Writing references

It is important to properly reference other people's texts that you use in your own work. When writing academic texts, you need to demonstrate that you are well-informed of relevant research in your field and you should relate such findings to your own work.


If you do not reference correctly when writing about something you have read or heard, you have not followed the rules of academic writing and can be accused of plagiarism. Plagiarism means that you have deliberately presented someone else's thoughts and words as your own. Using your own text that has been used in another context without proper referencing is also plagiarism, known as self-plagiarism.

Referencing techniques and citation

In scientific texts, writers often refer to or quote from the scientific work of others. You do this by using referencing techniques or direct quotes.


What is the difference between references and quotes?

  • A quote is an exact reproduction of what someone has said or written.
  • A reference is a reproduction of what someone else has written or said but in your own words.


Referencing means that you have selected relevant sources that relate to what you're writing about and support your arguments. You put into words what others have written by using your own words and reference markers. Your references are integrated into the context by commenting on them in some way. References are used to support arguments and substantiate opinions.

Reference styles and reference markers

When referencing, it is necessary to let people know when you are using the thoughts or words of another author and this is done by using references and reference markers. Referencing means using one of the referencing styles such as Harvard, APA, IEEE or Vancouver. In electronics and electrical engineering, and in some cases in computer science, the IEEE reference system is used.

Reference markers are phrases that tell who the information you are presenting comes from. Examples of reference markers are:

  • Several studies have shown (Johnsson 2009, Smith 2012) that ...
  • The author (Karlsson 2003) ...
  • Furthermore, Andersson (1973) claims that ...
  • According to Karlsson (2003), ...
  • As Smith (2013) also writes ...

Guides and tutorials for different reference styles

Reference management with Zotero and Mendeley

When using reference management systems, you can import references from databases, insert references into documents and prepare a list of cited works for your essay or report.

At the Library we offer support regarding Zotero and Mendeley.

What is Zotero?

Zotero is a free program that works with Windows, Mac OS or Linux operating systems.

Download Zotero

Zotero consists of three different pieces of software and you need to download and install two different files to access them all:

  • A database manager, the actual programme that you install and view on your computer. The programme's database is where you enter your references. When you install the database manager, an add-on is also installed in your word processing programme, such as Microsoft Word, where Zotero has its own menu tab. The add-on creates a link between the references you have collected in your database and your word processing programme. Using the add-on, you can insert references and create source lists in your work and you can design them based on a number of different reference systems.
  • A browser extension that helps you import references directly when you find them. The advantages of importing directly from the browser are that it is quick and that most of the important information is included. However, you should always check this to be sure.

Do I have to create an account in Zotero?

You do not need to create an account in Zotero to use the basic features such as inserting references in a document or creating bibliographies. However, to access all the features of Zotero, such as sharing your library in Zotero and synchronisation, you need to create an account in Zotero. Then you can create and share your reference library with others.

Please note that you are responsible for ensuring that no confidential or classified documents are uploaded to the Zotero cloud service.

Zotero's use of your personal information

You may use Zotero on your own computer without creating an account. In this case, no information is sent to Zotero. If you choose to create a Zotero account, the personal data you provide, such as your name and email address, will be processed in the United States.

Read more about what information Zotero collects External link.

Digital basic course in Zotero

The library has developed a digital basic course in Zotero that explains how to get started with the program and how to use it.

Guides och tutorials to Zotero

Mendeley is a free programme available in two versions: Mendeley Desktop and Mendeley Reference Manager.

To use Mendeley, you need to create an account on mendeley.com. This may mean that your personal data is processed in a country outside the EU.

Create account

Note: Do not use "Sign in via institution".

Mendeley Desktop och Mendeley Reference Manager

Mendeley Desktop is the original version. It has an add-on for Word and LibreOffice which you use for inserting source references and bibliographies in your document. Mendeley Desktop is installed on computers in the library and the university's computer labs.

From 1 September 2022, it is no longer possible to download and install Mendeley Desktop. If you have already installed Mendeley Desktop on your computer, you will continue to be able to use it.

Mendeley Reference Manager is newer and has an add-on for Word called Mendeley Cite which is still under development. Basic functions such as inserting references and bibliographies are available, however certain other functions such as changing the language for references to Swedish are not available yet.

Note that it is not possible to install Mendeley Cite if you are a student and use the Microsoft Office package provided by the university.



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This page was last updated 2024-04-21