Dissertation Formatting Tips: Citing Digital Sources
March 12, 2015
Dissertation formatting can be challenging enough as it is – there are so many meticulous details to pay attention to, and it’s crucial to adhere to the formatting and citation style prescribed by your institution or department. Doing the job correctly can also take an extensive amount of time. It makes sense that many dissertation writers turn to skilled experts in APA Style, Chicago/Turabian Style, MLA Style, or Harvard Bluebook Style to help with their dissertation formatting.
Dissertation Formatting Rules for the Digital Age
To add to your dissertation formatting stress, citation guidelines are constantly changing and adapting to accommodate new kinds of media and sources. When I first learned citation styles as an undergraduate, we didn’t need to learn how to cite things like blog posts, Tweets, or Youtube videos. Platforms like Youtube and Twitter didn’t exist yet, and blogs weren’t common enough to merit consideration. Now, though, I often turn to these kinds of digital media as primary sources. For many of us, knowing how to cite this kind of material accurately is a crucial dissertation formatting skill.
Update Your Style Guide
To ensure that you are accurately citing digital sources, make sure to consult the most recent edition of your style guide. If you’re still using a dusty, ten-year-old copy of the Chicago/Turabian, MLA, or APA manual, it’s time to toss it away and replace it with the newest edition. With each edition, new rules get added. For instance, the 6th edition of the APA Publication manual has new citation guidelines for new kinds of media and sources, including internet message boards, Tweets, wikis, and other social media sites. You won’t find these instructions if you’re still using the 5th edition. To ensuring that your citations and dissertation formatting are accurate, use the most updated version of your style manual. If in doubt, our dissertation formatting experts can make sure your citations are up to date.
Use Any Info You Can Find
Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain who authored an online source. Blogs, Tweets, Wiki posts, and videos are often posted by people who use pseudonyms or screen names. If the author’s real name is unavailable, you can use the pseudonym instead. Sometimes internet sources may be undated. While, ideally, your citation should include the date of publication, you don’t have to include it if it’s simply not available. When you’re citing your online sources, simply include as much as you can of the information your style manual calls for, and don’t stress if you have to leave something out.
Keep Track of Date of Access
Some citation styles (including Chicago/Turabian and MLA) will ask you to provide a date of access. The date of access is the date on which you visited the online source in question. Since web-based content is frequently updated, this date informs your reader that the information you are citing was present on that website on the date that you visited it, regardless of what may be there now. You may want to keep a list or spreadsheet of your online sources and the dates that you accessed them, which you can then refer to when you are doing your citations and dissertation formatting.
Build on the Basic Citation Format and Don’t Panic!
What to do if you’ve found an online source format that isn’t represented in your style guide? Don’t panic! Just go back to the basic citation format for a website, and fill in whatever information you can.
Citations and dissertation formatting can be the stressful ending to an already stress-ridden writing process. But we offer dissertation services that can help. If citations have got you down, our dissertation formatting experts can do the work for you. We have experts in APA, Chicago/Turabian/Turabian, MLA, Harvard Bluebook, and all other major dissertation formatting and citation styles. Our dissertation editors can work with you to make sure that all of your citations are in order, and that your dissertation will pass.