There isn’t really an exact number of references there should be in a thesis, but the answers vary and depend a lot on a few factors. These factors include
Degree level of your thesis
The degree level of your thesis can be divided into 3 categories, namely bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral
- Bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s level thesis is between 10,000 and 12,000 words. For this type of word count, a minimum of 45-50 references will probably be needed, and a maximum of 100 references will also be a respectable benchmark to add references to.
- Masters: Masters level thesis has words, starting at 15,000 with a maximum of 25,000 words. For this, 50 to 95 or even 100 references is probably a good benchmark.
- Ph.D.: a research doctorate. There are up to 50,000 words in a high level thesis or maybe more can be overcome. For this, it is likely that at least 150 references are needed, until 200 or more can be added. This will be a good point of reference.
Main factors affecting the number of references used
Here are some of the many factors that can influence the number of references used:
For example, if you’re writing about a less-studied area (such as a subfield of neuroparasitology), you might find that there aren’t many papers to cite. Similarly, new fields will have fewer published articles to refer to. If you find yourself in this situation, review the references used by relevant current literature and see if you can expand your search, and therefore your list of references, with valuable material from there.
Number of words
The longer the task, the more references are needed. As a general rule, there should be between 8 and 12 references per 1,000 words. However, this too must be determined in the context of the above considerations.