As a university student you are trained in carrying out work at a scientific level. Some of the important aspects of scientific work are transparency, validity, and independence.
Documenting your sources and making citations to other’s work is a way to make your work verifiable and transparent.
When you cite other people in your work, you make it possible for the reader to follow your argumentation and the rationale behind your work – you allow the reader to understand how you got from A to B and which sources you have used to produce your argumentation.
How to Make Citations and References
Generally, it is important to be precise and consistent in your citations and references.
If you use a recognised citation style you are sure to present your sources in a consistent way. There are many different citations styles (e.g. Harvard, Chicago, ACM) and the style you need to use is often based on the academic tradition in which you are writing.
The programmes at the IT University are rather interdisciplinary and draw on a number of different academic fields and traditions. Therefore, you should ask your lecturers, supervisor or head of study programme which citation style you should use.
No matter the citation style you use, the important thing is to make it possible for your reader to trace your statements back to the original sources.
Tools for Managing Sources and Citations
Managing sources and citations can be a time-consuming task.
Consider using a reference manager to organise and handle your citations and references:
- RefWorks is a web-based system for managing sources. You can purchase it at their website
- Zotero is a free web-tool to collect, organize, cite, and share research sources
Never forget to cite your literature
When you are using others' work to support your writing, it is important that you cite and refer to them, to make clear when your work is a result of your own thinking, and when you are basing your work on other sources.