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Lund University

Writing and sources

A guide on writing and the use of sources intended for students at the department of Biologi and CEC.

Dissertations and student theses

In this section, dissertations and theses from other students at are presented. Some of these are scientific, whereas others are not. When writing assignments at university you will be expected to cite scientific material, and you therefore need to know how to identify these sources. Advice on how to determine whether a source is scientific can be found in the section Evaluating scientific sources.

Dissertations 

When completing a doctoral education, the student presents his/her research in the form of a dissertation. Some dissertations are monographs, whereas others are compilation theses consisting of several individual research papers. Monographs are usually primary sources, whereas compilation theses are not. The papers in a compilation thesis are most often published as articles in scientific journals, either before the dissertation is printed or at a later date. If the research has been published as an article in a scientific journal, the published version should be used as the source. Dissertations do not undergo formal peer review. The content of a dissertation is instead evaluated by experts in the form of an opponent and an examining committee, but the work is printed beforehand and can thus not be revised after the evaluation.  

Student theses 

The use of a bachelor’s or master’s theses as scientific sources is not recommended. A student thesis can, at least on the master level, contain original research, but this is not required of an undergraduate thesis. A thesis may look like a scientific publication and follow the IMRaD model (Introduction, Method, Results and Discussion), but it does not count as a scientific publication unless it includes primary research. Even if the thesis contains original research, it is important to keep in mind that the standard of a student thesis is usually not as high as that of a scientific article and the evaluation process is not as rigorous as during a formal peer-review.