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References and bibliography 

On this page, you can read about how to refer to the literature and sources used in your assignment. 

You need to refer to the academic literature and sources used in your assignment. See also scientific quality

When referencing, you 

  • document the sources on which your results are based. 

  • make it possible for others to test your claims and arguments. 

  • make it easier to see when you rely on your own thoughts – and when you are standing on the shoulders of other scholars. 


  • whether your references are adequate – so your reader can easily find the source. 

  • whether your references are transparent and consistent – i.e. whether they are written in the same way throughout the assignment. 

  • whether you have listed yourself as a source when you reuse texts or similar material that you have previously made yourself and been graded in another exam in another subject. Read more about self-plagiarism here.

There are different styles and systems of referencing that allow you to automatically generate references and bibliographies. Decide early during the writing phase which system you want to use, for example APA style or MLA style. Use it consistently in citations, notes and the bibliography. Your teachers may prefer different styles and systems of referencing. Ask on your degree programme or check your academic regulations. 

Refer to a book

When citing a book, the reference should provide information about:  

  • name(s) of author(s) 

  • title 

  • place of publication 

  • year of publication 


Below are three examples of how to refer to Thomas Hylland Eriksen’s book 'Internett i praksis' using different referencing styles:  

APA: Eriksen, T. H. (2005). Internett i praksis : Om teknologiens uregjerlighet. Oslo: SAP.
MLA: Eriksen, Thomas Hylland. Internett i Praksis : Om Teknologiens Uregjerlighet. Oslo: SAP, 2005. Print.
Harvard: ERIKSEN, T.H., 2005. Internett i praksis : om teknologiens uregjerlighet. Oslo: SAP.

The references are very similar, but it is important that your references are consistent to ensure a uniform bibliography. 

Refer to an article

When citing an article, the reference should provide information about: 

  • name(s) of author(s) 

  • title 

  • place 

Where did you find the article? 

If the article is from a book, state the same information as described above. If the article is from a journal, the following information about the journal should be provided: 

  • title 

  • year 

  • volume 

  • page number 

Example: Article found in a book 

Below are two examples of how to refer to Bent Flyvbjerg’s article 'Fem misforståelser om casestudiet' using different referencing styles: 

APA: Flyvbjerg, B. (2010). Fem misforståelser om casestudiet. In L. P. Tanggaard, & S. Brinkmann (Eds.), Kvalitative metoder: En grundbog. (s. 463-488). København: Hans Reitzels Forlag.

MLA: Flyvbjerg, Bent. "Fem misforståelser om casestudiet". I Brinkman. S. & Tanggaard, L.(red.) Kvalitative metoder – en grundbog, København: Hans Reitzels Forlag (2010).

Example: Article found in a journal 

Below are two examples of how to refer to Noella Mackenzie and Sally Knipe’s article 'Research dilemmas: Paradigms, methods and methodology.' using different referencing styles: 

APA: Mackenzie, N., & Knipe, S. (2006). Research dilemmas: Paradigms, methods and methodology. Issues in Educational Research, 16(2), 193-205.

MLA: Mackenzie, Noella, and Sally Knipe. "Research dilemmas: Paradigms, methods and methodology." Issues in educational research 16.2 (2006): 193-205.

The references are very similar, but it is important that your references are consistent to ensure a uniform bibliography. 

Refer to a website

If you want to refer to websites or online literature, remember to include information about: 

  • author and title 

  • the website address 

  • the date of visiting the website 


Ministry of Higher Education and Science (2015). Karakterskalabekendtgørelsen. Visited on 30 November 2015 on www.retsinformation.dk/Forms/R0710.aspx

Ibid. and op. cit.

The abbreviations ibid. and op. cit. are often used interchangeably. However, although both of the abbreviations relate to previously cited works (e.g. a book, article or website), there is a slight difference between them. 

Ibid. is an abbreviation of ibidem, a Latin word that means ‘in the same place’. The abbreviation is used to refer to the same work as was cited most recently in the text. 

Op. cit. is an abbreviation of either opere citato, which means ‘in the work cited’, or opus citatum, which means ‘the work cited’. The abbreviation is used to refer to a work that has been cited before, but which is not the most recently cited work. In other words, op. cit. is used when the more specific ibid. cannot be used. 


Rienecker believes that the revision of the assignment can best be performed on paper transcripts (Rienecker 1997, p. 28). She argues this with reference to how difficult it is to get an overview of large amounts of text on a computer screen (ibid.). 

Use a reference management tool

Reference management tools can help you organise your references and make it easier to use them in your text document. Students and staff at AU can download the EndNote reference management program free of charge. 

APA style guidelines

There is a range of guidelines describing the APA referencing style with regard to text references, citations and the bibliography in written assignments. For example, use the Curtin University guide, the guide developed by University College Absalon (in Danish), or Kildekompasset (in Norwegian).


The information about formalities is general guidelines. They do not replace the provisions in your academic regulations, your lecturers ' guidance or information on your course's website. First, please contact the above-mentioned locations. If in doubt, ask your supervisor.