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University of Vaasa writing guidelines: Citations and reference management

The guidelines contain instructions about the layout and contents of theses and other written assignments as well as instructions on how to refer to source literature and other material used in the work.

This section describes how to add references to sources. This section covers how source references are to be cited in University of Vaasa theses and other written study works. In academic writing, source reference practices vary depending on the publication and publishers, so always check the guidelines provided by the publisher when publishing.

At the University of Vaasa, use APA style to refer to sources. The general principle for adding references to sources is to refer to the author if possible. Use internal references within parentheses to refer to sources. In public and financial law, use only internal references for references to statutes, use footnotes for all other sources.

It is recommended practice to collect sources for use with reference management software.

Important information about adding citations and references

Each reference cited in text must be listed in the bibliography. There must be a citation in the text for every entry in the bibliography.

  • Citations refer directly to the bibliography
  • Readers can check references

Add citations and reference in a consistent manner throughout the text.

Use original sources.


List references in alphabetical order in the bibliography, with publications from the same author listed in chronological order from the oldest to the newest.

In the bibliography, a hanging indent is used, with a setting of 1.25 cm. This means that the indention of the bibliographical text in every paragraph starts from the second line.

Persistent identifier

Always use a persistent identifier when one is available, even when you refer to printed material. Enter a persistent identifier in the bibliography as a hyperlink, such as:


If the online material has a persistent identifier, it is not necessary to mention in the source list that it is online material or the date on which it was viewed.

A persistent identifier can also be found with terms Permalink or Permanent address.


DOI - Digital Object Identifier
Based on handle, often used by commercial publishers

Can be found on some publication archives, such as DHanken

URN - Uniform Resource Name
Identifier issued by the Finnish National Library, examples can be found in Osuva, Doria and Theseus

Restrected access

If the material is restricted to specific user groups, for example, to company employees (in the company intranet) or course participants (Moodle), make the citation as a regular website. From the reader's perspective however, it is good practice to mention this in the reference, for example, [Restricted availability].

Note that this applies only to University of Vaasa exercises and theses. However, if the work is written for a professional publication or intended for a wider audience who will not have access to the material (i.e., Moodle or the company intranet), cite the sources as personal communications and leave them out from the bibliography.

In-text citations

Cite references in parentheses by indicating the author's surname and the year of publication. When referring to an entire work, page numbers are not required. For more detailed instructions and examples of references in both the text and the bibliography, see APA Style website or APA Style Blog for up-to-date examples.

If you have already written a lot of your work, you can continue with the APA 6th edition.

Examples of citations in text

The nature of the reference can be regulated by using "see" or abbreviations such as "cf." (compare), for example: (cf. Allardt, 1976, pp. 52–53).

 ...your text (Saleem & Larimo, 2016).

Saleem and Larimo (2016) write that...

Multiple citations

If multiple studies support your statement, include multiple citations inside the same set of parentheses, in the same order that they would appear on the reference list:

Studies of reading in childhood have produced mixed results (Albright et al., 2004; Gibson, 2011; Smith & Wexwood, 2010).

Smith and Wexwood (2010) reported an increase in the number of books read, whereas Gibson (2011) reported a decrease. Albright et al. (2004) found no significant results.

Other considerations

Always place sources before the full stop.

Same author (in chronological order)
(Salminen, 1998, 2011)

Same author, same year, separate with an a, b...

Alphabetise the bibliography:

Lund, A. (2011)
Lund, A. (Ed.) (2013)
Lund, A. (2015a)
Lund, A. (2015b)
Lund, A., & Yan, R. (2014)
Lund, A., Yan, R., & Johansson, P. (2013)
Lund, A., & Östman, A. (2010)
Lund, A., & Östman, A. (2014)
Lund, V. (2015)
Lund University. (2010)
Lundström, S. (2011)

Reference management programs

With RefWorks you can
  • save and manage references from most databases, library catalogues and Google Scholar

  • make citations while writing in Word and Google Docs

  • make bibliographies with different styles (e.g. APA) or create you own styles​

  • share your references with others

RefWorks Licence for the University of Vaasa expires on December 31, 2021

With Mendeley, EndNote Basic and Zotero you can

  • save and manage references and documents (e.g. PDF files) from different databases and websites
  • make citations and bibliographies in Word
  • join and share references in different groups

The free versions of Mendeley and EndNote have limited functions and storage. None of the universities in Vaasa currently have access to the licensed versions.


Word has a simple built-in reference function, but it is very limited and its layout is often off, so it might be easier to insert references manually or with other tools.

Despite the reference management tool you are using, remember to always check the final look.

Quoting or paraphrasing

When citing references, you must distinguish between quotes and paraphrasing. When paraphrasing text, look for the key idea from the perspective of your research, and present it in your own words.

In direct quotes, quote the source verbatim. Use quotation marks for direct quotes if they are at least three words or up to three lines long. A direct quote is a verbatim copy from the original source. This means that highlights and any misspellings in the original source must also be included. Indent (1.5 cm) quotes longer than three lines, set the line spacing to 1, and don’t use quotation marks. Long direct quotes should be avoided. In public law works, quote legal text verbatim. Use quotation marks for the quote, a line spacing of 1, and italics. Indent the text 1 cm from the left.

”Typologies are problematic because parsimony is bought at the expense of nuance, but especially because they are inherently static. They provide a snapshot of the world at one point in time and do not easily capture mutations or the birth of new species.” (Esping-Andersen, 1999, pp. 73)

Note: Instead of dots, you can also use two en-dashes "––" to indicate that something has been left out from the quote.

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