7.3.6 Volume Number

Like edition numbers, volume numbers usually appear immediately after the title of a book and use a standard abbreviation along with an Arabic numeral (‘Vol. 1’ or ‘vol. 2’), although Roman numerals are sometimes used instead (‘Vol. I’ or ‘vol. II’); the format of both the numbers and the abbreviation should be the same in all instances. Unlike edition numbers, however, volume numbers are required for first volumes as well as any subsequent ones, although you may refer to only one volume of a set of books or to all volumes in the set. In the latter case, the number of volumes rather than the volume numbers should be recorded using an Arabic numeral after the main title: ‘3 Vols.’ or ‘5 vols.’ The volume numbers of conference proceedings are sometimes recorded in the same way as they are for books and sometimes via the method used for journal volume numbers (see Section 7.3.8).

7.3.7 Book in Which the Source is Contained

If the main reference is to a chapter or essay within a book (including conference proceedings), the title and editor(s) of the book as well as the page numbers on which the chapter or essay can be found must be included in the reference as well. These often appear in one cluster, separated by commas.

  • The book title generally appears immediately after the chapter or essay title and uses the same format (capitalisation, italics or not etc.) as the titles of books cited as main (rather than containing) sources elsewhere in the references.
  • Editor names usually follow the book title, although they occasionally come before the title instead. Editor names often (but not always) appear with the surname last in this situation, even if the names of authors and editors are normally inverted when at the beginning of references (see the examples of a full bibliographical reference in different styles in Section 7.2.1); otherwise, they tend to use the same format (initials only, ‘and’ or an ampersand, internal punctuation or not etc.) as the author and editor names associated with main sources. ‘Ed.’ or ‘ed.’ for ‘editor’ (‘Eds.’ and ‘eds.’ in the plural) should accompany the name, depending on which form is used for editors in other references in the list, although sometimes the full word ‘editor’ (or ‘editors’) or the phrase ‘edited by’ is used instead for the editors of books containing the main source cited (see the examples in Sections 7.2.1 and 7.2.2).
  • Any volume or edition numbers relevant to the book should be included as well, and page numbers for the essay or chapter should follow, although page numbers are often placed at the end of the reference after the publisher and place of publication (see the examples in Sections 7.2.1 and 7.2.2). Page number formats vary, but ‘pp.’ or ‘pp’ (for ‘pages’) is often used along with the page numbers of books (‘pp.19–47,’ that is, instead of simply ‘19–47’), with a few exceptions, while the ‘pages’ abbreviation is almost never used with the page numbers of journals (see Section 7.3.8). Otherwise, the format of page ranges for books should be the same as that for journals.

7.3.8 Journal in Which the Source is Contained

If the main reference is to an article in a journal, the title of the journal, the relevant volume number, sometimes the issue number and either the pages on which the article is found or another kind of identifier for locating the article online are required as well.

  • The journal title is always necessary, generally features initial capitals on all main words and most often appears in italic font, though roman or, more rarely, bold font is used in some styles. Standard abbreviations for journal titles can be used, following, for instance, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) Catalog of Journals Referenced in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) Databases, and guidelines will often indicate whether these are acceptable and which system should be followed. As with all elements of the reference list, the use of journal abbreviations should be as consistent as possible throughout the list. The title of the journal should precede the volume, issue and page numbers.
  • The volume number is also standard and follows the journal title. Punctuation can appear between the title and volume number (a comma, for instance, or a full stop after an abbreviated title), but it generally does not. Usually, the volume number is recorded in Arabic numerals, but Roman numerals are specified in some guidelines, and roman font is the norm, but some styles and guidelines call for volume numbers in italic or bold font.
  • If the journal uses continuous page numbering for each volume, an issue number is not required, though it can be used if you like, but if the page numbering begins afresh in each issue of a volume, the issue number is necessary for readers to find the relevant article. The issue number for a source usually appears in parentheses immediately after the volume number without an intervening space – ‘BMC Public Health 24(67)’ – though it can appear in the same position after other punctuation, such as a colon (e.g., ‘BMC Public Health 24:67’). Sometimes there is a supplement number as well, which can replace the issue number or appear in addition to it; a simple ‘S.’ or, better yet, ‘Suppl.’ is generally used to distinguish a supplement number.
  • Page numbers or their equivalent are always required, and in almost all cases ‘pp.’ or ‘pp’ (for ‘pages’) is not included when recording the page ranges for journal articles. The page range follows the volume number (or issue number if one is included), usually separated from the preceding number by a colon with or without a following space – ‘BMC Public Health 24(67): 62–88’ – though a comma or semicolon is sometimes used instead. The format of page ranges varies depending on the guidelines or style followed, but with the exception of not using the abbreviation for ‘pages,’ it should be the same as that used for any page ranges in books included in the list (see also the additional information on page numbers in Section 7.3.9 below). For articles published online, a single page number or some other form of unique number that identifies the article is sometimes used instead of a page range.
  • When an online version of an article is used as a source, a DOI or URL is often recorded instead of page numbers, and sometimes instead of volume and issue numbers as well when electronic publication precedes print publication. DOIs and URLs should be consistent in format throughout the list and correct so that they reliably lead the reader to the right sources. When a URL is used, information on access or availability is often needed (just as it is for other web-based sources), with the format varying according to the style guide or guidelines followed: for example, ‘Accessed 6 November 2014’ or ‘Available at: http://www.proof-reading-service.com/.’

7.3.9 Page Numbers

Page numbers are required when the reference is to a chapter or article within a larger book, journal or collection of conference papers, in which case the pages on which the chapter or article is found should be provided. For page numbers in books, ‘pp’ (for ‘pages’) with or without a following stop and space is generally used along with the numbers – ‘pp.19–47’ or ‘pp 19–47,’ for example – but not always. For journals, the practice is just the opposite: page numbers generally appear without any form of ‘pp.,’ though that abbreviation is used in rare cases. Between the numbers themselves, an en dash (as I have in the examples above) is the correct choice, but a hyphen (pp.17-47) is often used; as long as the guidelines are followed and your usage is consistent throughout your reference list, either is fine. The page range can be recorded with all digits retained (383–388), but in many cases the numbers are elided to as few digits as possible (‘383–8’; for further information on eliding page ranges, see Section 6.4.7 above). The commas (or, in some instances, spaces) normally found in numerals of 1,000 and above are not used in page numbers. The formats of page numbers should be consistent throughout a reference list, but the position can change depending on the type of source: for a journal article, for instance, page numbers appear at the end of the reference, but for a chapter or article in a book, they can appear either at the end or in conjunction with the book title and editor(s). Sometimes other identifying numbers are used instead of page numbers (especially for articles published online), and if there are no page numbers for a source within a book or journal, chapter, section and even paragraph numbers can be used instead, although as a general rule such numbers should only be used if they actually appear in the source (i.e., if the chapters, sections and paragraphs are numbered in the source itself).

Why PhD Success?

To Graduate Successfully

This article is part of a book called "PhD Success" which focuses on the writing process of a phd thesis, with its aim being to provide sound practices and principles for reporting and formatting in text the methods, results and discussion of even the most innovative and unique research in ways that are clear, correct, professional and persuasive.

The assumption of the book is that the doctoral candidate reading it is both eager to write and more than capable of doing so, but nonetheless requires information and guidance on exactly what he or she should be writing and how best to approach the task. The basic components of a doctoral thesis are outlined and described, as are the elements of complete and accurate scholarly references, and detailed descriptions of writing practices are clarified through the use of numerous examples.

The basic components of a doctoral thesis are outlined and described, as are the elements of complete and accurate scholarly references, and detailed descriptions of writing practices are clarified through the use of numerous examples. PhD Success provides guidance for students familiar with English and the procedures of English universities, but it also acknowledges that many theses in the English language are now written by candidates whose first language is not English, so it carefully explains the scholarly styles, conventions and standards expected of a successful doctoral thesis in the English language.

Individual chapters of this book address reflective and critical writing early in the thesis process; working successfully with thesis supervisors and benefiting from commentary and criticism; drafting and revising effective thesis chapters and developing an academic or scientific argument; writing and formatting a thesis in clear and correct scholarly English; citing, quoting and documenting sources thoroughly and accurately; and preparing for and excelling in thesis meetings and examinations. 

Completing a doctoral thesis successfully requires long and penetrating thought, intellectual rigour and creativity, original research and sound methods (whether established or innovative), precision in recording detail and a wide-ranging thoroughness, as much perseverance and mental toughness as insight and brilliance, and, no matter how many helpful writing guides are consulted, a great deal of hard work over a significant period of time. Writing a thesis can be an enjoyable as well as a challenging experience, however, and even if it is not always so, the personal and professional rewards of achieving such an enormous goal are considerable, as all doctoral candidates no doubt realise, and will last a great deal longer than any problems that may be encountered during the process.

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