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Cite right - concerning academic integrity

A self-study guide from the University Library

How to use other people's texts

By using a certain system for what citations should look like you will distinguish your own words from those of other scholars. It also means that you avoid your text being perceived as plagiarism. You will show that you have studied previous research, and by comparing your findings with others you can also show how your text fits in with previous research. Citing other people’s texts is an important component in academic writing. Academic integrity means that we build further on previous knowledge and refer to it.

With the aid of references to other researchers you can also make your text more convincing as well as giving it greater academic weight. With your references you will also enable the reader to find and read the texts you have used in your work. Below you will see answers in bullet points to the question of why you should make citations:

  • to strengthen your arguments, give weight and credibility to the text
  • to show that you are read up on the subject
  • to disseminate research findings and data
  • scientific honesty, i.e. academic integrity – credit where credit is due
  • inform the reader of who is responsible for the interpretations or research findings that you present

Different ways of citing

The basis of all reference management is always to include the citation in the text in direct connection with your quote, reference or citation marker. A citation marker is a verb which you use to show what you think the author is doing in the text, such as “illustrate”, “analyse”, “compare”, “emphasize” or “argue”. You need to include all the references used in your bibliography. Exactly how your references and list of works cited will look depends on what reference system you are using.

There are mainly three ways of writing references: by using parentheses, numbers or footnotes. Which reference style to use depends on what is applicable to the programme or course you are taking, so ask your teacher if you are uncertain. Whichever reference style you use, it's good to think about being consistent regarding how you formulate your references in the text and in the bibliography. What citation markers you use should, however, be varied to achieve a good text.

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