TU Delft has great resources that explain to students the difference between citation, quotation and paraphrasing. Please visit the webpage HERE.
How to cite
Paraphrasing or citing?
Paraphrase if the idea or theory is important, but the exact words less so; cite if the exact words are as important as the ideas expressed.
Generally, arts scholars tend to cite, while science scholars paraphrase.
Paraphrasing: using your own words to describe someone else’s idea, theory or design.
Always refer to the original author’s text and clearly separate the paraphrased text from your own ideas.
Low power digital hardware and computational algorithms
frequently trade energy for quality. (Min and Chandrakasan, 2003) …
According to a study by Hendriks et al. (2006) the accuracy of these models…
Citing: using someone else’s words to describe their idea, theory or design
Always put the text between double quotation marks and refer to the original author’s document.
“Water content is an important factor in the acid- and alkaline-catalyzed transesterification of vegetable oil” (Kusdiana and Saka, 2003).
Keep your quotes short, too long quotations make your text difficult to read. Quotes substantiate your arguments, but it is your own input. Paraphrasing is often better than quote. You can view ideas often clearer and shorter in your own words.
Why paraphrase or cite?
Scholars almost always paraphrase or cite other people’s work in their papers or scientific articles.
Why is that?
- At the start of a paper or a scientific article you often have to give an overview of research that has already been carried out before.
- You need factual (e.g. statistical) data taken from the official source.
- You want to support your own arguments by using the words or ideas of influential scientists in the field.
- Sometimes you want to illustrate your point.
What is the difference between a reference list and a bibliography?
A reference list is a list of documents (books, articles, papers, presentations, e-mails…) that you cite or paraphrase from. You should always add a reference list at the end of your paper if you cite or paraphrase in the text.
A bibliography is a list of documents (books, articles, papers, presentations, e-mails…) that you have consulted during your research whether or not you cite or paraphrase from. A bibliography contains all references from the reference list.
When is using someone else’s work plagiarism?
Plagiarism is using someone else’s work or findings without indicating that you have done this. This is also valid for pictures and photographs etc. that you use to illustrate your arguments. Without a reference to the original author’s work, you give the impression that the ideas are your own. This is not allowed, and may result in your expulsion from university.
There is an exception: if knowledge is deemed common knowledge – in other words, something which everyone in a particular field knows – you do not need to refer to an original author. However, in this case it is a good idea to be cautious: if you are not sure, it is better to include a reference.
There are many different citation styles, with their own formatting rules and their own order for the literature in the reference list or bibliography.
Two important groups are the parenthesised styles and the numbered styles.
Parenthesised styles use an abbreviation of the full references immediately following the citation or paraphrase in the text (typically, the author’s name and date of publication; page numbers may be included), with a full reference in the reference list at the end of the paper. The reference list is usually ordered alphabetically according to first author’s surname.
A litre of water is required to produce every calorie of food (International Water Management Institute, 2006).
International Water Management Institute, 2006. Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture.
Numbered styles use a number immediately following the citation or paraphrase in the text (either in superscript or between square brackets), with a full reference in the reference list at the end of the paper. The reference list is numbered sequentially, which means that the references occur in the same order in which they occur in the text.
A litre of water is required to produce every calorie of food .
 Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (International Water Management Institute, 2006).
Different subject areas favour different citation styles. Some popular styles are Harvard, APA, Chicago and Numbered Style.
Examples of citation styles.
- Ask your teacher which style to use.
- If you are publishing, check the publisher’s ‘instruction for authors’.
- Otherwise, simply choose the style you like best, but be consistent.
- How to cite – Citation examples
- Plagiarism (Rien Elling)
- Citatiestijlen: hoe citeer je bronnen in de tekst? (dutch only) (J.A. Kopecka)
- Referentiestijlen, het samenstellen van een literatuurlijst met bronvermelding (dutch only) (J.A. Kopecka)
- Plagiarism and design(Prof.mr.dr. M.A.B. Chao-Duivis)
- APA 6th citations examples table