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Writing references

The library can help you use different reference systems in your texts. There are also several different softwares that help you keep track of your references.

Why should you reference?

When you write a paper or a report you must clearly show which are your own ideas and what you have taken from others. If you use other people's material you must clearly state the source, otherwise you are plagiarizing. By citing other people's material you give support and render credibility to your own arguments and ideas.

Always assume there is an interest for your readers to read more about your subject matter. Correctly written references gives your readers easy access to your sources.

The purpose of the references are that the reader easily should see what work you are referring to and find that material on his or her own hand.

Which reference style should you use?

There are many ways to reference depending on the reference style being used. Find out which reference style your department or program uses.

The styles can be divided into different groups depending on how the references are written.

Parenthetical referencing (Harvard)

Harvard is not a uniform style, there are several similar variants with small differences. In this style, parts of the reference are included in parentheses directly in the text. Harvard can be divided into the Author-Year style and Author-Title style.

Author-Year style (e.g. APA) 

The Author-Year style is recommended by the American Chemical Society and the American Psychological Association (APA) and is common in the natural sciences, social sciences and behavioral sciences.

Author-Title style (MLA)

The Author-Title style is recommended by the Modern Language Association (MLA) and is common in the arts and humanities.

Footnote citations (e.g. Vancouver)

Also called the Author-Number style. The style is common in medicine and natural science. Each reference is given a number that is used throughout the text if the same source is cited several times.

Notation (e.g. Oxford)

Often used in law and the humanities. This style is reminiscent of Vancouver by using numbers in the text that refer to a footnote. The footnotes are then arranged at the end of the page, at the end of the chapter or at the end of the book.

How to use Harvard and Oxford

Harvard - references in text

How to write references in text with the Harvard reference style.

Harvard - writing reference list

How to write a reference list with the Harvard reference style.

Oxford - references in text

How to write references in text using the Oxford reference style.

Oxford - writing reference list

How to write a reference list with the Oxford reference style.

Guides to other reference styles

AMA (American Medical Association)

AMA Citation Style (Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library)

APA (American Psychological Association)

Reference guide for APA (Karolinska Institutet University Library)

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

IEEE Editorial Style Manual

IEEE - Referencing Guide (Murdoch University Library)


Turabian citation guide (Concordia University Library)


Citing and referencing: Vancouver (Monash University Library, Australia)

Referensguide för Vancouver (Karolinska institutet University Library)

Citing Medicine : the NLM style guide for authors, editors and publishers (National Library of Medicine, USA)

Films about writing references

An introduction to the APA reference style

Learn more about the reference style from the American Psychological Association.

Citing Articles on EBSCOhost

A tutorial for citing articles on EBSCOhost.