Using and citing sources
Bruke og referere til kilder
Using and citing sources
Why should you cite the sources you are using?
It is important to cite the sources you have used in your paper or scientific text to show the reader where you found the information, thus ensuring academic integrity.
Correct use of sources shows that you:
- recognize other authors' work
- have read literature on your topic
- place your work in a larger academic context
- master the technique of naming sources
Correct use of sources also makes the reader capable of:
- identifying and retrieving the sources you have used
By citing the sources used you avoid plagiarism accusation.
When should you cite your sources?
A large part of what you write will be based on other authors’ ideas, theories, data, findings, etc. When using another author’s work in your own, you must always write where you found this information.
It is not necessary to name sources when writing about something that is publicly known and accepted. For example, it is not necessary to cite sources if you write that Norway voted “No” in the EU referendum in 1994.
How to cite sources
You usually cite sources by
- in-text reference
- entry in a reference list
An in-text citation briefly identifies the source. Write the reference’s complete information about the same source in the reference list. The reader should be able to find the reference in the reference list by using the in-text reference, and the information in the reference list should make it possible to find the source. How you write references and the reference list depends on which reference style you choose.
Citing large language models (ChatGPT, Bing chat, Google Bard etc.)
According to Rector's Decision in February 2023, it is prohibited to generate a text with artificial intelligence tools and to hand it in either in part or fully as your own text. You should therefore always check with your professor in each case whether use of ChatGPT etc. are allowed. In cases where you may use these language models, you have to cite them. Each reference style deals with these sources in different ways, and you can go directly to the appropriate style to get examples. Please see links below for each reference style.
A reference style has set rules on how to cite sources. Some of the best known styles are APA, Chicago, Harvard and Vancouver.
- APA style is used in the social sciences, arts and humanities
- Chicago style is used in the social sciences, arts and humanities. It comes in two varieties:
- Chicago A (notes and bibliography)
- Chicago B (author-date)
- Harvard style is used in the social sciences, technology and natural sciences.
- Vancouver style is used in medicine and the natural sciences, and sometimes in technology.
There are different traditions for the use of styles in different study programmes. You should check your department's recommendations before writing your paper. Remember, once you have chosen a style, you must use it consistently throughout the entire paper.
Quotations and paraphrasing
Use quotations or indirect quotations (paraphrasing) when you gather information or text from others to use in your own text.
A quotation is a word for word rendering of something somebody else has written. When using quotations, you should mark these in a way that makes it easy for the reader to see what is a quotation and what is your own text. The various reference styles have their own rules for when a quotation should be in an indented, separate paragraph and when you can use quotation marks in the text. Please read the rules for your reference style carefully. For a quotation, always provide a citation with a page number.
Indirect quotations (Paraphrasing)
An indirect quotation (paraphrasing) is a rephrasing of the original text. It may be easier to use paraphrases than quotations because they can be adjusted to fit your own text. A paraphrase can also show that you understand the contents of the original text. When you paraphrase, always provide a citation.
Reference list (Literature list)
A reference list is the same as a literature list. It is a list of all the sources you have referred to in your paper.
- The APA, Harvard and Chicago (Chicago B) styles use the author-date citation system to cite references in the text, and you write the reference list alphabetically by author’s surname
- The Vancouver style uses numeric references in the text, and you write the reference list in the order in which the references appear in the text
A bibliography is a separate list of sources you have read but not referred to, and a list of the sources which are relevant to your topic.