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Basics of Library Skills

Citing Sources

In academic research writing you have to cite the sources from which you borrow in your paper. A citation marks an idea as not being your own but the one of another person. That way you comply to the scientific ethics and avoids also plagiarism. Citations have to state the source at each place where you use an idea of another work. The citation can be marked in the text or the footnote and have to appear also in the list of references at the end of the paper.

Citations within the Text

Citations in the text can be marked with two ways: either with the name of the author and the year of publication or with a number. They refer to the list of references at the end of the paper, which has full bibliographic information about the document. The number can refer to the footnote where the name of the author and the publication year are given, sometimes together with some other note about the referred text. Every citation in the text has to agree fully with the information given in the list of references.

List of References

The list of references at the end of your work helps a reader to get an overview what sources you have used and to check the information you cite in your work from the original source. Therefore the information in the list of references have to be exact enough to locate the cited source. In the case of books, this means it should include the title and author, the publisher, the year and the place of publication. In the case of an article it should include the title and author, the title of the journal or compilation, the volume and number (in case of a journal), the year and the page range. Electronic resources often do not have an author given, but you should try to find at least a title. You also have to include the internet address and the date of your last access.

The way citations are presented in the list of references is highly standardized but varies from discipline to discipline. Ask always in your department or from your supervisor which kind of citation style is used in your institution.


Examples of Citing Sources

Reference Management

Mendeley is a web-based bibliography and database manager that allows you to create your own personal library by saving references from text files or online databases and other various sources. You can use these references in writing papers and automatically format the paper and the bibliography in seconds.

You can make your thesis work a lot easier all along by using a bibliographic manager such as Mendeley. It allows you to make your own database, where you can easily save your search results. It also helps you use the results to generate citations in the text you write, and to formulate bibliographies.

To access Mendeley for the first time, you will need to create a new account (see "Introduction to Mendeley ").

Mendeley is freely online

Academic Ethics

Ethics is concerned with determining whether something is right or wrong. Written work often involves ethical considerations and the author has to decide how these affect his or her work. In research, even the choice of topic is an ethical decision. The author has to consider on whose terms the topic is chosen and why the research is being done. Research often involves studying people, which prompts ethical concerns such as obtaining their consent, what information is given to them, what the risks of participating are and maintaining confidentiality. For example, the participants have to be familiar enough with the research to be able to decide whether they consent to taking part in it.

Doing research requires integrity, avoiding dishonesty. Plagiarism (including plagiarizing your own work), playing down other researchers’ contributions, presenting results in a misleading way, generalizing results uncritically, misleading or incomplete reporting of research and misuse of research funding are ethically wrong and must be guarded against at every phase of any study. Reliability and integrity go hand in hand in the research process.

Try to use as rich a range of information sources as possible and evaluate the sources you use critically.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Turnitin is a plagiarism control system used at the Lapland University.

Some sites on plagiarism