Internet sources make writing a thesis so much easier... BUT supervisors and reviewers do not always appreciate internet sources and can reject them altogether... So what are you supposed to do?

Be really careful! Because many internet sources are not internet sources at all. We’ll share with you how to find out whether the source is a real Internet source or not. NEVER quote real internet sources in the thesis!

These are the classics that must not be quoted:

  • Wikipedia has contributions of all kinds and in all languages,
  • Script by student Maxalona,
  • Tweet from Dr. Maxalena,
  • Forum post by Prof. Maxaluna,
  • Social media contribution by PhD student Maxalina,
  • E-books without authors as simple PDFs.

How can I differentiate between real and fake Internet sources?

  • If authorship is not visible, find a different source.
  • If authorship cannot be verified, it may be fake.
  • Sites that allow YOU yourself to write and upload this kind of file and its contents are not reliable.
  • The owner of the website is not clearly identifiable or it is a large and anonymous platform.
  • The content cannot be found anywhere else, in any book or source such as a press release or publication.

How do I use internet sources for the thesis?

Rule 1: Make sure to use internet sources for inspiration and to gain primary insight related to your bachelor’s or master’s thesis. Wikipedia can often be a good start. Many authors are either passionate about the subject or they just brazenly copied content from reputable sources…

Rule 2: Use Wikipedia for YOUR first overview and YOUR introduction to a subject area. BUT then take a close look at the quoted sources at the end of the articles and explore those sources.

Rule 3: Search Internet sources for links to reputable sources or authors.

Rule 4: Inspire? YES! Quote? NO! (especially NOT Wikipedia!)

Exception: If an online source is the object of investigation of your work, such as Twitter campaigns, Wikipedia as a modern encyclopedia or forums, Facebook etc., these sources can of course be cited.

The best tip: NEVER ask your supervisor if you are allowed to use internet sources!

YOUR question in wording: Can I use internet sources like Wikipedia or scripts?

YOUR (hidden) message: Can I please write my thesis and make my life easy by copy&paste?

What does this question mean to your supervisor?

Variant 1: He/she is too lazy to work unlike his/her colleagues. Everyone else is going to the library and reading real books.

Variant 2: He/she cannot write a thesis without chewing the cud from the Internet. Therefore, he/she doesn't deserve a degree...

So: NEVER ask for permission to use internet resources in the text. NEVER!

It’s also in your best interest to make a good impression on your supervisor so make sure to ask only vital questions that you can’t find the answer for anywhere else.

What are not real internet sources and therefore GOOD thesis sources?

The following sources can be found on the Internet in full text BUT they are not REAL internet sources!

  1. Articles from trade journals that can be downloaded from the Internet. The references for articles like this NEVER include a URL address as the location.
  2. Publications by official organizations such as ministries, local authorities, research institutes. These are real documents. You can only cite the website as a reference.
  3. Legal texts published on the Internet.

You can use these references for your bachelor’s or master’s thesis without hesitation. However, you should NOT mention the articles and laws or the online source, but the correct source information.

When it comes to publications by official organizations, it is unavoidable to indicate the Internet address or so-called URL. These documents have been put on the internet, so they are accessible to everyone.

Good luck writing your text!

Silvio and the Team Aristolo

PS: Check out the Thesis-ABC and the Thesis Guide for writing a bachelor or master thesis in 31 days.

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