There are various presentation formats for different materials. This is as follows:

  1. a) Journal Articles – These are the most common sources of cited mate rial and include specialist technical journals as well as trade journals,

They are presented in the following format:

  1. Surname of the author
  2. Initials of the author
  3. Year (date) of publication
  4. Title of article: The first letter of the title is capitalized while the rest are in lower case.
  5. Name of journal (underlined or italicized). You may use an abbreviated form for the journal name, but make sure that it is the recognized one. Most journals will have the “official” abbreviated title printed at the top of its pages.
  6. Volume, followed by number of issue. Instead of issue numbers, some journals have a month of issue. In such cases, substitute the month for the issue number.
  7. Pages in the journal where the article appears.

Author’s surname, initials. (Year of publication). Title of article, Name of Journal, Volume (number, pages).

For example:

Johnson, U.W., Johnson, H., Stanne, M, and Garibaldi, A. (1990). Impact of group processing on achievement in cooperative groups. Journal of Social Psychology, 130, 507-516.

Garner, R. (1990). When children and adults do not use learning strategies: Towards a theory of settings. Review of Educational Research, 60, 517-529.


  1. b) Conference Proceedings.— Papers presented at conferences are also common sources of research information The format is as follows; Author(s), (year). Article title, Name of conference, Location of conference, page range. For example:

Dore, S.D., Perkins, J.D. and Kershenba’um L.S. (1994). Application of geometric nonlinear con trot in the process industries: a case study, Proc. IFAC Symposium Presentation slum, ADCHEM ‘94, Kyoto, Japan, pp 501-506

The author(s) surname appears first followed by initials. The year is enclosed in parentheses and terminated  with a full-stop. The first letter of the title is capitalized while the rest are in lower case. You may use abbreviations to indicate the t.rpe of publication and the name of the conference. For example “Proc.” is usually used in place of “Proceedings”; “Pre.” for “Preprints”; “Cof” for “Conference”; “Symp.” for “Symposium” and so on.

  1. C) Books — To list books, use the following format:

Surname of the author, initials of the author. (year of publication.) title of book. edition number, place f publication, publishers. For example:

Awuondo, C.O. (1993). Introduction to Socioology .Nairobi: Basic Books Limited.

Kombo, D. and Waiyaki, M. (2002). Sociology of Education. Nairobi: Kenyatta University Press.

Orodho, A.J. (2003). Essentials of Educational and Social Science Research Methods. Nairobi: Masola Publishers.

Gay, L.R. (1992). Educational Research: Competence  for Analysis and Applications.

4th  Edition, New York: Macmillan Publishers.

In referencing books, the first letter of keywords in the main title are in capitals, and the title is in ita1ic There is no need to indicate  the edition of the book if it is the first edition.

Some books are compilations of articles from different authors. For such cases, the format used is a cross between that for journal articles and books. This is as follows:

Author (s), (year). Title of article Book, In: Name of book, Edition number, Chapter number, Name(s) of editors, Name of publisher, place of publication.

For example:

Runielhart D.E., Hinton G.E. and Williams, R.J. (1987). Learning internal representations by error propagation, In: Parallel Distributed Processing: Vol. 1, Ch. 8, D.E. Rumeihart and J.L. McClelland [editors], MIT Press: Cambridge MA.

Note the use of the word “In:” and the difference in which the names of the authors and the names of the editors are presented: editors’ names are listed with their initials first. However, when you list the book without reference to authors of particular chapters, editors are considered the authors, in which case the item will be listed as:

Rurneihart, D.E. and McClelland, J.L. [editors]. (1987). Parallel Distributed Processing: Vol. 1, MIT Press: Cambridge MA.

  1. d) Dissertations, Theses and Research Reports

Dissertations, theses and academic research reports are listed using the format below:

Author(s), (year). Title in italics. Type of publication, Research Group, Name of institution, Country. For example:

Peel, C. (1995). Aspects of Neural Networks for Modeling and Control. PhD Thesis, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.

Bloggs, J. and Other, A.N. (1998). The Effects of Vodbull on Class Attendance.

Research Report No. 123, Social Impact Research Group, Smirnoff Institute of

Technology, Vladivostok, Russia.

Kombo, D.K. (1988). Factors influencing student’s poor performance in the K.C.E

Examination among Harambee Secondary schools in Kathiani Division, Machakos

District, Kenyatta University, Kenya.

When listing a research report, include the report number where applicable.

  1. e) Company Reports and Manuals

Sometimes, a researcher may need to cite material contained in publications by companies and from manuals. In such cases there are no named individuals for authors. Use the format below:

Name of company or organization, (year). Title in italics. Place of publication. For example:

Mathsoft Inc., (1999). Mathcad 2000 Reference Manual. Cambridge, MA.

  1. f) Information from the World Wide Web (www)

Nowadays, much information can be obtained from the Internet, typically websites but sources include newsgroups and on-line forums. The format to use for such publications is:

Name of Author(s) or company or organization, (year), Title of article, URL, date found.

The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is the full Internet address of the article. Due to the transient nature of on-line information, it is important to include the date when one found the information. Fr example:

Tham, M.T. (1997). Distillation: an introduction, http:/ /

distil/distil0.htm, 30 May 2001.

  1. g) Personal Communications

Sometimes, a researcher may have used information passed on to him/her by a colleague or another person, via a phone conversation, letter, email or other forms of communication The researcher can include this information in the reference list. The format to use is:

Name, (year). Personal communication, Affiliation of named person.

For example:

Blogg, J. (1996). Personal communication, University College London, UK.

The reference list should be compiled as a researcher writes the chapters. The references should be organized alphabetically using surnames. If the author are several publications listed, they should be organized using the date .year) order. If there is more than one author, the names and initials of all the other authors should appear. All authors should be given credit. All the materials cited should be referenced.

The reader should note that the material presented here is not exhaustive; there are many variations. However, in the absence of other instructions, and as long as you are  consistent, the guidelines presented above should be sufficient.


In a research proposal or thesis, there is a specific format for numbering. There is specific numbering for the following:

  • chapters and sections in chapters
  • figures and diagrams
  • tables and lists
  • equations

Each chapter of the proposal/thesis should be assigned a number.

For example:



Chapter sections and subsections should also be assigned a numerical index. For example, the second section of Chapter 1 could be:

1.2 Statement of the Problem, while a subsection of Section 4 in Chapter

4 could be: 4.4.1 Simulation results.

Notice the use of different cases in the 3 heading categories. The title of chapter is in upper case (capitalized); the heading of a section has the first letter of keywords in upper case; while only the first letter of the first word in a subsection is capitalized. These styles are used as visual cues to indicate the different levels of headings. Avoid having more than 3 levels, for instance,, as they can make the text messy especially when referring to them. If you need to categorize further, the contents of a subsection, use a different font style. Bold and underlined text is a popular format.

To refer to a particular chapter, use the formats given by the following examples:

“Chapter 2 provides a review of work in this area. The reason for this modification, stated in Chapter 3….” Notice that the word “Chapter” is written in full with a capital “C.” The following examples show how references are made to sections or subsections:

“The procedure outlined in Secction 5.3 was employed to…”

“Section 3.2.2 discussed the implication of…”

Here, the word “Section” with a capital “5” is used to refer to both sections and subsections; the latter being obvious from the numerical index.


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