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Verbs for referencing

To incorporate quotations / references into a literature review, you can use a variety of verbs. These verbs are often used with prepositions, eg that, by, on. It is poor writing to use the same ones all the time, eg says that, states that. Verbs also allow the writer to indicate the degree to which they support the author of the research, eg claims that versus argues that. The following verbs (and prepositions) can be used to introduce references into your literature review. Please note that they can be used in different tenses.

Suggest (that) Recent studies outlined by Leonard et al (1999) suggest that personality and disposition play an equally important role in motivation.
Argue (that) Leonard et al (1999) argue that there are three elements of self perception.
Contend(s) Mullens (1994) contends that motivation to work well is usually related to job satisfaction.
Outline Recent studies outlined by Mullins (1994) suggest that personality and disposition play an equally important role in motivation.
Focus on The early theories of Maslow and McGregor (Robbins et al, 1998) focused on personal needs and wants as the basis for motivation.
Define(s) Eunson (1987, p. 67) defines motivation as 'what is important to you'.
Conclude(s) (that) Reviewing the results of the case study, Taylor (1980) concludes that the theories of job enrichment and employee motivation do work.
State He further states that there is an increasing importance on the role of autonomy and self regulation of tasks in increasing motivation.
Maintains (that) Mullins (1994) maintains that job enrichment came from Herzber's two factor theory.
Found (that) Mullins (1994) found that there is an increasing importance on the role of autonomy and self regulation of tasks in improving motivation.
Promote(s) This promotes the idea that tension and stress are important external sources of motivation, which can be eliminated by completing certain tasks.
Establish(ed) (by) As established by Csikszentmihalyi (Yair 2000, p. 2) 'the more students feel in command of their learning, the more they fulfil their learning potential'.
Asserts (that) Locke's Goal Setting Theory asserts that setting specific goals tends to encourage work motivation (Robbins et al, 1998).
Show(s) Various theories of motivation show employers that there are many factors that influence employees work performance.
Claim(s) (that) Hackman and Oldham (1975) claim that people with enriched jobs, and high scores on the Job Diagnostic Survey, experienced more satisfaction and motivation.
Report(s) Mullins (1994) reports on four content theories of motivation.
Mention(s) Mullins (1994) mentions two common general criticisms of Herzberg's theory.
Address Redesigning jobs so that responsibility moved from supervisors to the workers, was an attempt to address the issues of job satisfaction (Mullins, 1994).

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