Academic texts, part 4: References

Reference management is an important part of scientific texts. References should be used in detail and in a correct manner to support your discussions and arguments. You use references to previous research to support your own study – you provide a context for your study. It is also considered good academic conduct (both towards other authors but also readers) to cite others’ work correctly. Through the text you refer to you take part in  scientific tradition; you show where you belong scientificly. References can also be used in a rhetorical way – to convince the reader that you know relevant litterature.

In different scientific genres and sub-genres references are handled different and also there are varying ways to form and to use citations and references within differend fields. There are texts which have great influence on science which do not include comprehensive references. An example of this is  Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (Philosophische Untersuchungen). Maybe one could debate whether these texts are scientific or not but they are seen as highly reasonable to cite in today’s scientific texts.

Further reading:

Hellqvist, B. (2010). Referencing in the humanities and its implications for citation analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 61(2), 310-318.

//Helena Francke, lector at BHS

Blog posts are translated from Swedish by Pieta Eklund.

References to moving images or sound?

These guidelines represent an attempt to address the growing need for a clear,
comprehensive and consistent system for the citation of moving image and sound.
despite the increasing use of audiovisual material in teaching, learning and research in
higher and further education, the basic criteria listed in existing referencing systems such
as Harvard and Chicago do not fully address the wide range of types and formats that
need formal citation, based as they are on standards developed for the written word.

Tip: Sara Hellberg

Text: Lisa Carlson

Google is not your source!

Google is not your source I took this photo when I attended a public defence of a doctoral thesis awhile back. I don’t remember anymore what the opponent’s point was but today I got a question at the information point which reminded me of this photo.

The question I got had to do with writing references. We get a lot of questions about how to write references. Sometimes the questions are easy and other times they are difficult. Today the student had found something interesting in Emerald and the student wanted to use it and wanted to know how to write a reference to Emerald.

Using references may have several aims. They might be used to show how much you have read, to show that your argument holds water or to show the current discussions in the scientific field. What is mutual is that when you refer to some material in your text there should be a reference to it in the reference list. It doesn’t matter if you found it via Emerald, Ebsco or Google because the reader might have access to the article via a different database and that’s why it is not of interest to know who has delivered the document to you.

You can search in our databases for all kinds of material and they are always published somewhere. It is not the database, the database host[1] or search engine that is the source you need to refer to but it is the document you found. It is not Google, Emeral or Scopus you refer to. What I’m trying to say is that it is not interesting to know which channel you have used to get access to the document. There is an exception to this though. This is when it is part of your course work do show which databases you have search and which terms you have used. Remember, databases are they way to your source, not the source!

Many of the databases today have tools that help you to create references. There is often a link that is called something like Create a reference, How to cite, Cite this or Create bibliography or you have the possibility to download file that you can open in EndNote. Then it might be called something like Export Citations. By the way, did you know you can download EndNote on your computer if you are a student at University of Borås?

Text: Pieta Eklund


[1] Databases are hosted by different suppliers. One database can be made accessible by a number of hosts, one university has one host and another has someone else. This makes it uninsteresting to say where you found a document. It is not interesting to know if you have used Google or Bing to do your search.