Citations and use of Sources at the Faculty of Social Sciences
The goal of an academic text is to contribute to academic debate. In order to do this, the premises for your arguments must be clear to the reader. This means that you must make it possible for the reader to easily find the sources you use. Therefore it is very important that you maintain the rules for citations and referral to sources.
Different referencing styles - Choose one!
There are several different «styles» for referral, such as the Harvard-style, Chicago-style and the APA-style. It is important that you are consistent and use only one style in your text. At the Faculty of Social Sciences we recommend the APA-style, which is compiled by the American Psychological Association. The APA-style is recommended because it is frequently used in social science journals, and most of the other styles which are used closely resemble APA. In addition APA has a large and extensive user manual. Purdue University has a short summary of the APA-style.
If you are in doubt about which style to use, you must contact your lecturer or seminar leader to learn which style they recommend. If the course does not recommend a particular style, the APA-style is preferred.
Regardless of which style you choose it is important that you are consistent. The order of name, year and pages, use of parentheses and brackets, bold and italicized script are not coincidental in source references. Follow the rules for the style you have chosen.
Some main rules for referencing sources
When you draw information and ideas from a source
- You must never do a simple re-writing of other texts and pretend the text is your own.
- When parts of your text resemble text you have found in a source, you must make a detailed referral to which source it is taken from. Page numbers must be given. References must be included in all relevant sections of your text.
- When you use the ideas of others and the ideas are not commonly known, even amongst academics, you must in each instance state the source you have taken the idea from.
- You cannot re-use your own text from previous exams or papers at the University of Oslo - or in other universities.
When you use direct citations from a source
- The text should be repeated word for word. If the source is in another language you may translate the text. In these instances, the reader must be made aware that the text has been translated.This also applies to texts you find on the internet.
- When you cite text written by others, you must refer to the original sourse. In addition the cited text must be clearly separated from your own text. For details on how to do this, see our summary of the APA-style.
- If you repeat previously published text that you yourself have written (for example in a journal article), you should cite this text in the same manner as you would cite text written by other authors.
The purpose of source referrals is to make it as easy as possible for the reader to find the sources you have used. It is fundamental for academic work that the reader can verify that you have evidence for what you say. Openness and verification, or the opportunity for the reader to “take a peek at your cards”, are crucial in academic practice.
Cooperation with other students
Normally it is permitted to ask advice and guidance from others in the preparation of submitted assignments. The assignment should nonetheless be your own independent work. Cooperation with co-students must not go so far that your texts resemble each other or that you solve parts of the assignments on behalf of each other.
For some submissions there are separate rules which permit several students to write an assignment together. If that is the case, rules will be provided in the course description. If you are uncertain about how much you can cooperate without it being cheating, ask your seminar leader, the person with course responsibility or others teaching the course.