If you have conducted a piece of research for a hotel or any other client organization, this section could be the most important part of the report. A list of clear recommendations that have been developed from the research is included. Sometimes, this section is included at the beginning of the report.

Suggestion for Further Research

It is useful in both academic reports and work-related reports to include a section that shows how the research can be continued. Perhaps some results are inconclusive, or perhaps the research has thrown up many more research questions that need to be addressed. It is useful to include this section because it shows that you are aware of the wider picture and that you are not trying to cover up something which you feel may be lacking in your own work.

List of References /Bibliography

  • List of references contains details only of those works cited in the text.
  • A bibliography includes sources not cited in the text, but which are relevant to the subject. (larger dissertations or thesis)
  • Small research projects will need only a reference section. It includes all the literature to which you have referred in your report.


List of publications: List of publications obtained by the student from the PhD work should be included in the Thesis. Students are strongly encouraged to place the accepted versions of the manuscripts (maximum two), which were an integral part of thesis work.

Curriculum vitae (optional): Provide one-page giving academic qualifications, academic achievements and list of publications.

Appendices (optional): Appendices may include the formulas, diagrams, protocols, or any similar data that are not contained in the body of the thesis. The number can be given as A-1, A-2 and listed as such in the table of contents.


Citations or in-text citations are similar to references but occur in the body of the text with direct quotes and paraphrases to identify the author/publication for the material you have used. Citations are used:

  • to show which reference supports a particular statement
  • for direct quotes – when you repeat a passage from a text (or speech, video, etc.) in your assignment without changing any words
  • when you paraphrase – this is when you use your own words to restate the meaning of a text in your assignment.

One of the most important things to remember is that every citation should also have a corresponding entry in your reference list.

A reference list is a list of the resources that you used when writing your assignment or doing your research.

These resources may include:

  • books, including electronic books, journals (online and paper-based)
  • online sources including websites, blogs, and forums
  • speeches
  • conference papers, proceedings, and theses
  • other sources of information such as film, television, video, etc.

Reference lists come at the end of an assignment and are arranged in alphabetical order, usually by author or editor. If there is not an author or an editor, the title is used.

Comparison Between Citation and Reference

Meaning Citation is a way of disclosing within the main body, that the quote, image, chart, statistics, etc. are taken from an outside source. Reference is a list that contains all the sources which have been sought or cited while writing the article or assignment.
Use It informs the readers, the basic source of information. It informs the reader, the complete source of information.
Purpose To indicate the source of the material taken. To support or criticize an argument or point.
Placement Presented in the bracket. Presented as endnote or end of the document.
Information It contains information like publication year and last name of the author. It contains information like publication date, title of book/journal, author’s name, page number.


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