In this sub-section, different ways of giving references are outlined: how to integrate them into your writing, how to quote, how to paraphrase and how to summarise.
Instructional video from the free online MOOC "Writing in English at University" which was developed at Lund University in 2016.
Practices differ depending on discipline
References are provided in different manners within different disciplines. In some fields and reference styles, they are mainly given as numerals indicating a certain source, whereas other disciplines favour a style where references are integrated in the text to a larger extent.
Hyland (2005) outlines clear differences between different research disciplines and also explains how these differences affect the text:
[W]riters in the humanities and social sciences [are] far more likely to include cited authors in the sentence rather than in parentheses or footnotes (a practice called integral citation), and to place them in subject position. In the hard sciences, only Biology [conforms] to this pattern.
The conventions of impersonality in science help to account for the relatively low incidence of citation in the Physics and Engineering corpus and for the predominance of non-integral structures. By reducing their emphasis on individual actors, writers reinforce the ideology that the legitimacy of hard-science knowledge is built on socially invariant criteria […] This also explains the overwhelming use of footnote formats in the sciences, replacing cited authors. (p. 159)
Whether to use integral or non-integral citations thus to a large extent depends on the academic discipline and conventions in the field. For further information about the differences between disciplines, see the following part of the AWELU resources on Genres and Text Types:
Integrating references into the text
When references in the form of quotations or paraphrases are provided, they must be integrated into the text, both language-wise and content-wise. As is further described in the AWELU text on quoting, quotations (as well as paraphrases) must be contextualised, introduced and identified:
Methods vary between disciplines, and as all writers of academic texts know, it takes some practice to master the art of using references in a relevant and correct fashion.
A common way of introducing what someone else has said or written is to say "According to....". Another way of identifying and introducing the source is to use what is called a reporting verb. As shown below, this kind of verb reports what someone else has stated.
In in-text references, the name of the author(s) cited will be provided in the running text:
- Smith (1983) argues that...
- Several studies show that... (Smith 1983, Jones 1998).
In such references, a linguistic device known as a reporting verb or reporting phrase can be used to identify the author of the source in the text. As the term suggests, these verbs report what the source states.
Depending on the effect desired, writers need to choose a suitable reporting verb. Common reporting verbs are:
show, present, argue, suggest, report, address, identify, describe, analyse, note, demonstrate, criticise, compare, observe
For more information about how to find useful words and expressions, see the following part of the AWELU section on Grammar and Words:
Integral and non-integral citations
References can be integrated into the running text to different degrees. Sometimes, the terms integral citation and non-integral citation are used to describe the nature of in-text citations.
In integral citations, the author of the source referred to is acknowledged in the running text.
In non-integral citations, the author of the source referred to is only acknowledged through the reference, not in the running text. Depending on the referency style, the citation will be given in a note or in a parenthetical reference.