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Scientific Information Retrieval

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.

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