Preparing your doctoral citation

This page informs candidates and supervisors about preparing the doctoral citation which is lodged with all theses and projects.

The citation will appear on your Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement and transcript. It will also be included in the graduation program and will be read aloud if you attend your graduation ceremony.

Because the citation will appear in so many places and be read (and heard) by non-expert audiences, it should be written in a way to ensure it can be understood and appreciated by those with no specialist knowledge of the field or its technical terms.

Since you are likely to write only one citation in your life, you should work with your Senior/Joint Senior Supervisor to ensure it appropriately describes your work and your contribution to your field.

You will be asked to provide your citation when you submit your thesis or project for examination. In cases where a thesis has already been submitted for examination and the citation was not included, you should include it when you lodge the final archival copy of your thesis or project.

The citation must be written in plain English using terms and language comprehensible to a general audience. It must be limited to 50 words and include the following key elements:

  • what was researched
  • the findings of the research/what was discovered
  • the value or outcome of the research.

For advice about capitalisation, abbreviations and so on, please refer to the RMIT Writing Style Guide on the staff site (login required). 

Recommended format

Dr [Candidate’s surname] studied/examined/investigated/explored [description of project]. The research found/revealed/identified/resulted in/produced [description of findings].

The findings/results/outcomes contribute to/enhance/improve/reinforce/provide insight into/build on/advance/affirm/confirm [description of the value or outcome of the project].

College of Business example

Dr Sridharan developed a novel e-learning success model for an Australian tertiary education environment. This led to the identification of the critical success factors intertwined between pedagogies, technologies, learning resources and management of learning resources in e-learning. Specific policy initiatives are suggested for the effective implementation of the proposed model.

College of Design and Social Context example

Dr Ng explored early childhood curriculum reform in Singapore. The research focused on stakeholder experience. Interviews were conducted and childrens' experiences were observed. Education and change management theory dictated the design and interpretation. The findings indicate that required changes were not observed and stakeholders lacked involvement in the reform process.

STEM College example

Dr Smith studied the evolution of the structure and function of retinol-binding protein. The research revealed that it originated as an intracellular protein for transporting retinol, but later evolved to be an extracellular plasma protein for distributing retinol around the body. These findings enhance our understanding of protein evolution.

ARG Communication staff oversee the preparation of citations and may edit grammar, spelling and the format of the citation. Unclear or overly long citations will be returned to the Senior/Joint Senior Supervisor for editing.

Here are some key rules for the writing of citations:

  1. use the present tense to describe the value or outcome of the research e.g. ‘The findings enhance our understanding’, instead of ‘The findings have enhanced’, or ‘The findings will enhance’
  2. use the active tense where possible to avoid awkward sentence construction
  3. citations should start with ‘Dr’ (without full stop) eg: ‘Dr. Harris investigated…’
  4. the candidate’s name should not be repeated within the body of the citation. Appropriate gender reference should be used as necessary e.g. 'she/he found'
  5. terms/phrases/words should be written in full the first time they are used, followed by the acronym in brackets if it will be used later on in the title or citation. Do not use full stops in the acronym
  6. Use English/Australian spelling, e.g. ‘organise’ not ‘organize’.
  7. Replace non-standard characters and formatting with standard characters and formatting, e.g. replace ‘&’ with ‘and’ and replace ‘O3’ (which contains subscript text) with ‘ozone’
  8. For titles of publications, movies, etc., use a set of single quotation marks (not double quotation marks) followed by the year it was published/produced in brackets, e.g. ‘Cat’s Eye’ (1988)
  9. Use one space only after full stops between sentences
  10. The percentage symbol (%) should be used only with numerals, while per cent can be used with either words or numerals.

Need help? 

Submit an enquiry to the School of Graduate Research

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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.