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Citing sources - how to create literature references

Academic writing means that you must be able to present your own findings, but also to know and reflect upon earlier research.

By referring to earlier research, the author will strengthen his or her own argumentation and credibility. However, it is of utmost importance that everything that is not the author's own thoughts, conclusions or opinions is cited correctly with information about the original source. Failing to cite one's sources, or to use others' words, pictures, tables and diagrams, means that you will be guilty of plagiarism.

In order for the reader to be able to easily check the information the author claims, it is therefore very important to be thorough and consistent when citing sources. There are various citing styles available, and which one to choose is usually decided by the school, department or tutor. Presented here are three of the most common styles: The Harvard Style (also known as the Author-year style or the Paranthetical style), IEEE style, the Vancouver style (also known as the Numeric style) and the Oxford style (also known as the Footnote style).

No matter which style you choose, it is always important to be consistent and keep to the chosen system.

Content updated 2017-06-26

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