Sources and referencing at the Faculty of Social Sciences

In order for academic texts to contribute to academic debate, you must state the premises for your reasoning so that others can evaluate and possibly criticize them.

Your assignment must be your own independent work. You may use other people’s material only as sources of information about your topic and to support and illustrate your line of reasoning. 

Different styles for source reference - choose one!

There are several different "styles" for source reference, including the Harvard style, Chicago style, and 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, prepared by the American Psychological Association. This style is chosen because it is frequently used in social science journals, and most other styles used are highly similar to APA. In addition, the APA has a large and comprehensive user manual. Purdue Univeristy has made a brief summary of the rules in the APA style.

If you have any doubts about what style to use for your submission, please contact the lecturer or seminar leader to find out what style they recommend. If there is no recommended style on a subject, we want you to use the APA style.

Whichever style you choose, it's important that you are consistent and accurate. The order of names, years and pages, use of brackets and brackets, highlighted and italics are not random in source references. Follow the rules for the style you have chosen.

Some basic rules for source reference

When you get information and ideas from a source

  • You should never make an easy rewriting of others' text and pretend that the text is your own.
  • When parts of your text look like text you found in a source, you must refer to exactly what source it was taken from. Page numbers must be displayed. The reference must be in all the legitimate sections of your text.
  • When using other people's ideas and ideas are not widely known, even among professionals, you must always indicate the source of this idea.
  • You can not reuse text previously used for other exams at UiO or elsewhere.

When you want to use direct quote from a source

  • The text should be reproduced verbatim. If the source is in a language other than the assignment you can translate, but you must state that you have translated the text. This also applies to texts found on the Internet.
  • When citing text that others have written, always specify exactly where they are from. 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 reproduce text that you have written and that you have previously published (for example, in a journal article), enter the exact source in the same way as when you're reading another's text.

The purpose of the source reference is to make it as easy as possible for the reader to find the source you have used. It is essential for academic work that the reader can check that you have coverage for what you say. Openness and controllability, or that the reader may have a chance to "peek into the cards" is crucial to scientific practice.

To collaborate with other students

It is usually allowed to seek advice and guidance from others in the work of submission tasks. The task should nevertheless be your own independent work. Collaboration with fellow students must not go so far that you prepare common text for the assignment or that you solve parts of the task for each other.

For individual assignments, there are separate rules that allow more students to write a task together. Such rules will then appear in the subject description. If you are unsure how much you can cooperate without being considered cheating, ask the seminar leader, topic manager or other teacher who teaches the subject.


If you do not follow the Faculty's guidelines for quote and source usage, you may be suspected of cheating.

Published Sep. 26, 2017 1:02 PM - Last modified Oct. 8, 2020 9:40 AM