Writing References

Here you find information and guidance on referencing, copyright and plagiarism. You also find links to guides for reference styles and information on reference management programs.

The Importance of Referencing 

When you write an academic text, you must provide references to the sources you use. This makes it clear where you got your information from, what your personal reasoning is, and what the reasoning of the other person is. References make it possible for your reader to find the sources you used. 

Copyright and Plagiarism

When you create a piece of work – for example, your degree project/thesis – it is automatically protected by the Copyright Act (1960:729) . You then have the right to decide for yourself how your work may be used. Others do not have the right either to present the content of your work as their own, to distribute it, or to copy it freely. In turn, when you want to use the work of other people, it is important that you too follow existing copyright rules. 


Plagiarism is when a person uses other people's work and tries to make it appear as their own. You can also be guilty of self-plagiarism: this is when you reuse your own copyright-protected material without clear reference to the text you are using. Plagiarism is considered a violation of good academic practice and can lead to suspension from studies. To avoid plagiarism, you must provide references and cite correctly when you use other people's texts. 


  • Plagiarism Training Course: in an interactive way, you can learn what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. You will also receive help with how to formulate references. From Umeå University.
  • Refero: this web-based tutorial helps you understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. From Linnaeus University.
  • Plagiarism Handbook from Ouriginal (Urkund): with advice and tips on how to avoid plagiarism.

Guides for Different Reference Styles

You include references both throughout the text and in a reference list. How you cite depends on the referencing style you use. Always check with your teacher about which style to use.


APA Style and Grammar Guidelines – a guide from the American Psychological Association. This guide is based on the official manual for APA style, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th edition), which is available for borrowing at the library.


Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide online – a guide based on the official manual, The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition). The manual is available for borrowing at the library.


Harvard Referencing – a guide from the library at University of Sheffield. 


IEEE Editorial Style Manual – the official guide for referencing according to IEEE. 


MLA Formatting and Style Guide – from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab. The guide is based on the official manual for MLA style, MLA Handbook (9th edition), which is available for borrowing at the library.


Oxford Referencing – a guide from Victoria University Library.


Vancouver Referencing Style – a guide from University of Queensland Library.

Reference Management Software

Several programs can help you manage your references. Such programs help you:

  • to easily retrieve and save references from, for example, databases and web pages
  • to save PDF files along with the references
  • to easily insert references to sources in your text
  • to automatically create lists of the references you have used in your work
  • to share references with others

We recommend two programs for reference management: Zotero for students and EndNote for researchers and students who intend to become researchers. 


If you are a student, you can download Zotero free of charge and continue using it after you complete your university studies. The library's guide to Zotero will give you more information and help you get started.


You install EndNote on your computer using a licence. University staff members can find information about how to download EndNote on the page about software. Students can download EndNote on the webpage Software Licences for Students.

Clarivate's training resources help you to get started with EndNote. 

Contact the library if you need help with Zotero or EndNote.


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