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Instructions for Written Work

The use of sources

The use of sources is a crucial part of assignments, projects, and theses. Sources can include professional and research literature, articles from professional and scientific journals, legislation, standards, theses, interviews, emails, diverse electronic sources, or even an organisation’s internal documents. Sources of information of different kinds are needed e.g. for defining concepts, creating a theoretical context, examining and comparing earlier research outcomes, or for choosing a suitable research method for a thesis. Sources should be distinguished from research data, which is systematically analysed using a given method.

Sources should not be used in such a way that the work becomes a splintered list of references including fragments of information copied from different sources. Experienced users of sources evaluate, compare and comment on information from diverse sources and consider it in the light of their own aims and research questions.


Citations refer the reader to the bibliography, which contains accurate publication details for the source in question. Citations and the bibliography must match each other completely. Every source referred to in the body text must be found as a reference in the bibliography under the word or name mentioned in the citation, and each reference in the bibliography must appear in the text. It is advisable to add the citations and bibliography entries as your writing progresses; adding them afterwards is most difficult.

When citing sources, do not quote them directly but present the information and ideas included in them in your own words. Use direct quotations only in exceptional circumstances; it is acceptable, for instance, when something is expressed so concisely in the original text that paraphrasing it might distort it. Also laws, decrees, directives and standards can be quoted directly. Brief direct quotations from literature are placed in quotation marks.


Using citations

By using citations, the author expresses what sources they have used when writing their text. Citations are placed in the body text to differentiate information based on other sources from the author’s own work and ideas. Consequently, a scientific text must constantly make it clear to its reader what is attributable to the author and what is based on cited sources. Failure to acknowledge sources is considered plagiarism. The theses written at SeAMK are checked using the Ouriginal anti-plagiarism network service. Ouriginal checks the use of source literature, producing a report showing the possible unauthorized use of sources.

Although the use of citations is one of the key elements of academic writing, citing a source is not required when referring to generally known or logically deducible facts. Generally known facts include the first landing of humans on the Moon on 20 July 1969, or that there has been much discussion about climatic change in recent years.

There are several possible ways of making citations, with practices varying by scientific discipline and educational institution. Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences uses APA 7edition name-year systemCitation instructions are compiled in the Publication Manual of the American Association, some of the referral rules and examples can also be found on the website.


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