I'm writing my Thesis and I found a brilliant book that helps me write it in a coherent manner. Consider this:

The author, Smith, talks about Approach XYZ and writes:

XYZ is about ..., first used by [1], that has more or less four common themes, theme A [2], theme B [3], theme C [4] and theme D [5].

So in my Thesis i say.

We will align with XYZ. As explained by Smith [0] (For whom we assign the reference [0] for the purpose of this question), there are four themes, and they are relevant to our study because bla bla bla. [2][3][4][5].

So my question is this.

Do I need to cite everyone? Or would citing Smith, who in turn cited everyone be sufficient?

Or is there no clear cut line? Perhaps I only need to cite those themes where I go beyond what Smith writes in his book or how they are affecting me directly?

  • I've written things like "see [7] and the references cited there", but this was in the context of general background information, not material that I was quoting. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 17:07
  • 1
    I feel like this question is a duplicate, but I can't find the exact question to link at the moment. Anyway, whenever possible you should always cite primary sources, so the reader knows where the ideas are coming from, in this case from Authors 1, 2, 3 etc, not just Smith himself. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 21:47


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