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Citing sources

Referencing is an integral part of academic writing. References inform the reader on which sources you have used, and shows where you’ve found information for your paper/assignment.
Always refer to your sources!

Why must I reference my sources?

Your assignment will usually depend on information from previously published literature within your subject area. You use concepts, theories, phrases, empirical material or reasoning/deductions made by others before you. Referring to your sources and quoting correctly is a matter of academic integrity. In referring to your sources, you show

  • respect of the work and results arrived at by other authors
  • in a clear fashion which are your own thoughts and ideas, and what you have derived from others. This will help in avoiding suspicions of plagiarism.
  • where the reader can find the original source of information, both to verify what you have written, but also to allow further, in-depth reading.

How to reference correctly?

If you use the ideas of others in your text, you can choose between direct quotes or rewriting in your own words, i.e paraphrasing.

Direct quote or paraphrasing?

  • When using the ideas of other authors in your text, you can choose between direct quotes or using your own words to paraphrase.
  • Direct quote is when you repeat word by word what the original text contains. Direct quotes are marked by bracketing the text in «quotation marks». Lengthier quotes, i.e more than three lines/40 words should start with an indent, using a smaller text-font, and a blank line above and below.
  • When paraphrasing, you rewrite someone else’s words, using your own words. All the same, you must acknowledge the original author by referencing.
  • Summation means giving a condensed description of important aspects in a text. This also needs to be referenced, both in the text and in your bibliography.
  • Make it a habit to reference what you have read by retelling it in your own words, and be cautious in your use of direct quotes.

Which referencing style should I use?

A referencing style gives guidelines on how a particular reference should be designed. There are several different referencing styles to choose between. At HINN the APA-style of referencing is widely used, but there may be that another style is better suited for your subject area. Check with your teacher to find out. Be consistent! Choose one referencing style and stick with that throughout your text. Do not switch between different styles within a text/assignment. Below you will find links to popular referencing styles.

The user guide from the Citation Compass gives advice on how to register references in EndNote and Zotero, using the APA referencing style.

Course in Sources - using and citing

The library offers the course Sources - using and citing. The course consist of three parts; Evaluation of sources, citing references and plagiarism.

Avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism is the representation of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one's own original work. This is both illegal and unethical. Plagiarism is considered cheating.


Free-of-charge software that helps you collect references, use these in Word, and produce a bibliography. Further reading on Zotero referencing tool