Should you include a DOI or URL in your scientific references


In a previous post I discussed why I think it is absolutely necessary to use a citation manager when you are writing a thesis. In this post, I would like to discuss a very specific question on referencing: How to include a web address?

References that include a web address such as a DOI or URL have become more common over the last couple of years. But why are they included? And perhaps more importantly: should you include them in your references as well? In this blog post, I will go over the following questions I often get from students:

What is a DOI or URL?
Do I have to include a DOI or URL?
I want to (or have to) include a DOI or URL. What should I do?
Which one do I have to include: a DOI or URL?
Where can I find the DOI of an article?

What is a DOI or URL?

Let’s start with the latter: URL stands for ‘uniform resource locator’, and is more commonly known as a ‘web address’: the location on the internet where a resource can be found. An example of a web address is The URL of an article, therefore, is the location on the Internet where the article is stored.

Continue reading “Should you include a DOI or URL in your scientific references”

How many times can I cite the same article in my dissertation


Writing a thesis means citing other people’s work: scientific articles and books. But how many times can you cite the same article or book in your thesis? That’s the topic of this post:

Avoid overusing a reference
How many times can I cite the same article, then?

Avoid overusing a reference

A common styling pitfall when writing a thesis is referencing the same scientific article over and over again, sometimes even multiple times in the same paragraph. This usually is not necessary, and even frowned upon a little. Here’s a little example:

“In an article by Smith (2018), the author studies how school-performance may lead to depression within adolescents. The author reports that working towards a graduation is a big contributing factor. [..] This result is similar to previous studies such as Johnson (2015) or Greany (2016).

Smith (2018) also states that time-constraints, such as having a student-job, further impact the probability that school-performance is affected (Smith, 2018). [..]

Furthermore, previous research also shows that students that schedule their graduation well in advance, including planning the individual tasks it requires, have a lower probability of becoming depressed (Smith, 2018).[..]”

Continue reading “How many times can I cite the same article in my dissertation”

How do I fix missing references in my Bibliography


Finally finished writing your thesis! One final look at your document and then you can relax……hold up: some of your references aren’t showing up in your Bibliography!

No worries! Sit down, take a breath, and with the help of the following sections you will get right back on track:

What has happened?
How using a reference manager can help you avoid missing references
I don’t have the time to re-insert all my references. Can I do something else?

What has happened?

Found references in your text that are not mentioned in your Bibliography? Or does your Bibliography include references to articles and books that are nowhere to be found in your main text? That’s not a good thing! Not only does it look unprofessional: not citing an article or book is considered to be an act of plagiarism! Bad referencing is therefore something you definitely want to avoid before you hand in your thesis.

Continue reading “How do I fix missing references in my Bibliography”

Finished your dissertation? Check our 5 point checklist before you submit!


Finished! After many months of reading literature, collecting data and doing your research you are finally ready to hand in your thesis and take that well-deserved holiday. Congratulations!

But wait! Whether it’s because of immense excitement, relief or happiness: each year I receive a couple of dissertations from students that miss some elementary parts! Not only may this have a negative effect on the evaluation of your thesis, but often these are minor details that can easily be avoided, especially if you know how to spot them. The following are the five most common things students forget when they hand in their thesis:

1. Page numbers

As trivial as this may sound, every year I receive a couple of dissertations without page numbers! Such a shame and completely unnecessary, as this is something that you can easily add in a word processor. Therefore, make sure that your pages are numbered (except for your cover page), and that the number is visible on all pages of your thesis (excluding your front cover).

Continue reading “Finished your dissertation? Check our 5 point checklist before you submit!”

3 reference managers that will help you cite articles perfectly in your thesis


Tired of manually adding references to your document? Frustrated that you always seem to miss one or two articles in your Bibliography? Want to say goodbye to these problems forever? Say hello to reference managers! In this post, I will discuss three popular and free reference managers:


I will also share which of these three I personally use, and a handy table with an overview of these options to help you choose the one that is right for you. At the end of this post, I will also share a fourth option, Authorea, which may be of interest to you if you don’t want to bother using a separate reference manager.

Okay, but what is a reference manager?!

Not familiar with using a (separate) reference manager? Let’s start with a quick introduction!

What is a reference manager?

First things first: what does a reference manager do? Basically, a reference manager has two main purposes. Firstly, it’s a piece of software that allows you to build a database with all your references (and with some managers: a database of all your full-text articles in PDF). Usually, this database is stored in a separate file on your computer (but a reference database that is stored ‘in the cloud’ is also possible: see some of the options below). Secondly, a reference managers acts as a link between this database and your favorite word processor, such as Microsoft Word, OpenOffice or LyX. Whenever you want to cite an article from your database, the reference manager picks the correct reference and adds it to your document.

Continue reading “3 reference managers that will help you cite articles perfectly in your thesis”

How to recognize a scientific article

Sample lesson

ThesisCore is an online course that helps you write your Bachelor’s or Master’s dissertation: from start to finish!

This is a sample lesson from the course:
How to develop your thesis topic.

In this lesson we discuss how to distinguish scientific articles, i.e. articles which you can use as a source in your dissertation, from non-scientific articles, i.e. those which you cannot use.

Learn to spot the difference between scientific and non-scientific literature.


Now that you know your topic, it’s time to get familiar with some literature. You may wonder: what should I read for my thesis at this stage? The answer is relatively straightforward: anything that interests you! But as you may suspect, you cannot use everything for your thesis. There is a difference between literature that may help you (further) develop your idea, and literature that you can use as a reference for your dissertation: scientific articles.

Scientific articles are research reports, published in academic journals. This is what sets them apart from research published elsewhere, such as research published in popular magazines, internet blogs, the newspaper or television. In your thesis, you must use scientific articles. Therefore, it is important to be able to recognize a scientific article.

Continue reading “How to recognize a scientific article”