I am writing my master thesis and I am not sure how to reference/cite different sources in a list.

I have a small list like:

The benefits of an "incredibly interesting topic" are:

  • benefit 1 (ref 1)
  • benefit 2 (ref 2)
  • benefit 3 (ref 2)
  • benefit 4 (ref 1)
  • benefit 5 (ref 3)

I think that putting the reference after each point is a bit intrusive, but I don't know how else can I do it.

Is there any convention of how to reference in this scenario?

1 Answer 1


I think the method you've proposed, while cumbersome and intrusive, is also the correct way to do things, as you will be assigning a specific item to a specific source. That is the point of citing original source material in the first place. So while it may be somewhat unsightly (particularly if using a Harvard-like style in which the authors are listed as part of the reference), what you're doing has the advantage of being unambiguous and completely legitimate.

  • thanks. I supposed that was the case, but I needed some confirmation since my supervisor is unavailable recently :S Commented May 29, 2012 at 12:59
  • 1
    one way to make it less "ugly" is to inline the list rather than separating out as bullets
    – Suresh
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 17:40
  • 2
    @Suresh: That actually depends on how many references there are, and how they're cited. It also depends on the length of the individual items. Some of the ugliest paragraphs I've seen are list-based descriptions with tons of Harvard-style references. It's nigh unreadable.
    – aeismail
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 21:41
  • fair enough. And yes, unless you use short numeric references it could be a nightmare.
    – Suresh
    Commented May 30, 2012 at 22:43

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