APA 6th referencing style
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Thesis retrieved from website, thesis retrieved from database.
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APA 6th Referencing Style Guide
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Thesis, dissertation or exegesis?
Theses and dissertations from online sources, theses and dissertations in hardcopy format.
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Thesis and dissertation can mean different things, depending on which institution the work is from. For study purposes and for your APA reference you need to know the level of the work.
- Always check the title page, or subsequent pages, to determine exactly what the work is
- Use the information there for your APA reference
At Auckland University of Technology (and other NZ universities)
Thesis is either for a doctoral or a master's degree.
Dissertation is either for a master's or a bachelor's degree with honours.
Exegesis is the written component of a practice-based thesis where the major output is a creative work; e.g. a film, artwork, novel.
In some other parts of the world such as North America, a dissertation may be for a doctoral degree and a thesis for a master's degree.
See Section 7.05 in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition .
Reference format for a thesis from a commercial database:
Reference format for a thesis from an institutional repository:
A Doctoral dissertation (USA) from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database
Reference list entry:
- Include the name of the database and the order number of the document
- Use this style for theses retrieved from a commercial database
Thesis from a NZ institutional repository :
- Include the full URL for the thesis/dissertation and the full name of the degree-granting institution/university
- Also include the location of the university, if outside the United States.
In-text citations guide
Reference format for unpublished thesis/dissertation:
- Give the correct full name of the university, not its abbreviation or brand name.
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APA 6th Edition Citation Style
Dissertation / thesis.
- APA 6th Edition Guide
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Proper Bibliographic Reference Format:
- Bibliographic references are double-spaced and indented half an inch after the first line.
- Use italics and "sentence-style" capitalization for dissertation / thesis titles.
- Identify the work as a doctoral dissertation / master’s thesis in parentheses after the title.
Sabbagh, S. A. (2009). Investigating oral presentation skills and non-verbal communication techniques in UAE classrooms: A thesis in teaching English to speakers of other languages (master’s thesis). American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
Citations are placed in the context of discussion using the author’s last name and date of publication.
Alternatively, you can integrate the citation into the sentence by means of narrative.
Sabbagh (2009) compares a variety of oral presentation techniques.
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APA 6 Style Guide
Thesis/dissertation – apa reference list, capitalization.
- The document title is in sentence case – Only the first word and proper nouns in the title are capitalized. Always capitalize the first word, the first word after a colon or a dash.
- The title of the thesis or dissertation is in title case – Each word in the name is capitalized, except for articles (a, an, the), prepositions (against, between, in, of, to), conjunctions (and, but, for, nor, or, so, yet), and the infinitive 'to'.
Thesis/Dissertation – Unpublished/Print version
For papers written in United States list City and State. For countries outside United States list City and Country.
Author , A . A . ( Year ). Title of dissertation/thesis (Unpublished doctoral dissertation [OR] Unpublished master's thesis). Academic Institution , City , State [OR] Country .
- Considine, M. (1986). Australian insurance politics in the 1970s: Two case studies . (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
- Kassover,A. (1987). Treatment of abusive males: Voluntary vs. court-mandated referrals (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Nova University, Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Thesis/Dissertation – From a commercial database (e.g., ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database)
Author , A ( Year ). Title of dissertation/thesis (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Name of database . ( Accession or Order Number )
Cooley, T. (2009). Design, development, and implementation of a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN): The Hartford Job Corps Academy case study (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 3344745)
Thesis/Dissertation – Institutional Database (i.e. University website)
For U.S. thesis do not include university or locations. Include the university and location (City and Country) for a non-U.S. online thesis.
Author , A . A . ( Year ). Title of dissertation/thesis (Doctoral dissertation/Master's thesis). Retrieved from http:// url.com
- Adams, R. J. (1973). Building a foundation for evaluation of instruction in higher education and continuing education (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd/
- Barua, S. (2010). Drought assessment and forecasting using a nonlinear aggregated drought index (Doctoral dissertation, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia). Retrieved from http://vuir.vu.edu.au/1598
Thesis/Dissertation – Web
For U.S. thesis do not include locations. Include the location (City and Country) for a non-U.S. online thesis.
Author , A . A . ( Year ). Title of dissertation/thesis (Doctoral dissertation/Master's thesis, Institution issuing degree). Retrieved from http:// www.url.com
- Bruckman, A. (1997). MOOSE Crossing: Construction, community, and learning in a networked virtual world for kids (Doctoral dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Retrieved from http://www-static.cc.gatech.edu/~asb/thesis
APA Style 6th Edition: Citing Your Sources
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Dissertation or thesis available from a database service:
Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (year of publication). Title of dissertation or thesis (Doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis). Retrieved from Name of database. (Accession or Order No.)
For an unpublished dissertation or thesis:
Author Surname, First Initial. Second Initial. (year of creation). Title of dissertation or thesis (Unpublished doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis). Name of Institution, Location.
See Ch 7 pp. 207-208 APA Manual for more examples and formatting rules
- Italicize the title
- Identify whether source is doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis in parentheses after the title
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Citation Help for APA, 6th Edition: Master's Thesis or Project
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Print Master's Thesis/Project Example
Panasuk, N. (2008). What variables appear to work in stress management programs in the workplace and how effective are these programs? Unpublished master’s thesis, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, Minnesota.
Print Master's Thesis/Project Explanation
Author: Panasuk, N. Last name first, abbreviate first and middle names. End with a period. Year of Publication: (2008). In parentheses. List the year of publication, which appears on the title page or the title page verso (back side of title page). Follow the parentheses with a period.
Title & subtitle of the book: What variables appear to work in stress managment programs in the workplace and how effective are these programs? The title and subtitle are separated by a colon. Capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle and all proper nouns or names. Italicize the title and end with a period or if it has a question mark in the title, that is sufficient. Status of Publishing: Unpublished master's thesis, Use the words Unpublished master's thesis followed by a comma. If it is a project, then use the words Unpublished master's project, Name of Institution Where Degree was Granted: The College of St. Scholastica, The full name of the college or university followed by a comma. Place of Institution: Duluth, Minnesota. For these U.S. cities use the city name alone: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco. For all others, add the standard postal abbreviations for states. Separate place from publisher with a colon. If more than one city is given, use the first only. End the citation with a period. NOTE: For more information on Master's Theses/Projects citations, see page 207-208 in the 6th edition of the APA manual.
Master's Thesis, From a Commercial Database Example
Arntson, A. (2009). Are the physicians located where where the healthcare needs are? (Master's Thesis). Available from ProQuest Dissertations
and Theses database. (UMI No. 1464879)
Master's Thesis, From a Commercial Database Explanation
Author: Arntson, A. Last name first, abbreviate first and middle names. End with a period. Year of Publication: (2009). In parentheses. List the year of publication, which appears on the title page or the title page verso (back side of title page). Follow the parentheses with a period.
Title & subtitle of the book: Are the physicians located where the healthcare needs are? (Masters Thesis). The title and subtitle are separated by a colon. Capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle and all proper nouns or names. Italicize the title. Add "Masters Thesis" in parentheses and end with a period. Retrieval Statement: Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 1464879) Begin with the phrase "Available from". Then add the commercial database where you found the Masters Thesis/Project. End with a period. Add the database accession number in parentheses. Do not end with a period. NOTE: For more information on Master's Theses/Projects citations, see page 208 in the 6th edition of the APA manual.
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Theses — APA 6th edition
The 7th edition of APA was published in October 2019. Some departments and lecturers may still be using the 6th edition. Ask your lecturer or supervisor if you are unsure which edition to use.
According to Healey (2005) ... OR Research indicates ... (Healey, 2005)
Reference list – print examples
Healey, D. (2005). Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and creativity: An investigation into their relationship (Unpublished doctoral thesis). University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
Hood, K. E. S. (2008). On beyond boo! Horror literature for children (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Reference list – electronic examples
Ignatov, I. (2013). Eastward voyages and the late medieval European worldview (Master’s thesis, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10092/9187
Solomon, C. A. (2014). It's numbers and that's it: An exploration of children's beliefs about mathematics through their drawings and words (Doctoral thesis, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10092/8981
- Ph. D. thesis/dissertation: Use the terminology used on the thesis itself. Usually the word is “thesis” for theses from New Zealand and all other countries except the US, which uses “dissertation” for Ph. D. theses
- Location: include after the name of the university, except omit for US theses, e.g. Hood (2008) above
- Ph. D. theses: follow the title with “Unpublished doctoral thesis/dissertation,” for example Healey (2005) and Hood (2008)
- Master's theses: Use “Unpublished master's thesis;” the rest of the reference is like that of a Ph. D. thesis in print format
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APA Citation Style (6th ed.): Theses and Dissertations
Doctoral dissertations and master's theses (apa 7.05).
Unpublished theses and dissertations:
Jordan, J. J. (2005). Psychosocial effects of gifted programming ( Unpublished master's thesis). University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.
Berg, D. H. (2003). Prospective leadership development in colleges and universities in Canada: Perceptions of leaders, educators and students (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.
Electronic theses and dissertations:
If retrieved from a commercial database, provide the database name and publication number:
Hiebert, R. W. (2006). The education of children from poverty: A descriptive case study of a public school and a community school (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertation & Theses: Full Text (NR18185)
If retrieved from an institutional database, provide a thesis statement and the database URL:
Richet, E. (2007). The citizenship education system in Canada from 1945-2005: An overview and assessment (Master’s thesis, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada). Retrieved from http://library2.usask.ca/etd
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- How to cite a dissertation in APA Style
How to Cite a Dissertation in APA Style | Format & Examples
Published on December 16, 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on September 14, 2022.
The format for citing someone else’s dissertation or thesis in APA Style depends on whether the thesis is available from a database, published somewhere else (e.g. on a university archive or personal website), or unpublished (only available in print form directly from the author or university).
To cite a dissertation or thesis from a database, use the following format. In the square brackets, specify the type of dissertation or thesis and the university. As with other database sources, no URL or DOI is included.
Table of contents
Citing a dissertation published elsewhere, citing an unpublished dissertation in apa style.
To cite a dissertation or thesis published in a university archive (often in PDF form ) or on a personal website, the format differs in that no publication number is included, and you do list a URL.
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
To cite an unpublished dissertation (one you got directly from the author or university in print form), add “Unpublished” to the bracketed description, and list the university at the end of the reference, outside the square brackets.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2022, September 14). How to Cite a Dissertation in APA Style | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/apa-examples/dissertation/
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