I am writing a report based on activities performed during my internship as a webmaster. It is to be written in the format of a thesis in APA format. In the report I reference examples that I found on the Internet. However, I have been asked to include references to books.

Is it okay to include references to books in my thesis-style report even if I have not quoted these books?

  • 1
    i cannot parse "have quotes on the text". – Aaron Brick Nov 12 '16 at 21:15
  • I attempted to clean up the English a bit. Hopefully it still captures your question. If not, then edit further. – Jeromy Anglim Nov 14 '16 at 5:47

Felix, the short answer is no. Though you can reference a book from which you did not include a verbatim quote, but you must not ref a book you have not read and used.

Books have a legitimate role even in the life of a webmaster. I am sure the information you looked up on Stackoverflow is also covered in books like, for example Red_Hat_Enterprise_Linux-7-System_Administrators_Guide, Modern PHP: New Features and Good Practices or Hacking: Beginner to Expert Guide to Computer Hacking. Have half a dozen of these substantial reference volumes at hand and use them. Your teachers aim to build a practice they you will follow later on, the practice of using several reliable sources for the information and knowledge you gather.

  • Thank you for the answer, i ask the same to my teacher and all they said is "add book references" i'm going to modify the text to add the appropriate references. – Felix J Maxwell Nov 13 '16 at 1:30
  • If the question is "Is it okay to include references to books in my thesis-style report even if I have not quoted these books?", your first paragraph reads like the short answer should actually be yes. – O. R. Mapper Nov 14 '16 at 9:10
  • @O.R.Mapper - Absolutely, provided you actually read those books, you indeed must reference them. What I'd try to avoid is to bloat a ref list to impress people without having earned the privilege. – Lefty G Balogh Nov 14 '16 at 9:46

Although there are a couple of people who practice this taboo of adding references without actually referring them, it is ill-advised.

Nevertheless, references to established books add credibility to your work.If your teacher insists to refer a book, then refer it in your work, then cite it.

Referring it doesn't necessarily mean you have to include in your work any textual content that the cited material provides. You may refer here and here to get an idea of when you could/should cite a material. In addition, you may appropriately cite a source

  • if you believe that the content of the source would help the reader to understand the foundation/extension of your work.
  • if you have derived an idea based on the content mentioned in the source.
  • if the source supports the claim you wish to establish
  • if it contains an application/use-case of any method you propose
  • Why is it ill-advised? I have been told numerous times that scanning a bibliography of a paper simply to find a list of thematically related works is a good idea when trying to get an overview of a topic. For this use-case, it seems beneficial to have more references, even though some might not be mentioned in the text. For any other use-case, I do not see how there are any negative effects. – O. R. Mapper Nov 14 '16 at 9:14
  • @O.R.Mapper Actually, I support your claim. I meant people who didn't even open a page in the book, but cited it for the mere sake of reference count and portray false credibility. I'll make the points clear in the post. – Ébe Isaac Nov 14 '16 at 9:17
  • Aah, sorry then - I suppose the verb "referring" is ambiguous in this context. – O. R. Mapper Nov 14 '16 at 9:35
  • @O.R.Mapper Agreed – Ébe Isaac Nov 14 '16 at 9:38

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