Question
Asked 22nd Dec, 2013

Can PhD candidates quote their own Master`s thesis in their dissertation?

A discussion took place among colleagues regarding whether a PhD candidate can drop any quotation from his/her Master degree thesis.

Most recent answer

21st Jul, 2020
Bujar Bajçinovci
University of Prishtina
Yes.

Popular Answers (1)

26th Dec, 2013
Stefan Voss
University of Hamburg
The obvious answer would be "Yes, of course." This even accounts for any type of grey literature, bachelor thesis, etc.
Then, why do we even have this question or discussion?
Supervisors do not always have the time to develop a paper based on good ideas provided by students and students might fail due to their inexperienced way of presentation.
Let me make a big jump and criticize many of the recent ("so-called" structured) literature reviews that focus on common data bases, works with Impact factors and alike. But they neglect grey literature or sources. If there is an interest on the topic and knowledge about ideas in grey literature, this must be inlcuded. So, if a good idea in a thesis, let it be a starting idea from a supervisor or a student or an extension or modification from the same persons, then get it in.
Food for thought, indeed. We should not primarily be interested in getting papers into the CV, we should strive to advance science.
8 Recommendations

All Answers (32)

23rd Dec, 2013
Sue Shepherd
University of Kent
It is perfectly acceptable to cite an idea or finding from your own previous work, if this is what you have in mind
2 Recommendations
23rd Dec, 2013
Ufuk Turen
I cannot see any problem. Why not??
2 Recommendations
24th Dec, 2013
Mohammad H. Alomari
University of Liverpool
i can't see any problem if all quotations are correctly cited... but I prefer to ask my students to rewrite the quoted paragraph in addition to citation, in such cases.
2 Recommendations
24th Dec, 2013
Rauf I Azam
University of Lahore
Well we cite sources, mainly, for two reasons. One we cite the data sources in case some data has been taken from them for analysis purposes, second, we cite documents to refer to research findings/inferences reported in them. Now if it is the former case I don't find any harm in citing a scholar's own previous work. However, in the later case I would recommend caution because one should always build his/her research on, as much as possibly, sound foundations that may not be possible unless a research finding is peer reviewed, published and/or widely available to the research community for critique. MS work is usually unpublished and not widely reviewed so it may not be able to provide that sound foundation.
Having considered this precaution I don't find any harm quoting someone's own previous work.
5 Recommendations
26th Dec, 2013
Stefan Voss
University of Hamburg
The obvious answer would be "Yes, of course." This even accounts for any type of grey literature, bachelor thesis, etc.
Then, why do we even have this question or discussion?
Supervisors do not always have the time to develop a paper based on good ideas provided by students and students might fail due to their inexperienced way of presentation.
Let me make a big jump and criticize many of the recent ("so-called" structured) literature reviews that focus on common data bases, works with Impact factors and alike. But they neglect grey literature or sources. If there is an interest on the topic and knowledge about ideas in grey literature, this must be inlcuded. So, if a good idea in a thesis, let it be a starting idea from a supervisor or a student or an extension or modification from the same persons, then get it in.
Food for thought, indeed. We should not primarily be interested in getting papers into the CV, we should strive to advance science.
8 Recommendations
30th Dec, 2013
Mahfuz Judeh
Applied Science Private University
Thank you Dr Stefan Voss. Your explanation has been very helpful.
1 Recommendation
19th Apr, 2014
Wilfred Isioma Ukpere
University of Johannesburg
Yes, of course, researchers build and develop on their previous work. If a current study is related to a previous study, why not? Cited our previous work gives validity and currency to our previous and current study.
19th Apr, 2014
Muhammad Mohiuddin
Laval University
I am also in the affirmative!!!
27th May, 2014
A.G. Ramakrishnan
Indian Institute of Science
If Master's thesis material is unpublished, one can upload the thesis on Research Gate itself and request for open review. This way, your work gets read by peers and you may also get meaningful feedback and suggestions for improvements and future work. In time, if relevant, you may also quote from that, since now it is in public domain and has also been made available for public scrutiny.
1 Recommendation
27th May, 2014
Wilfred Isioma Ukpere
University of Johannesburg
One is allowed to quote both his/her published and unpublished academic works in his/her PhD study. That is one way of publicising ones previous academic work and record, particularly if the work relates to the current study.
1 Recommendation
27th May, 2014
A.G. Ramakrishnan
Indian Institute of Science
I fully agree. If it is relevant, we must quote. If we don't quote our own relevant work, then how do you expect others to quote your work?
1 Recommendation
11th Nov, 2014
Patrice Poyet
Independent Researcher
Anything relevant should be quoted as long as publicly available. And as A.G. Ramakrishnan mentioned, RG enables people to make these documents - unpublished in peer review journals or even conferences - available to everybody !
1 Recommendation
11th Aug, 2015
Mahamad Nabab Alam
National Institute of Technology, Warangal
Yes off course..
12th Aug, 2015
Muhammad Mohiuddin
Laval University
I DO THINK the same that there is no harm to cite own work if relevant. Master's thesis is itself a scholarly work and no wrong if properly cited.
Thanks
4th Sep, 2019
Robert Mugo
Egerton University
Yes, in research you divorce the author and previous works. In my opinion, as long as your work was published in peer reviewed journals, you can quote in in any article or academic thesis
17th Sep, 2019
Wilfred Isioma Ukpere
University of Johannesburg
Of course, you can cite yourself if your citation from your Masters thesis is relevant to your PhD thesis. Although, one should not abuse it.
29th Sep, 2019
Andrey Zahariev
D. A. Tsenov Academy of Economics - Svishtov
The time line is important! The Masters's theses usually belongs to earlier stage of develmoment of scientific research. Therefore citation of your own work is OK but always with clear information when the paper is presented to the academic authorities even it is better if the departmental policy is to keep an own internal library with student's masters theses. RG obviously is the best solution to put your earlier work in public with "time line" notificatition!
2 Recommendations
20th Oct, 2019
Ayse Seyma Turgut
Kocaeli University
If your PhD thesis applies to your master thesis, and if you revealed unique empirical findings or discussions in it, why not?
24th Oct, 2019
Ambrose Oloveze
Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong in that especially where the work have been published in peer reviewed journals. In addition, it is not wrong to do so when it has relevance to Ph.D thesis
28th Oct, 2019
Abbas Ghanbari Baghestan
Lecturer at University of Tehran (UT) & Adjunct Professor at Universiti Science Malaysia (USM)
Of course you can if its relevant and previously documented. I had a PhD student whom I taught her book in the class. Her book also was one of the main sources available for her PhD thesis. So, why there should be doubt on that?
Unless you wana raise the issue of self citation as a tool for self promotion. In this sense better be a bit careful.
15th Nov, 2019
Sharif Hosen
Universiti Putra Malaysia
Yes.A PhD candidate can cite his MS thesis.
19th Nov, 2019
Syed Abdul Rehman Bukhari
Mohammad Ali Jinnah University
Thesis work submitted to any University barely ever publish in recognized journals. APA regulates citations; a researcher must cite published work only, either a book or journal article.
So according to APA you cannot cite your own work if that wasn't published cause future researchers shall not have access to that unpublished work--for literature review, hypothesis development, devising methodology, etc.
I hope this help!
29th Nov, 2019
Adedayo Samuel Sunday
Olabisi Onabanjo University
You can, but your disertation must have be published before you can do that.
30th Nov, 2019
Vaibhav Misra
Yes, they can, but they need to be aware of self-plagiarism. They need to cite their previous work.
8th Dec, 2019
Alli Noah
Federal Polytechnic Offa
YES, you can site your Masters Thesis in your PhD dissertation. However, you must be wary of self plagiarism. Or better yet, you can confirm from your PhD supervisor for better clarification.
1 Recommendation
20th Dec, 2019
Md. Tofael Hossain Majumder
Comilla University
You can cite but be aware regarding self plagiarism.
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