Textbooks and journals that can be obtained through bookshops are citable. Not citable are all sources that are not generally accessible or verifiable. For example, a friend’s master’s thesis, gray literature or a lecture script.

Quote from Bachelor Thesis and Master’s Thesis

You are currently writing a term paper, bachelor thesis or master thesis. In the search for materials and texts on the topic you have found a student work, for example, a master’s thesis, which you want to quote. Now they are wondering if they are allowed to quote from this master’s thesis. Is the work quotable?

Difference cited literature and non-citable literature
Put yourself in the position of your examiner for a moment. They cite a document (a source) that is not publicly available. He then can not understand whether you correctly cited whether the author of the cited document really made the statements that are mentioned. Unpublished literature or not generally accessible literature is called gray literature.

When quoting a source that is not generally accessible, for example, because the content of the source is important to your work, discuss this with your examiner. He will usually suggest listing these sources at the bottom of the bibliography under the title Gray Literature.

What is a good source for my bachelor thesis or master thesis?
Whether a particular book or document is useful for your work depends not only on whether the content fits. The author’s reputation, his know-how on the topic and his intention are also important. A scientific source should investigate an issue unbiased and open-minded.


For example, publications by industrial companies and interest groups such as trade unions should be treated with caution. The question here is: is the author really unbiased or does he represent the interests of a group? Here, after a second opinion, looking for another source makes sense. A healthy skepticism when reading literature find reviewers always advantageous, uncritical accepting questionable statements of others not.


The author’s reputation can sometimes be deduced from the type of text. If one wishes to quote a master’s thesis, it is clear that the author is still a student and had a maximum of six months to work. In a textbook whose author carries a professor’s title, one can expect a higher level.

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