5 Use of Sources

The sources cited in the report are handled in the text as in-text citations. An in-text citation points the reader to a more complete bibliographic reference in the list of references. The purpose of in-text citations is to inform the reader whose words or ideas are being cited.

The source of any borrowed material must be cited after all summarised and verbatim (word-for-word/direct) quotations. It must be made clear to the reader which parts of the text are attributable to the author of the report and which have been borrowed from external sources, regardless of whether the quotations are verbatim, summarised, or paraphrased.

The practices concerning the citation of sources are subject to agreed specifications, of which there are many different types. In-text citations are made according to the common name-year reference system (see Hirsjärvi 2009, 348–351).

The author of a bachelor’s or master’s thesis must take care to avoid giving the reader cause to suspect dubious writing and reporting practices. This sort of impression is given when repeated references to several different external sources are made simultaneously. Disciplined and precise citation practices lend an air of eloquence to the text and show the author’s command of the subject. It is therefore better to refer to one idea at a time and follow immediately with a proper citation of the source from which the idea is borrowed than to string several sources together at the end of a paragraph.

In citing external sources, it behooves the author to use his/her own words when reporting facts and to be versatile in the way he/she refers to these sources, as in the following examples.

According to Pohjola (2009, 10) . . .,

Pohjola (2009, 5) states that . . ., and

In Pohjola’s view (2009, 15), . . ..

The in-text citation technique just shown is known as an embedded citation, i.e. the name of the author is embedded in the structure of the sentence. Another technique is to enclose the citation in parentheses and place it at the end of the passage in which the source is cited (see, e.g. the last paragraph of this page).

Verbatim quotations should be used sparingly, and should be as short as possible. A short quotation can be fused into the text without breaking the author’s style. Verbatim quotations must be presented exactly as they appear in their source text. Short, verbatim quotations of up to three lines are always enclosed in quotation marks. Long, verbatim quotations in excess of three lines are indented one tab stop (five empty spaces) from the left margin, formatted in italics, and single-spaced without quotation marks.

Before in-text citations, certain expressions—some of which are abbreviations—such as e.g. (for example), i.a. (among other things), i.e. (that is), esp. (especially), see, or cf. (compare to) can be used. It is essential to understand the meaning of these expressions: “see” means that there is further information on the issue available, and “cf.” expresses that the information presented is somehow different than the information in the source material. (Hirsjärvi et al. 2009, 366.)