Precise source references
When you write an academic paper, there are a series of academic requirements that must be fulfilled if the paper is to have academic integrity and credibility. One of the most important rules is that you must always make a source reference when you use other people’s knowledge. Your source reference must be precise.
These rules are there to protect the rights of the author of the original work. But also for the benefit of your readers, who should be able to trace your references back to the original works.
Good practices for using citations and quotations
As soon as you use someone else’s knowledge you must provide a reference source! This is true whenever you refer to, paraphrase or quote from another text. In all cases you must clearly show the beginning and end of the quotation/citation and where the text comes from.
When using a citation or quotation, it is recommended you visually indicate that it is being used: For example, with quotation marks, italics or in the case of longer citations, use a distinct paragraph of text.
There are very specific rules about how you make a quotation and give the associated source reference and you must check with your own course about what they are.
Overall principles of using citations
- If it is a direct quote it must be marked clearly as such, for example with italics or quotation marks
- If what you have taken from another text is only facts or an argument, then insert a note with the precise information about where the facts/argumentation came from.
- If you reuse material from your previous papers, you must treat the material exactly as you would treat other source material, by directly quoting or listing it in your source reference.
- If printed material is referred to, for example from other theses or oral information, then you must use the same system of using direct quotations or listing the source in your footnotes.
- If a website is cited or referred to, it must be treated in exactly the same way as other cited material and/or the URL address listed in the source reference.
In the case of direct quotes, you must ensure that:
- if you insert one or more words into the quoted text, you mark the words, typically with square brackets [extra word/s]
- if you remove words or sentences from the quoted text, you mark where words were, typically with three periods in square brackets [...]
- if you translate quotations from another language or localize an older form of English to modern English, it must be noted after the quotation – typically in brackets (My translation/Modernised English)
Good notes techniques
One of the most important preconditions for being able to use sources correctly is the technique for making good notes, i.e. every time you utilize/insert someone else’s knowledge in your paper, you should make a note of the source. Where does the text come from – and what page was the text printed on?
You can be reported for examination fraud, even if the fraud was unintentional. Read the rules about examination fraud in the examination pages.