Bibliography query


I'm on a mission to submit very soon and I'm checking all my references are in place. They were not as well organised as I intended unfortuntely. They are mostly journal papers but there are a few book references. I vaguely remember that you are supposed to put in the actual page number when you cite a book - but unfortunately in most instances I have no note of the actual page number! How necessary is this - anyone else referenced books without page numbers???


you mean when you quote as in "the interpretative contract is realised" (Iser, 1979: 67) ?

Hmm in that case, of you are following the Harvard method, you need page refs for books...on the other hand if you are prepared to remove quotes do that...

Sort out all the quotes from books which you cant do without...and copy a chunk and search on google...if it is on google books, it wil come up (make sure you get the year and edition changed on the ref if need be)....for the ones that dont come on google, you need to get the book...but usually google books solves 75% of the problem..

a couple of days ago in this forum someone suggested putting in random numbers...sounds fine to me, unless there is a really interesting bit that sparks off something in an examiner's head and off they rush ti fetch the book from the shelf and lo and behold!

good luck!


I'm allowed to use basically any referecing style as long as it's consistent. Not sure what you'd call the style I'm using but it's fairly commonplace I think. There are no actual quotes (well, maybe one somewhere...) - so is it only actual quotes that need a page ref? I thought it was basically any information from a book rather than a journal. I'm much too paranoid to put in random numbers. But I am wondering what to do with the few that have page numbers - I guess I will have to leave them out as well for consistency.

I do wish I'd been a bit more thorough about referencing my references so I know exactly where to find them again (and no they are not all in Endnote - that would be too easy....).


As far as I'm aware a book's page number(s) must be stated whether or not there is a direct quote, and the only exception to this is when referring to the book as a whole (eg. the works of Adam Smith...).

This is my experience from using legal citations - but I think with Harvard it's only necessary to page number when quotes are used, as PhDbug says.

I guess it depends on your discipline. If you veer more towards law or business, I'd recommend putting in page numbers.


At my uni (just double checked) it is page numbers for quoting, no page numbers for citing. (But googling I saw different) In the way I write, I sometimes include citations which are more conceptual so it would not be possible to give page numbers without being so broad as to be meaningless, whereas a quote obviously comes from a specific place, so makes perfect sense to me. (This is what is described as Harvard at my uni)

Re random page numbers, seriously! That sounds crazy to me. You're giving the examiner a gift to undermine your whole thesis (once revealed as a cheat, doubt is cast and the onus is on you to prove you're not) if she spots one, which if they are familiar with the text would not be hard. There are books that I would spot if the page number were dodgy, not because I know every page but you know where in the book it will fall. (And if I were an examiner I would spot check. Am I just anal??) Which makes me think it might not be so hard to find the page numbers if you need them. Of course more peripheral stuff maybe not. Btw on that note, I know an examiner who whilst he was reading the thesis would tick off in the biblio every reference that was mentioned, to make sure all in the biblio are in the text, so I think pages numbers wouldn't be beyond the realm of his checking.


Your department handbook should have referencing details but I would say you always need to page number provided you're not just referring to the whole book in general. Certainly for a quote or close reference to a section you need pages. However, Google is definitely the place to start. That was even recommended to me as a strategy in research training!


OK I've had a look through the Havard system and they recommend page numbers, espeically for quotes - so I think that's the advice for me! I don't fancy trawling through looing for page numbers - I'm trying to submit on April 1st :p

Looks like I need to standardize my online refs too - they are a pain.

I'm not remotely law-assiciated - more biology/genetics/psychology. So thankfully there are very few book references. Doing the bibiography is fantastically tedious. But hopefully the end is in sight8-)


There is no dept style as such - you choose a style. There are very few formatting requirements altogether.

I can't google for the pages as they are not quotes or even nearly quotes. I'll go back over the book entries - I'm pretty sure I've only quoted from books I actually own, thankfully. So I could just set aside an eveing to trawl through them (groan.....).


Ouch...that sounds like a long evening - good luck! :-)


I will fortify myself with red wine.

I've also got a bottle of expresso coffee liqueur which I have been saving for the mad final push to submit.


I've just submitted and only put in specific page numbers for actual quotes and relevant sections of a discussion. For books where the whole work refences a particular subject I just used the author and year, in the usual Harvard style. Though I did misplace my copy of a book AND my written notes for one author, so I missed out actual page numbers for some references and am desperately hoping the examiners will think it's just typos on my part.... I got so knackered that it got to the point where I just thought ok, no time left and I know it's wrong, but that one can be a 'typo' correction, just so I could get the damn thing in on time.

Good luck with it! (up)


That's how I feel Ruby. My urge for perfectionism is seriously overshadowed by my urge to submit. Every time I see a potential problem or missing doodad I just think - what is the quickest and simplest solution? The delete button can be helpful.......

Do you know when your viva will be?


I was like that. I kept realising there was no time to find a reference so I just deleted the odd clause or rewrote it so I didn't need a reference... at least I just omitted something rather than making a false claim. No point at that stage in adding stuff because it's interesting! I decided it was best to have 'minor' typo corrections like mechanical bibliography mistakes, rather than in my overall logic for each discussion that might entail massive 'major' corrections. I thought a type seemed more acceptable for some reason than a major intellectual flaw in my reasoning, though one wouldn't want any mistakes if one had a choice obviously! It was more about getting the thing in on time by then. Someone asked whether I was going to apply for another extension but I couldn't bear the idea of it dragging on even longer. I think my mindset changed over the last 6 months and I really wanted to submit at that time, so a bit of short-term misery and stress was worth it to knock it out.

Having said all that, I've no idea what the examiners will say. No viva date yet, but the current estimate is May or even June because of Easter. I hope it's sooner rather than later, or my summer will be spent doing corrections. At least the end is really in sight now, as it will be for you!!


I use the APA style of referencing and it only requires page numbers from a book if you are using a direct quote. Otherwise, author and date is sufficient. The main thing of course is to be consistent, so choose an approach and stick to it. Good luck with submitting by April 1st - interesting date to choose! :-)



i think page numbers are necessary for both quoting and citing. otherwise the only other possible option is writing it in ur style.