Skip to main content

Acknowledging the Work of Others

Last Updated

On this page:

Students are responsible for acknowledging any facts, ideas, or materials of others used in their own work, as outlined in Codes of Conduct.


In choosing an annotation or reference system, students should be guided by the practice of their discipline and the recommendations of their dissertation advisor, program, or committee. When images or quotations from materials held by libraries, archives, museums, and the like are included in the dissertation, authors should follow the policies of owning institutions concerning references and citations.


Textual notes that provide bibliographic references, supplemental information, opinions, explanations, or suggestions that are not part of the text must appear at the bottom of the page as a footnote:

  • Lengthy footnotes may be continued on the next page.
  • Footnote numbering can be continuous throughout the dissertation or may start again for each chapter or page, but the method must be consistent.
  • Footnotes may be single-spaced within each entry but must be double-spaced between each entry.


Students should check with their advisor or department to determine whether a bibliography is customary in their field. If it is, the conventions of the discipline should be followed:

  • The bibliography may be single-spaced within each entry but must be double-spaced between each entry.
  • On the first page of the bibliography, the page number is placed at the bottom of the page, centered between the margins. Thereafter, page numbers should be placed in the same position as they are throughout the rest of the text.
  • The bibliography should be consecutively paginated after the text.

Citation & Style Guides

Students may consult a variety of guides as they draft their dissertation:

  • The Chicago Manual of Style
  • Day, Robert A. and Barbara Gastel. How to Write & Publish a Scientific Paper
  • MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing
  • Strunk, William. The Elements of Style
  • Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations

Use of Copyrighted Material

Copyrighted material belonging to others must credit the author and publisher of the work. If a quotation exceeds “fair use,” permission from the copyright owner must be obtained and uploaded as a supplemental file when submitting the dissertation. Visit the Harvard Library Copyright Advisor program for information about fair use, publishing and licensing, state copyright laws, and more, or Harvard’s Office of the General Counsel. Students who are reproducing, publishing, distributing, or displaying work in a foreign country will need to investigate the copyright term in that country.

  • Permission to use copyrighted material is obtained from the owner of the copyright.
  • Any permission required for use of copyrighted or licensed material must be obtained before the dissertation is submitted.
  • If a student includes their own previously published material in the dissertation, and if the student had transferred rights to the publisher, then the student must obtain permission from the publisher to include this material in the dissertation. This can be negotiated in the student’s contract or agreement with the publisher; see “Planning to Publish,” developed by the Harvard Library Copyright Advisor, for more information.​
  • Any permission requested should allow the material to be used as part of the dissertation in all forms and media, including but not limited to digital and print forms. 

​​ProQuest and Copyright

ProQuest requires copies of copyright permission documents and assumes no liability for copyright violations. The documents should be submitted in a section of ProQuest ETD as a separate supplemental file with the title, “Permission Letters, Do Not Publish.” Copyright permission letters are not published.

  • When images or quotations from materials obtained from libraries, archives, museums, and the like are included in the dissertation, students should also follow the policies of the respective repositories concerning permission or citation requirements.
  • When material copyrighted by someone other than the author appears in a dissertation exceeding fair use, and when the author has failed to obtain permission from the copyright holder for ProQuest to sell such material, ProQuest cannot make the complete dissertation available for sale to anyone other than the author.


Let us know your thoughts

Was This Helpful?

I found what I was looking for.
I couldn't find what I needed.
Events Calendar