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Humak Citation Guide: The purpose of the guide

Humak University of Applied Sciences referencing guide

How are references and citations used in theses and other academic assignments?

NB: This Citation Guide presents the citation system used in Humak University of Applied Science only. It is in line with general citation guidelines in Finland but differs to some extent from some international guidelines. When submitting texts to other institutions and publications always consult the citation guidelines of the institute/publication in question.


Write in your own words, but cite a reference when the knowledge is not your own.

Using a wide range of sources and carefully citing references are prerequisites for a credible and evidence-based text. When making use of source material, the intention is not to repeat it word for word. Instead, you extract the essential details from the source material and apply that knowledge to your own topic. This also applies to foreign-language sources which are not intended to be translated verbatim. When writing a piece of academic work, you must never include any source that you yourself have not fully understood and assimilated. Use original and reliable sources. Make sure to check the reliability of the Internet sources in particular. Help with critically evaluating sources is available on this page.


Rule of thumb: the reader must be able to unambiguously distinguish which text is the author's own contribution and which has been obtained from elsewhere.


The main purpose of the source reference is to inform readers of whose text or ideas are being leaned upon or referenced, and where the author has taken the information on the subject. Readers should also be able to verify the accuracy of the information by comparing it to the original source. This also allows readers to more broadly familiarise themselves with the subject by referring to the original source material.


By referring to the source material we use, we show respect for the efforts of the author(s). Copyrights or Intellectual Property Rights protect published works and violating them constitutes plagiarism, which results in some form of punishment. Information generated by another person may be used as long as the origin of this information has been duly communicated.


Different research institutes and educational establishments often have their own specific instructions regarding referencing, but their basic principles are always the same. In all instances, Humak adheres to the instructions and practices outlined on this site.


Preserving the integrity of a text

When you include a lot of source material in your own piece of work, the integrity of your work can easily suffer. The quality of your writing can suffer as a result of the number of words taken up by in-text citations and the writing style of these sources influencing your own. For this reason, it is important that you take care to ensure your text flows and paraphrase citations in your own words in such a way that the rhythm and content of your text does not become fragmented.


  • Both art and play require imagination, surprises, unpredictability, and something rewarding. They also include fantasy and illusion. The sense of exploration and curiosity inherent to both form the building blocks for creativity and innovation. (Dissanayake 1974; 2000.) In addition, both art and play generate the experience of ‘flow’ for their authors (Csíkszentmihályi 2005, 126). The flow of play arises from the players sharing the reality of play and the game or play and the players merging together (Sava & Katainen 2004, 32).


You should allow your own thoughts to be in dialogue with the sources you use

The first and the last passage in the in the example below stems from the source material. In between is the author’s own text, which is shown in blue color. In particular, note how the author has linked the last sentence to the source reference using the ‘It’ pronoun, which integrates the content of the sentences. The author also makes a distinction between their own words and those loaned from the source by using the ‘We’ pronoun. The latter reference is abbreviated to Ibid. (short for ibidem, which means 'in the same book, chapter etc' in Latin). This is done when the same source is used consecutively. You can read more about the specifics of using this referencing technique and others in the "References in text" part of this guide.


  • Team interaction is one of the prerequisites for successful teamwork. Team performance can be described in terms of an iceberg in which, in addition to interaction, the important elements are achieving the goal, the individuals’ sense of membership, and commitment. (VehkaperäPirilä & Roivas 2013, 65–66.) I think the interaction in our working group was very natural, and all of the aspects mentioned in the iceberg model were in place. The cooperation in our group was effortless. Everyone was able to take on the appropriate responsibilities, and we got up and running efficiently. It was also nice to note that everyone took the work seriously and carried out their own part diligently. Team performance is also discussed in the book Innostu ja innovoi (Ibid., 65). According to it, many of the challenges of teamwork are avoided when the group tasks are challenging, meaningful, and require the participation of all group members. 

NB: The names of publications and other sources in this guide are for the most part translations of their Finnish counterparts (translated for this purpose only). Therefore it is not possible to find the publications by their names or other indications given here. 

When is a reference required?

Referencing styles

There are three different ways to indicate source references: 

  1. A reference to a textual source, where the reference is inserted into the body of the text in brackets. 
  2. Footnotes, where the reference is indicated by a superscript number at the relevant point in the body text and where the corresponding references are gathered at the bottom of the page (in the footer) as a list.
  3. Endnotes, where the reference is indicated by a superscript number at the relevant point in the body text and where all the corresponding references are presented as a list at the end of the entire text.

For the most part, Humak favours an in-text referencing system (the first of the three examples above), and this guide has been prepared with that system in mind. A single referencing system should be used throughout a text. You may not change it in the middle of a piece of writing. If an in-text referencing system is used to indicate references in the text, this does not prevent the use of footnotes to, for example, specify or clarify a particular point separately from the body text or to provide necessary additional information.

In some exception cases, a footnote or endnote referencing system may also be used if, for example, a publisher has provided a specific instruction regarding citation or if a thesis supervisor has given special permission to do so, you can also use a lower or final reference system. This might be preferential if a particular thesis uses an unusually large number of documentary sources. In this case, in-text references could become so long that they would substantially impinge upon the readability of the text. 

Citation methods

Do we always need to cite works?

A citation or reference is always required when we directly or indirectly use data or knowledge that stems from a specific source. Generally speaking, information that is understood to be so-called general knowledge does not necessarily have to be supported with a citation. For example, if you were to write: "Finland is a republic" or "the sun will set in the West", this would be considered to be in the realm of general knowledge, and no reference would be needed.

If, however, you were to qualify either of these statements by referring to a specific definition, then a reference may be required. If you write, for example: "Finland is a republic, but recently there has been a public debate on fewer opportunities for political participation", you would need to include at least one citation for a source in which this debate has occurred.


The question of what needs to be referenced and what does not is not always straightforward. If you are unsure whether something requires a reference, it is a good idea to consult your teacher, an experienced writer, or potentially the publisher or author of the source in question. It should be noted, however, that very rarely does a text include too many references.

The use of sources is an essential part of an expert’s way of producing and interpreting information

Here, the guiding principle is that references should be used in all evidence-based texts and other publications. The use of references is especially important in theses, essays, reports, and journal articles, but sometimes it is useful to also include references in other types of work, such as presentations and summaries and even comments in a discussion forum.

When sources are used for different purposes, they can be referenced in slightly different ways. For example, in theses, the source references must be marked in detail, but in a slide show used to support the speech, a more general referencing method is sufficientOften a publisher/author, event organizer, or teacher will give you more detailed instructions on how to mark sources in each situation.