Undergraduate Dissertation Examples

Undergraduate Dissertation Examples

Title: Working with Undergraduate Dissertation Examples. An undergraduate dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in accordance of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification at university. The term dissertation is used in the UK to refer to a final year undergraduate project. In essence, an undergraduate dissertation presents research conducted by an author which is ultimately reviewed and graded by academic staff.

This article written on undergraduate dissertation examples provides support and guidance for personal study and to help you through the undergraduate dissertation process. It highlights some of the common questions, concerns and practical issues that undergraduate students come across when completing their dissertation or final year project. So, we aim to provide a useful overview on how best to use undergraduate dissertation examples during your academic studies.

The content provided on our website was written by students, academic and support staff who have a particular interest and experience in writing undergraduate dissertations in various fields of study. Our site has not been produced with the aim of providing a set of definitive answers for your own chosen topic of study. Instead, we offer a collection of pre-written undergraduate dissertation examples. We do not write undergraduate dissertations for students, we leave that to students themselves.

Undergraduate Dissertation Examples
Undergraduate Dissertation Examples

How to best use Undergraduate Dissertation Examples

You can make best use of pre-written undergraduate dissertation examples in various ways and at various stages of the dissertation process. For example, before you start the dissertation, you can use existing undergraduate dissertation examples to:

  • Explore what the demands and challenges of a dissertation are.
  • Raise questions that you can ask your academic supervisor about.
  • Help you think through what theme you could pursue in your dissertation.
  • Help you prepare a research question.

If you have already started your own dissertation, you can undergraduate dissertation examples to:

  • Clarify issues about specific chapters of the dissertation.
  • Focus on key aspects of the dissertation such as timelines, structure, ethical issues and marking criteria.
  • Organise the different stages of the dissertation. Remember, by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.

Undergraduate Dissertation Examples

Our website has a wide selection of undergraduate dissertation examples written on a variety of subject areas. These subjects are:

  • Business Management
  • Business Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Marketing Communications
  • Branding and Advertising
  • Economic Theory
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Business Law
  • Building Studies
  • Quantity Surveying
  • Construction Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Nursing and Midwifery
  • Health Studies
  • Communication Studies
  • Media Studies

Benefits of using Undergraduate Dissertation Examples

It is safe to say that well written undergraduate dissertation examples have important factors that should be looked at in order to help you write your own research dissertation. These include the ability to be read and understood the research question you have in hand. Demonstrate the ability to capture the necessary facts so that you can successfully underpin and substantiate your research dissertation. Your research needs to be based on facts and not conjecture. You need to demonstrate the ability to follow the agreed format for writing a dissertation at your institution, it is important that you follow the guidelines outlined by your university. Students often gain a low mark in their dissertation as they used a bespoke format and structure. Most of all, you need the ability to communicate a certain message to whoever will reading your dissertation research, the dissertation must not deviate away from the research question or become uninteresting for the reader.

It is worthwhile noting that your dissertation should satisfy the rules of formal grammar because it is purely for academic purposes and will be treated as such. This is where pre-written undergraduate dissertation examples prove to be very useful indeed.

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Research Methods

Research Methods and the Meaning of Research

Title: Research Methods – Research in common parlance refers to a search for knowledge. One can also define research as a scientific and systematic search for pertinent information on a specific topic. In fact, research is an art of scientific investigation. The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English lays down the meaning of research as “a careful investigation or inquiry especially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge. Redman and Mory define research as a systematized effort to new knowledge. Some people consider research as a movement, a movement from the known to the unknown.

It is actually a voyage of discovery. We all possess the vital instinct of inquisitiveness for, when the unknown confronts us, we wonder and our inquisitiveness makes us probe and attain full and fuller understanding of the unknown. This inquisitiveness is the mother of all knowledge and the method, which man employs for obtaining the knowledge of whatever the unknown, can be named as research.

Research is an academic activity and as such the term should be used in a technical sense. According to Clifford Woody research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis. D. Slesinger and M. Stephenson in the Encyclopaedia of Social Sciences define research as “the manipulation of things, concepts or symbols for the purpose of generalizing to correct or verify knowledge, whether that knowledge aids in construction of theory or in the practice of an art”. Research is, thus, an original contribution to the existing stock of knowledge making for its advancement.

Research Methodology

Research methodology is a way to systematically solve the research problem. It may be understood as a science of studying how research is done scientifically. In it we study the various steps that are generally adopted by a researcher in studying his research problem along with the logic behind them. It is necessary for the researcher to know not only the research methods/techniques but also the methodology. Researchers not only need to know how to develop certain indices or tests, how to calculate the mean, the mode, the median or the standard deviation or chi-square, how to apply particular research techniques, but they also need to know which of these methods or techniques, are relevant and which are not, and what would they mean and indicate and why. Researchers also need to understand the assumptions underlying various techniques and they need to know the criteria by which they can decide that certain techniques and procedures will be applicable to certain problems and others will not. All this means that it is necessary for the researcher to design his methodology for his problem as the same may differ from problem to problem. For example, an architect, who designs a building, has to consciously evaluate the basis of his decisions, i.e., he has to evaluate why and on what basis he selects particular size, number and location of doors, windows and ventilators, uses particular materials and not others and the like. Similarly, in research the scientist has to expose the research decisions to evaluation before they are implemented. He has to specify very clearly and precisely what decisions he selects and why he selects them so that they can be evaluated by others also.

From what has been stated above, we can say that research methodology has many dimensions and research methods do constitute a part of the research methodology. The scope of research methodology is wider than that of research methods. Thus, when we talk of research methodology we not only talk of the research methods but also consider the logic behind the methods we use in the context of our research study and explain why we are using a particular method or technique and why we are not using others so that research results are capable of being evaluated either by the researcher himself or by others. Why a research study has been undertaken, how the research problem has been defined, in what way and why the hypothesis has been formulated, what data have been collected and what particular method has been adopted, why particular technique of analyzing data has been used and a host of similar other questions are usually answered when we talk of research methodology concerning a research problem or study.

Research Methods
Research Methods

Decision-making may not be a part of research, but research certainly facilitates the decisions of the policy maker. Government has also to chalk out programmes for dealing with all facets of the country’s existence and most of these will be related directly or indirectly to economic conditions. The plight of cultivators, the problems of big and small business and industry, working conditions, trade union activities, the problems of distribution, even the size and nature of defense services are matters requiring research. Thus, research is considered necessary with regard to the allocation of nation’s resources. Another area in government, where research is necessary, is collecting information on the economic and social structure of the nation. Such information indicates what is happening in the economy and what changes are taking place.

The decision to be made in the current research work is whether or not the organizational culture affects the alignment of IT strategy with the business strategy of a firm. Decision making is not the part of research method and process in the subject research. Through the research we aim to gather relevant and pertinent data to enable us to make appropriate decisions based on the past data. Various parameters that constitute the organizational culture will be first established and validated and the research work shall start.

Types of Research

The basic types of research are as follows:

Descriptive versus Analytical

Descriptive research includes surveys and fact-finding enquiries of different kinds. The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists at present. In social science and business research we quite often the term Ex post facto research for descriptive research studies. The main characteristic of this method is that the researcher has no control over the variables; he can only report what has happened or what is happening. Most ex post facto research projects are used for descriptive studies in which the researcher seeks to measure such items as, for example, frequency of shopping, preferences of people, or similar data. Ex post facto studies also include attempts by researchers to discover causes even when they cannot control the variables. The methods of research utilized in descriptive research are survey methods of all kinds, including comparative and correlational methods. In analytical research, on the other hand, the researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyse these to make a critical evaluation of the material.

Applied versus Fundamental

Research can either be applied (or action) research or fundamental (to basic or pure) research. Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial/business organization, whereas, fundamental research is mainly concerned with generalizations and with the formulation of a theory. “Gathering knowledge for knowledge’s sake is termed ‘pure’ or ‘basic’ research”. Research concerning some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics are examples of fundamental research. Similarly, research studies, concerning human behavior carried on with a view to make generalizations about human behavior, are also examples of fundamental research, but research aimed at certain conclusions (say, a solution) facing a concrete social or business problem is an example of applied research. Research to identify social, economic or political trends that may affect a particular institution or the copy research (research to find out whether certain communications will be read and understood) or the marketing research or evaluation research are examples of applied research. Thus, the central aim of applied research is to discover a solution for some pressing practical problem, whereas basic research is directed towards finding information that has a broad base of applications and thus, adds to the already existing organized body of scientific knowledge.

Quantitative versus Qualitative

Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e., phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. For instance, when we are interested in-.investigating the reasons for human behavior (i.e., why people think or do certain things), we quite often talk of ‘Motivation Research’, an important type of qualitative research. This type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires using in depth interviews for the purpose. Other techniques of such research are word association tests, sentence completion tests, story completion tests and similar other projective techniques. Attitude or opinion research i.e., research designed to find out how people feel or what they think about a particular subject or institution is also qualitative research. Qualitative research is especially important in the behavioral sciences where the aim is to discover the underlying motives of human behavior.

Conceptual versus Empirical

Conceptual research methods are related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones. On the other hand, empirical research relies on experience or observation alone, often without due regard for system and theory. It is data-based research, coming up with conclusions which are capable of being verified by observation or experiment. We can also call it as experimental type of research. In such a research it is necessary to get at facts first hand, at their source, and actively to go about doing certain things to stimulate the production of desired information. In such a research, the researcher must first provide himself with a working hypothesis or guess as to the probable results. He then works to get enough facts (data) to prove or disprove his hypothesis. He then sets up experimental designs which he thinks will manipulate the persons or the materials concerned so as to bring forth the desired information. Such research is thus characterised by the experimenter’s control over the variables under study and his deliberate manipulation of one of them to study its effects. Empirical research is appropriate when proof is sought that certain variables affect other variables in some way. Evidence gathered through experiments or empirical studies is today considered to be the most powerful support possible for a given hypothesis.


Kothari, C. R. (2004) Research methodology: Research Methods and techniques. New Age International.

Slesinger, D., & Stephenson, M. (1930) The Encyclopedia of Social Sciences and Research Methods Vol. IX.

Woody, C. (1924) A survey of educational research in 1923. The Journal of Educational Research Methods, 9(5), 357-381.

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Action Research Dissertation

Action Research

From the time when Kurt Lewin coined the term, action research has crossed boundary from its application in social and medical sciences to organizational development and information systems. Baskerville (1999) lists a variety of action research under different designations such as soft system methodology, prototyping, participant observation, field work, action science, and process consultation.

Action research is a class of methodologies based in the culture of its researcher-participant collaboration. It aims to provide practical solutions in an immediate problem context and contribute new knowledge to science at the same time. In essence, the approach focuses on both action and research concurrently. The action researcher participates in the context of the social or organization problem in conjunction with the practitioners to effect change and also develop knowledge. This means that there is a dual commitment in action research; the action researcher collaborates with the client system therefore highlighting co-learning as a significant part of the process.

Concept of Action Research

“Action research simultaneously assists in practical problem-solving and expands scientific knowledge, as well as enhances the competencies of the respective actors, being performed collaboratively in an immediate situation using data feedback in a cyclical process aiming at an increased understanding of a given social situation, primarily applicable for the understanding of change processes in social systems and undertaken within a mutually acceptable ethical framework” Hult and Lennung (1980).

This comprehensive definition of action research covers the contextual setting of research, the double expectations, and the ethical considerations of the methodology. Action research differs from other research methodologies in various ways. The most significant of these differential attributes is its aim of transforming all the participants into researchers, as everyone ‘learns by action’. Asides this, the research takes place in real-life situations where practical solutions are developed to the contextual problem. The primary role of the action researcher is to train local leaders to a level where they can be responsible for the process, that is, able to continue with the research when the action researcher discontinues. During the course of the action research, the researcher may oscillate between different roles which include planner, leader, facilitator, teacher, designer, observer, and catalyzer.

Common Characteristics of Action Research

According to Peters and Robinson (1984), action research authorities seem to agree on four common characteristics of the research paradigm, which are;

Firstly, action research has both action and change orientations. This emphasizes the dual outcomes of the methodology, action and research. Secondly, it focuses on problem; it targets to identify and implement actions on the problematic situation. In addition, action research involves collaboration between the action researchers and the client system. In this regard, all participants can be described as co-researchers. Lastly, it is a cyclic or spiral process consisting of steps which are repetitive.

Action Research
Action Research


The Action Research Processes and Methods

The process of action research is a sequence of events comprising of iterative cycles of stages. There are different models used to describe this processes. However, the most common action research paradigm is that described by Susman and Evered (1978), which consider five steps in each cycle. They are diagnosing, action planning, action taking, evaluating and specifying learning.

Diagnosing involves identifying the primary problem of the organization; action planning involves specifying actions that will change these primary problems; action taking implements the planned action; evaluating involves determining whether the action was successful or unsuccessful, while in ‘specifying learning’, generalized findings are made in an ongoing process.

The methods used in data collection during an action research project include surveys or questionnaires, keeping of journals, structures and unstructured interviews, observation recordings, taking photographs, and case studies. All these are tools are common with qualitative research paradigm.

Criticisms of Action Research

Some researchers have criticized action research as a rigorous research approach, maintaining that it is just a bit more than consultancy. Such set of academics point to weaknesses of the methodology such as bias and impartiality of the action researcher, difficulty of generalizing results from the study, lack of validity of data, and the assumed absence of key attributes of rigor and discipline associated with normative scientific research methods (McKay and Marshall, 2001). In spite of these criticisms, action research has proven successful in some case studies across different disciplines.

Action Research in Practice

Action research is a powerful tool that can be employed by Information System researchers for investigating the interaction between humans, information systems and social community.

Lau and Hayward (2000) in their study, Building a Virtual Network in a Community Health Research Training Program, applied action research paradigm to explore the effect of IT on the transition of health workers into a collaborative work group. The study evolved following a seven-week training course of about 25 health representatives from various regions. Each participant was presented with a notebook computer, internet connection, and technical support, and were directed to apply the knowledge acquired from the training in their domains, The action researchers discovered that individuals who used the system interactively tend to undertake collaborative projects, and that the dearth of quality community healthcare information online was a shortcoming. Overall, the participants attested to learning a lot from the experience. The research outcome is the provision of a descriptive model involved in creating virtual networks which can serve as groundwork for future research.

It is evident that action research is a valid methodology that bridges the gap between traditional research paradigms and socio-cultural research approaches.


Baskerville, R. L. (1999). Investigating information systems with action research. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 2(19), 1-32.

Hult, M., & Lennung, S. Å. (1980). Towards a definition of action research: a note and bibliography. Journal of Management Studies, 17(2), 241-250.

Lau, F., & Hayward, R. (2000). Building a virtual network in a community Action Research research training program. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 7(4), 361-377.

McKay, J., & Marshall, P. (2001). The dual imperatives of action research. Information Technology & People, 14(1), 46-59.

Peters, M., & Robinson, V. (1984). The origins and status of action research. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 20(2), 113-124.

Susman, G. I., & Evered, R. D. (1978). An assessment of the scientific merits of action research. Administrative Science Quarterly, 23, 582-603.

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Doing A Dissertation

Doing A Dissertation

The guide below represents a small part of what you need to investigate when undertaking your dissertation. The intention of these materials is not to provide research training as such but rather to help the students move into the work of doing their dissertations. Currently, work relating to research methods and critical approaches to research reading and writing is integrated into one of our course modules (Intercultural Perspectives on Academic Writing and Research). By contrast, the materials below comprise part of a short intensive program held at the end of the second semester just prior to students starting to focus more seriously on their own research projects.

These activities can be staged over two one hour sessions or a single two hour session and involve a lot of small group discussion. Students are expected to question each other to probe beneath the surface so that topics become clearer and more refined. This gives them what is often a first chance to talk about their own particular research interests with peers and encourages them to develop their ideas in an informal but directed situation.

Normally the materials are presented on PowerPoint slides with supplementary handouts along the lines of what is below. After each stage we would normally have some kind of plenary feedback.

About Dissertations

Get into a small group and talk about the following:

  • Why do you think we ask you to do a dissertation?
  • What’s it for?
  • What do you think are the main differences between this and a coursework essay?
  • What are you looking forward to doing and what are you dreading?

(This activity followed by a plenary helps to dispel some myths and allows the students to voice uncertainties that they might have. It also reveals that their individual concerns are actually held in common).

Dissertation Topic

It is quite common for you to have a strong idea of the topic you want to write about. It may be an idea that you already had before joining the course or it might be something that you have become interested in during the course. For example, you may want to do your dissertation on the topic of ‘The Role of English in the World’ which is one of the key themes of the whole course. However a topic is not enough by itself. A topic needs to be controlled in some way to prevent it from being too general or too vague. This ‘control’ is what turns a topic into a research project.

Look at the following topics that previous students started out with when they were at a similar stage as you.

What further information would you need to know in order to understand what the dissertation is actually about? Think about the questions you might ask the students concerned.

Native speakers in ELT in China

The discourse of computer mediated communication

Code switching

The relation between language and culture

If YOU were going to write about these topics, what particular aspect(s) would YOU focus on?

(These topics can, of course, be replaced according to the relevant discipline)

Dissertation Title

Now look at the titles of the dissertations. How do they help narrow down the topic?

  • What do they tell you about the focus of the research?
  • What do they tell you about the work involved in the dissertation?
  • What kind of data do you think the students obtained and how?

What is the contribution of native speakers in ELT in China and how can they be best used?

The discourse of Computer Mediated Communication: code-switching and mode-switching in Nepalese on-line communities

Code-switching among English speaking Turkish communities in London

The relationship between language and culture in Ghana: a comparative study of address terms in two speech communities in Cape-Coast.

(Plenary feedback could involve a comparison of their own views with those chosen by the actual writers)

The way you move from topic to title is not as easy as it appears here, however. The process involves an interaction between your chosen topic, the initial questions you have about the topic, the further questions that arise as a result of your reading and the insights you develop (which result in further questions) from analyzing your data. In other words, your ideas develop in the course of actually doing the dissertation.

Starting to Write

It’s common for people to think of research as a sequence of activities moving from one to the other as if in a straight line. This is because when we read other people’s research it looks as if this is how it’s done. However, what research looks like when it’s been published doesn’t really represent ‘what you did in order to do the work’ as the physicist Richard Feynman complained in his 1966 Noble Prize speech.

IF you take the approach that first you’ve got to do all the reading (research context, methodologies, theories etc.) and then you do all the research (data collection, data analysis etc.) and then you come up with all the conclusions (discussion and implications) and finally you write it up, you’ll find it difficult to make progress. You’ll probably get stuck at the reading stage.

HOWEVER, if you start writing from the very beginning, you are more likely to get into the work itself and your reading will be more focused and therefore more relevant. Doing a dissertation is not a linear process, it is more like a series of cycles of activity involving all elements of your research work. The first cycle is to find out what you know about your chosen topic already.

Doing A Dissertation
Doing A Dissertation

What You Already Know

Get together with one or two other students and talk through the following questions:

  • What topic are you planning to discuss?
  • What particularly interests you about it?
  • Why is it worth writing about?
  • What sort of things do you want to find out?
  • How is it relevant to what you’ve been doing recently (at work? on this course?)?
  • How is it relevant to you personally?

Make sure you ask your colleagues to go into as much detail as they can. You might also discuss the following questions:

About the data:

  • What kind of data are you hoping to collect?
  • How are you thinking of getting it?
  • Why do you think this data will be helpful?

About the research context:

  • Who else has looked at this?
  • Whose work are you planning to read?
  • What kind of analytic framework are you planning to use?

Don’t worry if you don’t have ‘answers’ to all these questions. They are just to help you begin to work out your ideas. You might even be able to suggest things to one another. Remember, though, that you will all be at different stages depending on the projects you are developing. The important thing here is to use this opportunity to explore the ideas you already have and to help others to do the same.

(Feedback can involve discussion about whether and how these discussions have been helpful).

Now that you’ve talked about your research, you’re ready to start writing. In preparation for your first supervision session, write out ‘answers’ in response to the questions above. Use these questions to help you work through your ideas in writing. You don’t have to do any reading at this stage, rather start writing about what you already know, what you want to find out more about and what you’ll need to do to find it out. This will ensure that your own ideas and questions will lead your research. This, in turn, will help you manage your reading and refine your research methods. It will also mean that you have something concrete to bring to your supervision session which helps your supervisor to help you. A further advantage of this process is that it provides you with the basis of your first chapter (a working introduction) and means that you will have already started writing the dissertation itself.

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Dissertation Referencing Styles

Dissertation Referencing Styles

Throughout your life in the academic arena, you will be required to provide a proof of your writing. One such useful technique is to provide references for the other people’s work from which you have borrowed their ideas.

What is referencing

Referencing is a system that allows you to acknowledge the sources of information you use in your writing. If you do not reference your sources you are plagiarizing. Direct quotations, facts and figures, as well as ideas and theories, from both published and unpublished works must be referenced.

When to Reference

You must provide a reference whenever you quote, paraphrase or summaries someone else’s ideas, theories or data. You must also reference any graphic information you use. Some of the sources you will need to reference include:

  • books or chapters in books
  • journal or newspaper articles
  • conference papers
  • films or television programs
  • personal communications like emails, interviews or letters
  • electronic sources such as web pages, journal articles from online databases, or usenet groups.

The importance of accurate citation and dissertation referencing

  • To prevent plagiarism-If you draw upon other people’s work in your writing and research and do not acknowledge those sources, you can be accused of plagiarism.
  • To enable you quickly locate information you have already cited
  • To enable your supervisor or instructor to check the veracity of the information quoted
  • Correct citations allow others to follow up sources you have referred to, so citing is in the interests of scholarly investigation and the sharing of ideas.
  • Moral Rights – The Copyright Act includes a section called “Moral Rights” which applies when you reproduce works such as text or images that are subject to copyright. This section protects the moral rights of an author to have their work accurately acknowledged and treated with respect.
  • An author/artist/creator can take legal action if their work is copied without due acknowledgement or if it is incorrectly attributed to someone else. Furthermore their work must be treated with respect and not subjected to any prejudicial treatment. Hence due acknowledgement of an author’s work can now be seen as a legal requirement as well as good academic practice.

Which dissertation referencing style should I use?

There are number of referencing styles available for use. Your college or instructor will provide you with guide on which referencing style you need to adapt. Some of these referencing styles are listed below:

  • Harvard (also called the Author-date style)
  • Numeric (also called the Numbered List or Vancouver style)
  • MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) for literature and the Humanities
  • APA (American Psychological Association) for Psychology
  • AIP (American Institute of Physics) for Physics.

Whatever style you use, it is very important to be clear, consistent and correct, making sure you include all the relevant details.

When do I need to give references?

You need to give a reference if

  • you quote the exact words of another author
  • you paraphrase or summarize a passage by another author
  • you use an idea or material based directly on the work of another author

The Harvard style of referencing

As pointed earlier, Harvard style of referencing is just of the many styles available. However, this style is the most common used in the arts and social sciences. One might find other systems in other disciplines because the things they reference have different requirements (e.g. legal or political documents). Some of these referencing systems use footnotes. However, the

Harvard System does not use footnotes. Again, in the Harvard system, there are varying versions of it. You might find other that this manual provides a slight different version from the one you have been taught in class. We are not looking for something perfect, but a real attempt in using the system. Kindly check with your supervisor or institution you are studying to confirm the acceptable version of the Harvard style of referencing.

How does it work?

The Harvard system consists of two parts:

In-text citation

This is done within the body of your work. In making reference within the body of your text, you generally provide the name of the author(s) and the year of publication in the text.

References (List of references)

This involves providing the name of the author(s), the year of publication in the text and giving the full details of where to find the reference at the end of your report. This section is called references or list of references. Only those sources you have used in preparing your work and cited directly in the text need to be included at the end of your report.

In-text citation

As pointed earlier, in-text citation is accomplished by providing the name of the author(s) and the year of publication the main body of your text.  As a result the general rule is to give the surname of the author or organization name in the case of the companies followed by the year in which the source was produced.

Below are different variations of in-text citation

Referring to an author’s viewpoint in your text

Author(s) for books and reports

Again there different cases, but the basic format is Author (Date).

If the author’s name occurs naturally in the sentence

If the author’s name can be incorporated sensibly into the text, the year is followed in parentheses

e.g. suppose you have read a book written by Adisai Jones in year 2008, then you have to cite inside your main body of the research document as follows:

Jones (2008) argued that all organizations need to adapt the new accounting standard for their final reports to make sense.

If the name does not occur naturally in the sentence

In this case, both the author’s name and year are given in parentheses e.g.  Following a study on new accounting principles auditing focus has also shifted (Jones 2008), from…

If there are two or more authors

In this case the surnames of both authors are given.  e.g. In a study of auditing and investigation, Jones and Evans (2008) established… e.g. In a study of auditing and investigation (Jones and Evans 2008), the results showed that…

If there are more than two authors

If there are more than two authors the surname of the first author is given, followed by et al. This is a terminology meaning and others. e.g. Smith et al (2007) concluded that marketing research … e.g. Marketing research is core to the existence of the business (Smith et al 2007) such that….

If you have two authors with the same surname </DIV>

When you have two authors with the same surname, then Initials are included to distinguish. <DIV align=left>e.g. The ERP model was suggested  by B.A. Morgan (2003), with some modification later by C.H. Morgan (2006).

If the author(s) has more work published in the same year

When a author has published more than one cited document in the same year these are distinguished by adding lower case letters after the year within the brackets. e.g. Jones (2008a) argue that… However, Jones (2008b)….

If you refer to an author of a chapter in an edited book

Suppose you refer just to one chapter in a book within a collection of chapters coming from different authors, provide an in-text citation fro the author of the chapter you want to cite, but give the date of the book. e.g. David (2003) provides a general model for portal organisation in a higher learning institution.

If you are citing a series of reference at the same place in the text

In this case the references should be listed in chronological date order, with the earliest first. e.g. Morgan (2008), Jenkinson (2006) and Smith et al. (2004) argued that…

Summary, paraphrasing and quotation

If you are summarizing or paraphrasing a specific page or section, then you start with the author, year of publication, colon followed by page number(s). e.g. Smith (2007:37) showed that… e.g. Marketing research is core to the business (Smith et al 2007:89) such that…. If you are summarizing the entire book, you do not need to provide the page numbers. For quoting work of a given author(s), the same technique is applied. However the exact words are placed between double quotes. e.g. “The number of users determines whether the database is classified as single-user or mult-user” (Rob and Coronel 2007:8).

When Author is an organisation

Some sources may be produced by organizations and not individuals. In this case you should use the name of the organization in the author’s place omitting  any leading article (e.g. A, The). In the same manner, if a publication is produced by an organisation and no individual is credited as the author, treat the organisation as the author. e.g. IAA runs postgraduate diploma in accountancy and finance as well as certificates programs in accountancy, information technology and computer science (IAA 2006).

Author’s name not given

When the author name is not given, use Anon in place of the author. The number of entrepreneurs is increasing in Tanzania (Anon 2003) Note: the keyword Anon stands for anonymous author.

If there is no date on the publication

If you do not know the date of publication, use “n.d.” (which stands for “not dated”) in place of the year. e.g. VfM Steering Group report (n.d.) identifies a number of challenges facing management of student record systems in higher education.

Secondary referencing – Authors quoting other authors

Coventry (2007) refers secondary sources as “second hand sources”. Therefore, try to find the original source before you make us of the secondary sources. If you find the original source, cite it as explain above. However, if you do not find the original source, cite it by giving the author’s name, then write ‘cited in’ and give the author of the book or article you have actually read.

e.g. (Smith 2007: 65 cited in Jenkinson 2008: 89).

Citing a journal article

In citing a journal article follows the same procedure by providing the author(s) of the article and the year in which the journal was published.

e.g. Zastrocky and Yanosky (2002) proposed integrated…

Referencing figures, diagrams, tables and graphs

Tables, diagrams, graphs and figures should be referenced if they are based on another’s work. The reference would normally be given after the title of the diagram or table. These references for diagrams etc. must also be included in the list of references.



  Figure XXX ERP architecture (Zastrocky and Yanosky 2015)

Electronic Sources

Information taken from the Internet should be cited in a similar fashion to its printed counterparts. Therefore, for any source accessed online including electronic journal, electronic book, e-mails, electronic figures, tables, pictures just to mention a few; give the author’s surname or the corporate author and the data in brackets.

Note:  For website and other electronic sources, do not give the full web address as this will be included in your list of references.

e.g. Tzonline (2015)

e.g. (IFM 2015).

e.g. IAA (2015)

Compiling List of References

Harvard style of referencing requires each source cited inside your text to be full referenced at the end of your work. This is well placed in a section called the List of References or simply References. Normally this section is after conclusion and recommendation chapter. The full references should be in alphabetical order arranged by surname.If you do not have an author then list the item alphabetically by title. If an author has more than one publication, list the publications chronologically with the earliest first. It is important to remember a list of references contains details only those works cited in the text and not everything you have read for your work. On the other side, a bibliography includes all sources you have read and which are relevant to the subject. Harvard style of referencing requires one to use List of References and not bibliography.  Kindly check with your supervisor to see which one you should use.

Below are the different styles for writing list of references

A book by a single author

For a book with a single author, the format is Author’s Surname, first name initials. (Year of publication) Title.  Edition (if not the first), Place of publication: Publisher. The following example shows how this format works:

Morgan, B. (2007) Managing IT for Information Age. Arusha: Oxford

The explanation for the above citation is as follows:

Morgan, B. (2007) Managing IT for Information Age. Arusha: Oxford

[Author] [Year] [TITLE (Italicized or underlined)] [Place of Publication] [Publisher]

Some more examples are given below:

Munguatosha, G. (2007) MS Word 2007 for beginners. London: Macmillan.

Mwaitete, C. (2005) Economics for beginners. 3rd ed. Nairobi: Towson

A book by two authors

In this case follow the format given below:

1st Author’s Surname, first name initials. & 2nd Author’s Surname, first name initials. (Year of publication) Title. Edition (if not the first) Place of publication: Publisher.

Examples for two authors are as follows:

  • Bird, P. (2002) Understanding Company Accounts. 3rd London : Pitman Publishing
  • Johnson, G., Scholes, K. and Whittington, R. (2004) Exploring Corporate Strategy: texts and cases 7th London: FT Prentice Hall
  • Shirima, L. & Shasha, S. (1998) A first course in accounting. Arusha: Levi Press.

A book by more than two authors

All authors need to be listed in your list of reference. A common mistake by most of the writers is to use “et al.” in the list of references.  The keyword et al should only be used in the in-text citation and not the list of references.

The suggested format is:

1st Author’s Surname, first name initials, 2nd Author’s Surname, first name initials. and nth Author’s Surname, first name initials. (Year of publication) Title. Edition (if not the first) Place of publication: Publisher.


  • Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2003) Research Methods for Business Students.3rd London: FT Prentice Hall
  • Tessa, M., Ruzegera, L. & Hansi, W. (2006) Tanzania Election 2005 Dar Es Salaam: UDSM Press.

Multiple works of the same author

Where there are several works by one author published in the same year they should be differentiated by adding a lower case letter after the date. Remember that this must also be consistent with the citations in the text.

For multiple works the required format is:

Author, first name initials. (Yeara) Title of book . Place of publication: Publisher

Author, first name initials. (Yearb) Title of book . Place of publication: Publisher

Author, first name initials. (Yearc) Title of book . Place of publication: Publisher

And so on, depending on the number of sources taken from the same author


Deshler, C., and Lincoln, Y. (2006a) A framework for human resource management 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall

Deshler, C., and Lincoln, Y. (ed.) (2006b) The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research 3rd ed. Thousands Oak, CA: Sage

When you have both an editor and author

If the book you are referring to has both editor and author(s), then give the author’s surname as usual and the date in brackets, then write éd. by’ and give the editor’s surname and initials, followed by the title in italics then full stop. Finally give the place of publication followed by colon then the publisher.

Some examples include:

Denzin, N. (2005) ed. by Lincoln, Y. The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research. 3rd ed. Thousands Oak, CA: Sage

A chapter from an edited book

Sometimes you need to reference only one chapter from a book which contains many chapters which are written by different authors. In this case adapt the following format:

Chapter author’s Surname, initials. (Year of publication) ‘Title of the chapter.’ followed by In Title of book.  ‘ed. by’ Surname, Initials of editor(s) of publication Place of publication: Publisher: Page number(s) of the chapter.


  • David, E. (2003) ‘Campus portal strategies.’ In Designing Portals: opportunities and challenges. by Jafari, A. and Sheehan, M. London: Information Science Publishing: 68-88
  • Bantz, C. (1995) ‘Social dimensions of software development’ In Annual review of software management and development by Anderson, J. CA: Sage: 502-510.
  • Weir, P. (1995) ‘Clinical practice development role: a personal reflection’ In Innovations in nursing practice by Kendrick, K., Weir, P. and Rosser, E. London: Edward Arnold: 5-22.

A book produced by an organization (a corporate author)

For a book with a corporate author, the format is Corporate name (Year of publication) Title.  Edition (if not the first), Place of publication: Publisher e.g.

NBAA (2007) Financial Accounting Manual Dar Es Salaam: NBAA

A printed journal article

When citing a printed journal article in the list of references, use the following format:

Author’s Surname, Initials. (Year of periodical issue in which article appeared) ‘Full title of article.’  Full Title of Journal  volume, (issue if available) page numbers of whole article including its notes and references

However, some journals do not specify an issue number. In these cases use the Volume followed by the date shown on the journal. Here are the examples on how to cite an article on the printed journal:

  • McClea, M. and Yen, D. (2005) ‘A framework for the utilization of information technology in higher education admission department.’ International Journal of educational Management 19, (2) 87-101
  • Morgan, N. (2001) How to overcome ‘change fatigue.’ Harvard Business Review 79(7) 1-3
  • Pearce, L. (2003) ‘Our stakeholders: requirements for institutional portals.’ The Journal of Information and Knowledge Management Systems 33, (1) 11-16

A Report

For a report follow the format below:

Surname, Initials or Corporate author (Year of publication) Title of publication Report Number (where relevant) Place of publication: Publisher.


Ministry of Health (2005) Choice and opportunity: primary care: the future no.245. Dar ES Salaam: Government Printing

Wangwe, S.(1988) Industrial Property Protection and Technological Innovation: A Case Study of Tanzania  Geneva: UNCTAD

Newspaper articles

For newspaper articles the required format is as follows:

Author, Initials. (Year) ‘Title of article.’ Full Title of Newspaper,

Day and month: page numbers

Example of how to cite the newspaper in the list of references is given below:

Danda, K. (2008) ‘Forensic audit unit must be effective.’  Daily News 16 March: 7,9


A conference paper within conference proceedings

For a conference paper within conference proceedings, the format is as follows:

Author, Initials. (Year) ‘Title of the paper.’ In Surname, Initials. (ed.) Title of the Conference Proceedings, ‘Title of the Conference.’  Held Full Date at Location of the Conference. Published location: Publisher: Page numbers


Brown, J. (2005) ‘Evaluating surveys of transparent governance.’ In Smith, A. (ed.) Proceedings of the UNDESA Conference on transparent government,     ‘ 6th Global forum on reinventing government: towards participatory and transparent governance.’ Held 24-27 May 2005 at Seoul, Republic of Korea. New York: United Nations: 67-72

Conference proceedings

Here, give the organization as the author then the date in brackets. Put the title of the conference followed by the full stop within single quotations marks. Give the conference location and then the title of the conference proceedings in italics then a full stop. Give the surname and initials of the editor or organizer followed by ‘ed.’ in brackets. Finally, give the place of publication followed by a colon then the publisher.


ACM (2007) ‘Conference on Network design and analysis.’  Durban(2007) Use of IPVer6 in network design.  Lawton, D. (ed.) Nairobi: Moi University Press

Thesis, dissertation or research report

The required format is:

Author, Initials. (Year of publication) Title of dissertation. Unpublished Level thesis or dissertation or report, Name of the higher learning Institution


Morgan, B. (2007) Analysis of the Network traffic of IAA LAN. Unpublished MSc dissertation, IAA

Annual report

The required format is:

Corporate author  (Year of Publication) Full title of annual report Place of publication: Publisher


Shoprite (2007) The annual report 2006-2007 Johannesburg: Shoprite

List of references for electronic sources

The principles of referencing information found on the internet and electronic sources are basically the same as for other material. However, for the web based sources, you will also need to include the uniform resource locator (URL), or web address. Make sure you write down the URL exactly as even the smallest mistake in the punctuation can mean that it is not possible to retrieve the site.

It is also important to include the exact date on which you accessed the web site to find the information you are using to support your work. This is because, unlike books and journal articles etc, web sites are updated or change frequently and you need to indicate which version you used.

This section presents different forms of electronic sources and how to write the list of references at the end of your report.

CD-ROM, DVD or video

The required format for referencing is given below:

Corporate Author (Year of publication) Full title of DVD or video. [Medium e.g. CD-ROM] Place of publication: Publisher [Accessed Date of Access]

Example: Mwananchi Films (2008) Great films from the 90s. [DVD]. Dar Es Salaam: Mwananchi Films [Accessed 4 March 2008]

Journal articles from an electronic source

For journal articles from an electronic source the format is as follows:

Author, Initials. (Year) ‘Title of article.‘ Full Title of Journal  [online] Volume number, (Issue/Part number) Page numbers if available.

Available from <full website address> [Accessed date]


Feld, C. and Stoddard, D. (2004) ‘Getting IT right’ Harvard Business Review 82, (2) 72-79 [online] available from

<http://search.epnet.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&an=12109042> [Accessed 27th July 2006]

E-version of annual reports

For an e-version of an annual report (or other document) the required elements for a reference are:

Author or corporate author (Year) Title of document or page [online]

Available from <full website address> [Accessed date]

e.g. Marks & Spencer (2004) Annual report 2003-2004. [Online]  Available from: <http://www-marks-and-spencer.co.uk/corporate/annual2003/> [accessed 4 June 2005]

Online newspaper articles

For newspaper articles found on line newspapers the required format for a reference is:

For newspaper articles the required format is as follows:

Author, Initials. (Year) ‘Title of article.’ Full Title of Newspaper,

Day and month: page numbers [online]

Available from <full website address> [Accessed date]

Example of how to cite the online newspaper in the list of references is given below:

Danda, K. (2008) ‘Forensic audit unit must be effective.’  Daily News 16 March: 7,9 [online] Available from <http://dailynews.habarileo.co.tz/editorial/?id=3556> [Accessed March 24, 2008]

For websites the required elements for a reference are:

For a normal website, whether belonging to the individual or corporate, the following format is adopted:

Author or corporate author (Year) Title of document. [online] Available from <full website address> [Accessed date]


Oracle (2015) PeopleSoft Enterprise Portal [online] available from <http://www.oracle.com/applications/portals/enterprise/enterprise-portal.html [5th September 2015]

IAA (2006) About IAA [online] available from <http://www.iaa.ac.tz/pages/iaa/about_iaa.html>[13th July 2015]


For e-books the required format is as follows:

Author (Year) title of the book [online] Place of publication: Publisher

Available from <full website address> [Accessed date]


Shaman, R. (2005) Commuting in the dark [online] Chester: Castle Press. Available from <http://www.freeebooks.com / E-books> [Accessed 5 June 2005]

An online conference paper within conference proceedings

For an online conference paper within conference proceedings, the format is as follows:

Author, Initials. (Year) ‘Title of the paper.’ In Surname, Initials. (ed.) Title of the Conference Proceedings, ‘Title of the Conference.’  Held Full Date at Location of the Conference. Published location: Publisher: Page numbers [online]

Available from <full website address> [Accessed date]


Brown, J. (2005) ‘Evaluating surveys of transparent governance.’ In Smith, A. (ed.) Proceedings of the UNDESA Conference on transparent government,     ‘ 6th Global forum on reinventing government: towards participatory and transparent governance.’ Held 24-27 May 2005 at Seoul, Republic of Korea. New York: United Nations: 67-72 [online]

Available from <http://webapps01.un.org/pubsCatalogue/browse.do?by=category&code=9 > [Accessed March 24, 2008]

Online information for Conference proceedings

Here, give the organization as the author then the date in brackets. Put the title of the conference followed by the full stop within single quotations marks. Give the conference location and then the title of the conference proceedings in italics then a full stop. Give the surname and initials of the editor or organizer followed by ‘ed.’ in brackets. Finally, give the place of publication followed by a colon then the publisher. Then provide information for the online source as shown on the previous cases.


ACM (2007) ‘Conference on Network design and analysis.’  Durban(2007) Use of IPVer6 in network design.  Lawton, D. (ed.) Nairobi: Moi University Press [online] Available from <http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1027802.1027891> [Accessed March 24, 2008]

Online thesis, dissertation or research report

The required format is:

Author, Initials. (Year of publication) Title of dissertation. Unpublished Level thesis or dissertation or report, Name of the higher learning Institution numbers [online] Available from <full website address> [Accessed date]


Morgan, B. (2007) Analysis of the Network traffic of IAA LAN. Unpublished MSc dissertation, IAA numbers [online]

Available from < http://myweb.polyu.edu.hk/~lbaho/Library/Writing.pdf> [Accessed March 24, 2008]

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