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A citation is a reference to the source of information used in your research. Any time you
directly quote, paraphrase or summarize the essential elements of someone else's idea in your
work, an in-text citation should follow. An in-text citation is a brief notation within the text of
your paper or presentation which refers the reader to a fuller notation, or end-of-paper citation,
that provides all necessary details about that source of information. Direct quotations should be
surrounded by quotations marks and are generally used when the idea you want to capture is best
expressed by the source.  Paraphrasing and summarizing involve rewording an essential idea
from someone else's work, usually to either condense the point or to make it better fit your
writing style. You do not have to cite your own ideas, unless they have been published. And you
do not have to cite common knowledge, or information that most people in your audience would
know without having to look it up. Referencing is also a way to give credit to the writers from
whom you have borrowed words and ideas. By citing the work of a particular scholar, you
acknowledge and respect the intellectual property rights of that researcher.

Parenthetical Notes

In MLA and APA styles, in-text citations usually appear as parenthetical notes (sometimes called
parenthetical documentation). They are called parenthetical notes because brief information
about the source, usually the author's name, year of publication, and page number, is enclosed in

A few of the common referencing styles and their origins

APA stands for "American Psychological Association" and comes from the association of the
same name. Although originally drawn up for use in psychological journals, the APA style is
now widely used in the social sciences, in education, in business, and numerous other disciplines.
MLA comes from the "Modern Language Association of America" and is used mainly in English
and the Humanities. At the end of your research paper, full citations should be listed in order
according to the citation style you are using:

In MLA style, this list is called a Works Cited page.  

Author’s last, First Name . Title(italicized) . Publisher , Date.

In APA style, it is called a References page.

Author’s Last name, Initials . (Year) . Title (italicized) . Place of publication : Publisher.

Regardless of what citation style is being used, there are key pieces of information that need to
be collected in order to create the citation.

For books and/or journals:

 Author name
 Title of publication 
 Article title (if using a journal)
 Date of publication
 Place of publication
 Publisher
 Volume number of a journal, magazine or encyclopedia
 Page number(s)


A bibliography, generally, is a list of all the sources you used to generate your ideas about the
topic including those cited in your assignment as well as those you did not cite.The etymology of
this term can be semantically traced back to the New Latin bibliographia. It is a  Greek word
meaning  “copying of books.” bibli (books) and graphia -graphy (writing) . The purpose of a
bibliography is to allow the reader to trace the sources used.

 the authors' names

 the titles of the works
 the names and locations of the companies that published your copies of the sources
 the dates your copies were published
 the page numbers of your sources (if they are part of multi-source volumes)
Three Basic Purposes To select materials for the collection To locate materials To Identify
and verify information

The bibliography is the key element of a thesis which is used to judge the quality of the work
done by the researcher. It exhibits your critical thinking, it proves you have read and understood
your sources, it establishes your work as a valid source and you as a competent researcher, and it
situates your study and topic in a continuing professional conversation. And lastly, your
bibliography might stimulate other researchers to carry on further work on your chosen topic of

The difference between the two is this: A list of references contains only the sources that you
specifically cite within your paper or essay. A bibliography, on the other hand, can contain
sources you read and which readers might find valuable to know about even though you didn't
specifically cite them within the body of your writing. The bibliography option gives you the
opportunity to show how much background reading you did to inform your writing. For example,
suppose you wrote a paper about the most recent worldwide economic downturn and you read 50
different articles about it. When writing the paper, you only end up citing 20 of those articles.
But you did read those other 30 articles, which shows a lot of effort, although you didn't need to
specifically refer to them in the paper. If you include a bibliography at the end of your paper, it
would include entries for all 50 articles even though you only cited 20 of them in the text.

Epistemology and theory in Research design

Design research is not simply concerned with speculations regarding the relationship of theory
and practice.

Research, Knowledge and Epistemology

There are multiple definitions of research, many of which share three core dimensions. First,
research is a process or activity; second, its purpose is the generation of new knowledge
(Kothari, 2004); and third, it conforms, or should conform, with specific quality requirements for
knowledge, including the requirements implied by the labels “scientific” and “objective”. the
dimensions are linked to research design, which is shaped by the principles of research
methodology. We define research methodology as the body of methods and principles which
form the basis of research, including the description and explanation of research designs. Given
that research is an activity leading, mainly, to the generation of new knowledge, and that
epistemology considers the nature, limits, and justification of human knowledge (Hofer &
Pintrich, 2004), it is clear that an understanding of epistemology is pertinent to undertaking
research. In this sense, research, epistemology, and knowledge are interconnected.

Knowledge has certain prerequisites for it to be possessed by a person. First, knowledge is

formulated and, to a large extent, exists in the mind. Second, in order for knowledge to exist, a
person must have a belief about it. A belief, therefore, is a prerequisite for, but not equivalent to,
knowledge. The relative importance of meaning or belief in the construction of knowledge is,
however, contested, with opposing perspectives such as those by relativists and realists.

Relativists postulate that knowledge is based primarily on meaning and is specific to a particular
individual, group, or society, being largely shaped by how they interpret or understand it. The
realists postulate that there is an “objective truth” which exists outside of the observer (Hofer &
Pintrich, 2004). This implies that if one has a belief about a phenomenon and this belief does not
match an objective truth, then this belief does not constitute knowledge.

Personal epistemology reflects how an individual’s belief impacts on cognitive processes

including how s/he thinks and reasons. An example offered by Hofer and Pintrich (2004, p. 3)
explains that students receiving the same instruction in a classroom may view knowledge
differently. On the one hand, they may consider it to be a “set of accumulated facts,” on the other
hand, they may view it as “an integrated set of constructs.” In this respect, they may view
themselves as “passive receptors” or “active constructors” of knowledge.

The development of individual belief systems is therefore fundamental to research. It is the

means by which observation of a physical or non-physical reality is translated through rationality
into “truth claims.” Moon and Blackman (2014) portrayed this relationship between reality,
mind, and knowledge as being variously constructed depending on the observer’s personal
epistemology. For instance, objectivists would consider a single reality which is independent of
the observer, whose task is then to develop knowledge based on the observation of that reality.
On the other hand, constructivists would believe that meaning is derived from the researcher’s
construction of reality, and we should both acknowledge and respect the subjectivity of the
process through which observations are translated to knowledge.

Variations in personal epistemology can result in researchers using either an interpretive-

hermeneutic or an empirical-analytical approach to address the same set of research questions. In
summary, research is an activity leading to the production of knowledge, where the latter must
conform to an acknowledged set of epistemic criteria (Marais, 2012). The activity, and hence its
outcome, can be influenced by the researcher’s personal epistemology, which is itself dynamic.

Epistemological Roots

The basic contention of the constructionist argument is that reality is socially constructed by and
between the persons who experience it (Gergen, 1999). It is a consequence of the context in
which the action occurs and is shaped by the cultural, historical, political, and social norms that
operate within that context and time: And that reality can be different for each of us based on our
unique understandings of the world and our experience of it (Berger & Luckman, 1966). Reality
in this case is completely subjective and need not be something that can be shared by anyone else
but at the same time it is independent of the person living it. In contrast, empiricism, which is
the foundation of positivism, views reality as universal, objective, and quantifiable. Therefore
from this perspective, it is argued that reality is the same for you as it is for me and through the
application of science we can identify and ‘see’ that shared reality. By accepting the social
constructionist view of the world that reality is constrained by the socio-cultural-historical-
temporal space in which it occurs and by the persons involved in it. we are required to use
research methodologies that are able to extract the degree of detail often obscured by more
traditional methods. Qualitative methodologies provide the means to seek a deeper understanding
and to explore the nuances of experiences not available through quantification. By utilising these
methodologies we are able to expand on the ‘what’ questions of human existence asked by
positivism to include the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions asked by constructionism. Positivism
emphasises the individual as the sole creator of his or her destiny and the binary notion of
self/other is reinforced, whereas qualitative methodologies accept the person and society as co-
constructors of his or her reality and the synergy of person and society is recognized. Friedman
(2003:520) argues that the bases of theory construction in all disciplines are empirical facts
and explicit articulate statements. According to Friedman this is because those who cannot
observe facts cannot theorize them and explicit articulation allows us to contrast, test,
consider, share, and reflect on the theories we develop.