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Quoting and paraphrasing

In most of your academic work you won’t be expected to “re-invent the wheel.” On the contrary: In most of your texts, you will be dealing with existing literature on a particular topic or compiling a literature review. This is why it is so important to make a clear distinction between your own ideas and work already published by other authors. The following section will help you become familiar with the rules of academic citation.

Proper citation is not just a formal requirement in the sciences, but also fulfills a number of other important functions.

  • Citations make statements/hypotheses verifiable
  • Citations allow the reader to differentiate between the author’s own work and the work of others
  • Citations help readers find specific information
  • Citations document what other researchers have contributed on a specific topic
  • Citations demonstrate that you are familiar with and have read the relevant literature on your topic
  • Citations can be used to support your own arguments

The source of the information must be easily identifiable based on the citation method used. Sources used must be included in the reference list, including all relevant information pertaining to the source. Citation rules and methods vary between individual disciplines, but certain basic principles always apply:

Quotes should appear exactly as worded in the original source, the source should be accessible and findable, and the citation method should be uniform throughout the whole text.  

Please note:

Academic writing in the legal sciences differs slightly from other disciplines. Click here for information on academic writing in the field of law.

Further reading