You use references
- To build evidence for your reasoning and conclusions.
- To clarify what specific information you've used and where it can be found.
- To avoid plagiarism.
This verifiability and evidence are essential for the scientific nature of your work.
What is a reference?
The description of a book, article, website, …
References contain the following components:
- Author name(s)
- Publication date
- Title of the work
- Publication data (e.g. journal, book series)
To avoid plagiarism, take careful notes as you research to keep track of all sources and collect information you need to cite them properly.
How to cite?
There are many different methods to refer. Some frequently used systems are Harvard style, Vancouver style, the APA style ....
Which method you use, often depends on the discipline in which you work or depends on the publication in which your work will appear. Ask your promotor wich style you should use. Whatever method you use, be always consistent.
You need citing references in text and a reference list.
In the text, you add citing references each time you use information that you found elsewhere. This can be done by means of a footnote or by indicating a citing reference in the text in parentheses (depending on the reference system you are using).
Subsequently, add at the back of your work a reference list which lists all the source references in the text with the full publication data record. Such a reference is usually arranged alphabetically by author's name, but can also be a distinction between books, articles, web pages, etc.
There is specialized software that lets you save and arrange your references and offers the option to generate reference lists.
Some examples of reference management software:
- EndNote or Reference Manager: There are campus licenses for EndNote and Reference Manager, for students and staff of the University of Antwerp. More information is available in the InfoCenter ICT.
- Zotero: is freeware and can be used as a stand alone solution or integrated in your browser.
- Mendeley: The basic version of Mendeley is freely available to all users. The application is easy to use and offers also the option to create an author profile, and search publications of other Mendeley users.