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In my master's thesis I am building on two earlier works of myself.
-> One is a study project I've done together with two fellow students,
-> the other one is an assignment I did on my own.

If I'm using results from these, should I include them in the Bibliography?

Arguments against including them might be:

  • They are not published, a reader of my thesis therefore wouldn't be able to look these sources up.
    (They don't qualify as quotable)
  • Also the effort involved in this works was much less than the amount of work I'm doing for my thesis.
    (Some doubts on them beeing worth quoting)
  • And finally I am the author or one of the authors of these works.
    (I am not using foreign thought material)

Nevertheless it feels somehow incomplete to just leave them out.

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2 Answers

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Are these works available in any published form or any other permanent online form, such as a technical report? If so then cite. If not, then there's nothing to cite. In my opinion, it would look strange to cite a project done in some previous course.

What you can do is put an acknowledgment in the back of your thesis/paper to your previous "co-authors".

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There is a paper I published on this subject. I'll definitely cite this paper. But the project and the assignment I mentioned are neither published nor available online. –  kdzia Dec 6 '12 at 16:00
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In your particular case it would have no sense to cite your previous projects. As Dave Clarke wrote, the reader would have no chance to access the materials anyway, there were not published and probably there are not recognize by society as a scientific work. Of course, you should mention the co-authors contributions in the thesis, it is polite.


However, if we would like to generalize the question a little.

If you are building your results on your previous work, you have to cite or you would commit auto-plagiarism which is not acceptable in scientific writing. Simply, to present the same results more times is not allowed even if there are not published in a journal.

In case you know that the reader would not be able to access your previous work (archive of your University where your thesis would be) you still have to cite. In this case, you can mention for example the chapter, or the picture you are referring to and put the important fact/results from you previous work to the text you are writing.

In this case none of the 3 arguments you mentioned is relevant.

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But a class assignment is not usually considered "research work product" in any form. In fact, adding it to the thesis would be one way to make it into a work product. –  Suresh Dec 6 '12 at 19:58
    
yes yes, sure, the second part of the answer was meant in general term. For example, if you would be writing an article, and you would like to put something from your thesis. The thesis is considered as research work product because thanks to it, you made you title. So you should cite it if you would like to use something from it. –  MasterPJ Dec 6 '12 at 21:34
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