In academic texts, references are used to show from where information has been collected and to guide the reader to further reading.

There are three main reasons for referencing:

  • to show which previous works your own work is drawing on
  • to distinguish your own thoughts from those of others and to avoid suspicions of plagiarism
  • to enable the reader to check out your sources or to delve deeper into the subject

Different academic disciplines have developed their own ways of writing references. Examples of reference styles are Harvard, Oxford, APA, IEEE and Vancouver. Your supervisor should be able to tell you which is the most common and desirable style within your discipline.

Reference styles

Here is a selection of guides to the most commonly used reference styles:


APA Style References (American Psychological Association)
Reference guide for APA 7 (Karolinska Institute Library)
Reference guide for APA 7th edition (Lund University)


Harvard - writing a reference list (Umeå University Library)


IEEE Reference Guide (IEEE Publishing Operations)


Deakin guide to Oxford (Deakin University)


Reference guide Vancouver (Karolinska Institute Library)
Citing and referencing: Vancouver (Monash University)


Reference management software

In order to simplify the handling of references and reference lists, there are so called reference managers. EndNote and Zotero are two examples.

With a reference management software, you can:

  • Import references and PDFs to the reference manager from search tools and databases
  • Create a searchable database with your references
  • Insert references into MS Word documents
  • Create a references list in your text


LiU has an agreement that allows access to EndNote Desktop for LiU students and employees. Zotero is a free software with open source code.

As a LiU student or employee, you are welcome to sign up for workshops in Zotero and EndNote that the Library regularly offers online.

More information about reference management software and how you can access them is available at Liunet Student and Liunet Employee (sign-in with LiU-ID required).

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