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Literature research guide

In 5 steps to a good theoretical basis

You can find lots of information on the internet, or by using library resources. But, how do you find a source that is relevant and usable for you? Read it here.


Processing and referencing

When you do research for your own publication, such as an article, book or graduating thesis, you will use existing text and other information sources. Using texts and ideas of others in your own publication is permitted, on the condition that you state the original (information) source. Referencing to a source is mandatory. This means you must add a reference in your text to what the original source was. If you do not, then you are guilty of plagiarism.

Citing sources: why?

Crediting the source

Quotation of one's sources is compulsory. This means that you have to put a reference in the text which tells what the original source is. This is to make things traceable (it's clear where your information comes from) and verifiable (you have understood and phrased the information you found correctly). When you don't cite your sources, you are guilty of plagiarism.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is copying text, audio-visual material, thought or reasoning of others and making it look like it’s your own work. Often plagiarism goes hand in hand with violation of copyright law, but not necessarily.

You can prevent plagiarism by crediting your source when you:

  • Use someone’s quote
  • Use someone’s ideas, opinions, or theories (paraphrasing)
  • Use information, such as statistics, graphs including data that has been collected by another
  • Use information such as drawings, pictures, or sound recordings


Citation styles

There are several ways of referencing. At the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences the APA method is often used, but also IEEE and Chicago citation styles.


In the video below more is explained about processing and referencing information using APA.

Manuals and applications

In the downloads section you find manuals for a variety of citation styles and also installation files for EndNote. With EndNote you keep track of the information you collect. You can also generated citations and source listings automaticly. Convenient!

Citing & paraphrasing


Citing means lliterally copying an excerpt from someone's publication. This can be some lines of text, but also a graph or a picture! It is allowed to borrow something from other people's work as long as you adhere to the copyright laws.


Paraphrasing is when you copy someone else's work in your own words. In this situation too, you are bound by copyright laws. The rules for paraphrasing are the same as those for citing. In the text a reference has to be made to the author and year of publication. The full reference has to be present in the bibliography.

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