I got for a review one Master thesis in the field of computer science. The student mostly uses internet blogs and some lecture slides found on Internet as a source of information. This is a bit of surprise for me because in natural sciences we do not trust such sources. Typically one needs to cite a paper or a book. But I am not sure about computer sciences: what is the standard in this field?

Edit in response to a question:

In order to explain R² in Statistics the student uses this blog.

In my opinion this is a rather standard stuff and some good book should be cited instead. Moreover, this suggests that the student avoids reading books.


2 Answers 2


I would expect a masters thesis to reasonably thoroughly cite relevant scholarly literature. It should provide evidence the author is familiar with important scholarly sources and can relate them to the thesis.

It is perfectly fine to cite nonscholarly sources, including blogs and online lecture slides, in addition to scholarly sources.

I do not believe there is a discipline where a written masters thesis is required and citations of scholarly sources are not expected.

  • Just to understand you better, you say that scholarly sources are necessary, but "grey" literature can be cited in addition, right?
    – yarchik
    Jun 20 at 6:52

I think the blogs you link to in the comment are likely to be reliable, and easier to learn from than from a textbook.

Whether the level of exposition in the thesis and this kind of research are acceptable in a Master's thesis depends a lot on the context. You should ask the person who asked you to undertake the review.

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