Citation guide

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. The site's content will be translated into English in August 2024

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. 

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. 

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 sufficient. Often a publisher/author, event organizer, or teacher will give you more detailed instructions on how to mark sources in each situation. 

An in-text reference and the corresponding bibliography entry work as a pair 

In-text references should be short so that they do not unduly diminish the readability of the text. For this reason, only the information needed for the reference to be accurately and unequivocally linked to the list of sources/bibliography is indicated in the reference. In other words, the reference functions as the key and the list of sources as the lock. With the right key, the lock opens and leads to the reader to the source of the information. The following rule of thumb is important to keep in mind in order to ensure the key matches the lock: the first word in the in-text reference must be the same as that in the corresponding entry in the list of sources.

The following information is required for the list of sources:

  • Author(s), editor(s) 
  • Year of publication 
  • Title of the source 
  • Translator(s) 
  • The edition cited, if there are several 
  • Publisher’s domicile 
  • The editor of the work, in the case of a compilation/edited collection 
  • The title of the work, in the case of a compilation/edited collection 
  • The page references for an article in a compilation/edited collection 
  • Serial title and number in series 
  • Volume or publication number, possibly a date for online journals/webzines 
  • Time and place of the event where e.g. a presentation was delivered

Tip: when you find something interesting in a source material and you want to cite it, write down the exact source reference information immediately. Remember to also write down the page(s) the quotation originates from. This will save you a lot of time and effort when you come to compile the list of sources in the final text.

Make a preliminary bibliography in the early stages. This will give you an indication of how your body of sources looks as a whole. 

Source references are entered in the text after a sentence or paragraph that cites thoughts and ideas that are not your own. The reference entry refers to the author’s surname, the year of publication of the work and the page, pages, or the legislation from which the idea was taken. For example, the first name of the author or their initials are not included, nor is the word “page” or the abbreviation “p.”. Links to electronic sources are also excluded from the source reference.

Do not place a comma between the last name and the year of publication, but do include one between the year of publication and the page number. If the citation spans multiple consecutive pages, the page numbers are joined by a dash. An em dash should be used with no spaces between the numbers; e.g. 21–27. If the citation spans several non-consecutive pages, the pages are marked as individual pages with a comma between them. Depending on your source reference, you may also need to combine these two approaches, e.g. (Ruohotie 1998, 31–37, 75, 145).

Sources are not always attributable to a person. In such cases, the body that has compiled the text and the year of publication are included in the reference instead, e.g. (City of Oulu 2018), (Ministry of Education 2019). If the author is unknown or cannot otherwise be found, the name of the source itself can be used. Acts of law and legislation are only cited under the name of the e.g. act in question, its serial number as stated in the statute book, and the year in which it was brought into force.

All content within a piece of writing that is not explicitly referenced in the references is interpreted as the author’s own work. In order to avoid confusion regarding authorship, it is very important to clearly indicate the limits of a citation or indirect reference in the details of the source reference entry. This is done through the correct use of punctuation. 

When referring only to the sentence preceding the source reference entry, the source reference is immediately placed after the text and a full stop is placed after the reference. It is placed outside the closing bracket.

Rule of thumb: one sentence, one full stop.

  • Setting and reaching milestones is important in generating and maintaining motivation (Bandura 1982, 134).
  • The aim of a thesis project is to develop and demonstrate the student’s ability to apply their knowledge and expertise in the professional area associated with their vocational training (The Government decree on universities of applied sciences 352/2003).

When we wish to insert a reference for more than the sentence preceding the citation, we insert a full stop immediately after the last sentence and then insert the citation itself, as if it was a sentence of its own, with its own punctuation. In this case, the full stop for the reference goes inside the closing bracket.

Rule of thumb: multiple sentences, multiple full stops. 

  • ​Maintaining motivation is difficult if the target is too far ahead in the future. Motivation can be improved by setting interim goals for the near future that lead onto the main goal. The sense of self-satisfaction we get from achieving interim goals, especially if this is tied to achieving a certain level of performance, can build an innate interest. (Bandura 1982, 134.) 

No page numbers are required when the material being cited is such that it is dealt with throughout an entire book, or if we wish to mention on a general level that a book has been written on this topic. 

  • This topic has been written about in Finland by Anne Partanen (2011) and Leena Ylönen (2011). 

Not every source (e.g. URLs or e-mail messages) has page numbers. Naturally, in this case, page numbers do not need to be provided in the reference.

Many sources from the same author in the same year

If we cite several of an author’s texts that have the same year of publication, these works need to be differentiated in a clear and simple way. A lower case letter is used alphabetically to do this. Each source is assigned its own lower case letter, which is used for both the source reference and the bibliography entry. If the chronological order of the sources is known, the alphabetical letter order follows the age order. If the chronology is not known, the author can decide on an order for themselves.  

  • Humak ensures that students develop their information literacy skills throughout their degree studies. Students begin by becoming familiar with the basics of information gathering, evaluating information sources, and the ethical use of this information. Toward the mid-point of their studies, there is an emphasis on students learning to utilise sources of information in a versatile way and assess different needs for information. When students reach the end of the their studies, they are expected to be proficient in information gathering and applying this information, particularly in development activities. (Humak University of Applied Sciences 2018a, 5; 2018b, 8; 2018c, 8.)

Yhdistetty lähdeviittaus useasta eri lähteestä

Mikäli usea lähde viittaa samaan asiaan, lähdeviittaukset voi yhdistää. Tällöin lähteet on tapana sijoittaa ikäjärjestykseen, vanhin ensiksi. 

  • Kolmannelle sektorille ulkoistamisen haasteita sitä vastoin ovat toiminnan rahoituksen epävarmuus, järjestöväen ikääntyminen ja aktiivisten toimijoiden vähäinen määrä (Jurvansuu 2002, 14; Heikkala 2003, 13; Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriö 2011, 23, 31–32).

Mikäli lähteet eivät ole yksimieliset, lähteet täytyy kohdentaa tarkasti, jopa kesken virkkeen. 

  • Oppimisteorioita ovat täydentäneet tutkimukset oppimistyyleistä (esim. Kolb 2005) ja moniälykkyyden käsitteestä (Gardner 1996). 

Multiple authors

If a publication being cited has three or more authors, all of their last names must be stated the first time you refer to the source in question. The last names are separated by a comma, apart from the last two names, which are separated by the & symbol. 

  • The way experts structure their knowledge is based on their understanding and conceptualisation of the central issues. They perceive information as meaningful structures and totalities. (Bransford, Brown & Cocking 2000, 31–32, 36.)  

When a second reference is made to the same multi-authored text, only the surname of the first author is cited, followed by the term ‘et al.’ (short for ‘et alii’, which means ‘and others’ in Latin).

  • Knowledge is not, therefore, based on fragmented knowledge but, rather, on the management of totalities and the contextual and flexible application of knowledge (Bransford et al. 2000, 36).

Repeatedly and consecutively referring to the same source 

When referring to the same source multiple times in succession, the first reference should include the author, year of publication, and pages as usual. It is sufficient to use the term Ibid. in conjunction with any further mentions of the same source. The Ibid reference can be used across paragraphs within the same section (=paragraphs separated by a single space), but not across a numbered paragraph or chapter.

In the example below, references to the publication of the Ministry of Education and Culture could not have been indicated as a single reference throughout the entire text, as they are separated by the writer’s own words (in blue). In this example, the page number of the Ibid. reference is the same, but it could also be different.

  • Accessibility has a broad range of meanings. Its different perspectives can be used to examine how easily information, systems, devices, software, or services can be accessed by people, regardless of their individual characteristics, such as disability, belonging to a minority group, or having a low income. (Ministry of Education and Culture 2013, 15.) The main aspects of accessibility examined in this study are its regional and societal aspects and economic accessibility. Accessibility refers to making various aspects of life accessible to more people and includes adapting environments, services, and service provision to meet the needs of especially people with disabilities (Ibid., 15). This study does not examine accessibility in isolation, but does, however, consider some of its specific characteristics in the context of an examination of artistic activities carried out in institutional care settings.

PLEASE NOTE: The Ibid. reference only refers to the previous citation. As such, caution is required when using it in order to ensure that accidental associations are not made when, for example, making changes to the structure of your text. It is a good idea to use full references during the writing and editing stages of preparing a document, and only replace multiple consecutive references with Ibid. during the proofreading phase of the process.

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.

Writer-centric citations can add nuance to a text

One way of referring to a source is to use the writer-centric citation method. When using this method, the citation is reduced to simply the year of publication and any relevant page number(s), and is inserted into the text in brackets immediately after the name of the author.

Writer-centric citation emphasises the source of the information or knowledge being presented. It signals that the statement being presented is precisely the interpretation of the person (or entity) being mentioned. Writer-centric citations can also serve the purpose of emphasising the weight of an opinion and its status. The first time you use such citation, it is customary to mention the author’s first name and even their title. Subsequent, mentions only need to include the author’s surname (and the year of publication and possibly the page number or numbers).

  • According to Doctor of Arts Asta Raami (2015), the conscious exploitation of intuition is an important asset in understanding our own creative processes.

You can also use a writer-centric citation when you want to start a paragraph with a reference and conclude it with another reference or with your own commentary. When doing this, however, one must take into account the aforementioned emphasis and consider whether it fits the context in question. By making small in-text selections, the reader can be shown where the limits of the citation are.

In the example below, the ideas drawn from the sources and the writer’s own reasoning are highlighted in different colours. The black text in the beginning of the paragraph refers to the work of Timonen and the black sentence at the end is a writer-centric citation of the work of the Paavilainen, Rantanen, and Torikka. The remaining text in the middle in bold is the writer’s own reasoning.

  • Students learn in digital environments through participation and collaboration with others (Timonen 2016, 33). To ensure that these two activities are realised and supported as well as possible, the instructor must focus on promoting a sense of community. Without communality, it is difficult to establish the kinds of networks, both educational and professional, that are essential to successful online learning. And, as Paavilainen, Rantanen, and Torikka (2016, 91) have noted, getting to know other students is important to the creation of a sense of communality. The students’ sense of community supports their learning in a framework in which their studies, work, and free time activities must be negotiated. 

The bibliography gives an indication of the quality of the text 

The bibliography allows the reader to quickly understand what the basis of the work in question is. It helps the reader assess the breadth and level of the knowledge base used. The information in the bibliography allows the reader to find the source material, to ascertain its existence, and to determine whether the author has validly interpreted the information contained in it. The bibliography also often serves as a source of inspiration for familiarising ourselves with some of the broader aspects of a particular topic.

The easiest way to find the names of the author or authors of a publication is usually the title page (i.e. the first few pages of the book) and/or the cover. With regard to edited collections, the names of the editors are usually found on the title page and/or cover, whereas the authors of the respective chapters or articles are usually only listed on the contents page(s). Tip: library databases such as Finna are often a comprehensive source of information about a publication.

In regard to websites or news articles, the author’s name is usually at the beginning or end of the piece of writing. Sometimes, however, finding an author’s details can require a little digging. There is also a source of material that has no personal author. The name of the entity (institution, project, etc.) that produced the content of the text is used instead.

Rule of thumb: The list of sources should include each and every source that has been cited in the rest of the text and only these sources (secondary sources should not be included).

The list of sources/bibliography should begin on the next new page after the main body text, under the heading SOURCES. At Humak, we do not separate publications by type (e.g. printed and digital sources). Each source used is included in the same list. Interviews are an exception to this and are listed in a separate list after the list of sources under the heading INTERVIEWS.

Rule of thumb: The first word of the entry in the list of sources is ALWAYS the same as that of the in-text reference.

The source list entry begins EITHER with the author’s surname OR the name of the institution that produced the text OR the name of the document itself. If known, the author’s first name follows the surname. Next comes the year of publication and title of the publication. What follows next depends a little on the type of source in question. See the page on “Examples of different sources” for more information on how to reference different types of source material. 

The reader should be able to find a source material in the list of sources on the basis of the corresponding in-text citation. Sources should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name. If there are references to different works from the same author, these are listed in chronological order (oldest first). If the list includes works by the same author that are published in the same year, these are differentiated by the inclusion of a lower case letter after the year of publication. These works are listed alphabetically by the first letter of the title.

  • Haasio, Ari & Ojaranta, Anu & MattilaMarkku 2018. On the trail of a lie. VantaaAvain 
  • Humak University of Applied Sciences 2019a. Training in cultural production. Curriculum 2018–2024. Retrieved 06/09/2019. 
  • Humak University of Applied Sciences 2019b. Training in interpreting and linguistic accessibility. Curriculum 2018–2024. Retrieved 06/09/2019. 
  • Humak University of Applied Sciences 2019c. Training in community-based pedagogy. Curriculum 2018–2024. Retrieved 06/09/2019.  
  • HykKe – Hyvä kasvaa Keravalla (business) 2019. HykKe facts. Retrieved 06/09/2019 http:// 
  • IkonenEili 2016. Portrait painting metaskills in the development of working life. In Kai Pärssinen & Anne Pässilä & Mari Martin & Maiju Pulkki (eds.) Artist as developer. Artistic interventions at work. Kokos Publications 1/2016, 185–203. 
  • Korhonen, Johanna 2013. Ten paths to populism. How silent Finland became the loudest voice in the playing field of populism. Helsinki: Into Kustannus
  • Korhonen, Johanna 2016. What’s the matter with them? The pain of Finnish public debate – and some ways forward. Helsinki: Kirjapaja
  • KorhonenMaarit 2014. Wake up, School! Helsinki: Into Kustannus
  • Majabacka, Benny 2016. VS: About the intermediary mechanisms of the Agency for Cultural Well-being. Email 28/10/2016. 
  • NiinistöSauli 2019. Twitter message @niinisto 23/08/2019, 4:49. 
  • Räsänen, Helena 2016. Cultural activities are possible even in the public sector so long as the will is there (Lecture). What is the future of cultural well-being? (Seminar). Arts Promotion Centre and Cultural Welfare in Turku network. University of Turku 06/03/2014. Accessed 27/09/2016. 
  • Tikkaoja, Oona 2016. Personal communication 16/11/2016.

The above sources as references in text:

  • HaasioOjaranta & Mattila 2018 and then thereafter Haasio et al. 2018 
  • Humak University of Applied Sciences 2019a, Humak University of Applied Sciences, 2019b, and Humak University of Applied Sciences 2019c 
  • HykKe – Hyvä kasvaa Keravalla (business) 2019 
  • Ikonen 2016 
  • Korhonen 2013, Korhonen 2014, and Korhonen 2016 
  • Majabacka 2016 
  • Niinistö 2019 
  • Räsänen 2016 
  • Tikkaoja 2016

If two authors with the same surname have published a source material in the same year, they are separated by the initial of their first name in the list of sources: (Liimatainen A. 2017) and (Liimatainen S. 2017). Should the authors share the same surname and first initial, they are listed in alphabetical order by their middle name, if known. (Hakala J. 2018) and (Hakala J. T. 2018). In any other case, the first letters of the names or parts thereof are not entered in the source reference. 

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.

It is usually easy to find the year in which a written source has been published after a little searching. If the year cannot be found, we insert “n.d.” (no date) instead. This replaces the year in both the in-text reference and the source list.

NOTE: If the date on which an electronic source (most typically a website) has been written is not clear, the year in which the citation is being made is used instead. Websites typically show the date they were last updated at the bottom of the page. However, these do not necessarily refer to the written content on the site, but to the graphic look of the website. You should be cautious when using such information about the dates, and only include it in a reference if the link between the date and the content being cited is indisputable.

  • Around 1,500 students study at Humak and are taught by 130 experts (Humak University of Applied Sciences 2019).

As a source of reference, this would be:

  • Humak University of Applied Sciences 2019. About Humak. Retrieved 05/09/2019.

Some references may include the abbreviation “s.a.” instead of the n.d. abbreviation. It is an acronym for the Latin expression sine anno, meaning ‘without years’. This is not used at Humak.

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.

The basic principle in referring to different sources is the need to provide the reader with sufficient information in a systematic form for them to be able to find the original source should they wish to.

More detailed instructions on referring to different source types is provided below. 

In the case of a printed work of an individual author, the order of the source list entry shall be: Surname, first name year. Title of the work. The name of the translator if there is one, the edition number in question (if this is known) and, finally, the domicile and name of the publisher.  

  • Burkhardt, Joanna 2016. Teaching information literacy reframed. 50+ framework-based exercises for creating information literate learners. Chicago: Neal-Schuman. 

In the case of a work produced jointly by several authors, the authors names are separated by the & symbol. Pay close attention to whether the names stated are those of the authors or the editors. If the names listed in the citation are followed by the word (ed.) or otherwise referred to as the editor of the work on the title page, the material in question is a compilation/edited collection and is referred to differently (see the section on referring to articles in an edited collection). 

  • Ojasalo, Katri & Moilanen, Teemu & Ritalahti, Jarmo 2018. Development work methods. New skills in business. 5th edition. Helsinki: Sanoma Pro.  

Please note that the publisher and the place of publication are different things, for example, a Helsinki-based publisher may print a publication in Estonia. The name and domicile of the publisher are stated last. NOT the place of print and name of the printer. 

If the book name contains two heading levels, a full stop is placed between them. 

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.

E-books come in a wide variety of formats. Regardless of the format, however, E-books can be distinguished from regular websites in the way they constitute a logical and longer entity. E-books are typically structured in such a way that makes it easiest to read them on an e-reader/tablet.

Online publications are also e-books even though their format may be identical to that of the printed work. Thus, for example, a thesis published in the Theseus publishing repository as a .pdf document is also classed as an e-book. In principle, the same reference information is used when citing e-books as with printed books, but a URL link and the date on which the source was accessed are also added to the reference. An e-book or online publication can, of course, also be a serial or a periodical. If that is the case, attention must be paid to the specifics of the source when referencing it.

PLEASE NOTE: If an online publication is stored at a permanent address in an archive, this permanent address should be used in the entry in the list of sources and not the temporary search header that appears in the browser’s address bar when you search for the work. Persistent addresses are e.g. those beginning with URN and DOI.

If an e-book does not have page numbers, you should mention the chapter and paragraph that the citation is taken from, either as a number or heading.

If the pages in the book are numbered:

  • It is important for higher education students to know how to use data retrieval methods and sources in a diverse manner, as well as to identify their different uses in different situations (Kangas & Mäkelä 2019, 14).

If the pages are not numbered, refer to the e-book chapters numerically or with a title/heading.

  • Path dependency theory refers to a certain degree of interlocking with existing technological or other solutions, whereby functionality can no longer be transformed without significant effort and cost. We have almost become dependent on the ‘path’ on which we have thus far travelled. (Hiltunen & Hiltunen 2014, chapter “What does technology mean, and what about technology development?”)

When adding the book to the list of sources, it is a good idea to mention that the work is an e-book like this (e-book) include the date of publication with sufficient accuracy. In the case of a book-format document for which a year of publication has been issued. If the format is something else, you will use the address in your browser:

  • Hiltunen, Elina & Hiltunen, Kari 2014. Techno Life 2035. How does technology change our future? (e-book). Helsinki: Talentum.
  • Kangas, Pirjo & Mäkelä, Hilla 2019. The importance and development of information literacy and knowledge acquisition skills in digital learning. In Päivi Timonen & Hilla Mäkelä & Sanna Lukkarinen (eds.) Getting digital on campus. Highlights in the development of e-learning. Humak University of Applied Sciences publications, 80, 12–23. Retrieved 06/09/2019.
  • Hinnerichsen, Miia & Soininen, Tuija-Liisa 2016. Adopt a monument. Best practices. Tampere Museum Publications 140. Retrieved 30/10/2016. https://issuu. com/vapriikki/docs/adoptoi_monumentti_iso.

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.

Works with different writers are referred to as compilations or edited collections. When this is the case, the publication usually has one or more editors. The names of the editors are often mentioned on the publication’s cover and on the title page, and the authors of the chapters or articles are provided in the table of contents and on the respective title page. The editor is not always a person, as it can also be an institution.

When citing a source in an edited collection, the reference must direct the reader to the author whose ideas are being cited and the page or pages on which the matter in question is found. Thus, the author of the article is referenced and not the editor of the collected works. In the examples below, the title of the edited collection and the names of the editors are marked in red.

In-text reference:

  • Students at Humak University of Applied Sciences are also of the opinion that the creation of community is a challenge to digitalisation: how can a sense of community be created for students who may not have much in common other than their studies (PaavilainenRantanen & Torikka 2016, 89).

List of sources reference:

  • PaavilainenSalla & Rantanen, Marianna & TorikkaSuvi 2016. Students in an online environment. In Jukka Määttä & T. Pohjanmäki & Päivi Timonen (eds.) Towards a digital campus. HUMAK University of Applied Sciences publications, 22, 89–95. 

The reference in the list of sources should include the author’s name, year, article title, the names of the editors and the title of the publication, the publisher’s details, and the page numbers of the article in question. Note that the editors of the work are listed according to first name, surname order.

In addition, the page numbers for the article in the edited collection should be added at the end of the reference. NOTE: Remember to include all the pages that the article takes up and not just those that you have cited directly. Page numbers are separated by an em dash, with no spaces between the dash and the page numbers.

  • Määttä, Jukka 2018. The story of HUMAK University of Applied Sciences. In Hanna Kiuru & Arto Lindholm (eds.) Working together. 20 years of HUMAK University of Applied Sciences. Helsinki: HUMAK University of Applied Sciences, 19–30. Retrieved 30/05/2019
  • ​Silvanto, Satu 2016. The significance of festivals. Introduction to the themes of Finnish book festivals. In Satu Silvanto (ed.) Festivals of Finland. Helsinki: Cupore, 8–16.

In the reference:

  • Määttä 2018, possible page number
  • Silvanto 2016, possible page number 

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.

Periodical publications (e.g. publication series of various research institutes) and journals are one of the genres of edited works. In cases like this, the periodical or journal takes on the role of the editor.

Sometimes, however, a publication in a series may also consist of only one author’s text. These typically include dissertations that appear in a university’s publication series. 

  • Kullaslahti, Jaana 2011. Competency and development of online teachers at universities of applied sciences. Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis 1074. Retrieved 5/05/2019

In the text reference:

  • Kullaslahti 2011

Sources taken from periodical publications and journals are entered in the source list by first placing the author’s name, year of publication, article title, publication name, volume number, and pages on which the article is found in the publication. The publisher’s name and location are not mentioned because they can change, but the name remains. The title of the serial publication often stems from the name of the publisher itself (e.g. the name of the research institute), and does not always need to be mentioned. For the sake of clarity, it is sometimes also worth mentioning the article’s genre, e.g. editorial, position paper, interview, column, etc.

  • Houni, Pia & Ansio, Heli 2014. The artist’s profession today – information, skills, discourses. Social Policy 79, 4/2014, 375–387.  
  • Lahtivuori, Sallamari 2018. When Hugo became deaf, his family no longer had a shared language – sign language took over their whole life. Satakunnan Kansa 13/10/2018. Retrieved 05/09/2019.   

In the text reference:

  • Houni & Ansio 2014, possible page number 
  • Lahtivuori 2018, possible page number 

If the author of an article is not mentioned in the journal, refer to the journal name.

When referring to online journal articles, the date of issue is written at the end of the reference instead of the journal’s issue number. Therefore, the year number is mentioned twice in the entry in the list of sources. If a journal is primarily published online, then its own page numbering is used if available.

In the example below, Online Communication is written twice; once as the author and then again as the name of the publication and issue number. In this context, the repetition is necessary as, in addition to the author’s name, nothing is added at the beginning of the list of sources than the year. Any other clarifying details are written as described below. Similarly, the reference to the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper only includes the year of publication at the start and then the date later on.

  • Online Communication 2010. The many faces of social media. Online Communication 1/2010, 12–19.  

  • Helsingin Sanomat 2019. The consequences of the decline in the birth rate also extend to Helsinki. Editorial. Helsingin Sanomat 02/09/2019. Retrieved 05/09/2019. 

In the text reference:

  • Online Communication 2010, possible page number 

  • Helsingin Sanomat 2019, possible page number

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.

Official documents are referenced by the name of the institution that produced them. Official documents include, for example, minutes of meetings, budgets, operational reports and plans, newsletters, etc.

Reference in text:

  • Kajaani City 2019 
  • Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 2017 
  • Päijät-Häme Animal Protection Association 2018 
  • City of Oulu 2016

The reference in the list of sources should indicate the exact name of the documents and any identification numbers as indicated by the document publisher.

  • City of Oulu 2016. Introduction of an environmental art fee for land donation. Minutes Dno OUKA/5249/ 

For example, the minutes of meetings held by associations are released under the name of the association in question, even if they have the names of persons as signatories. For this reason, they are referred to with the name of the association and not those of the signatories.

Public administrative documents are public and published on one of any number of forums. In contrast, documents complied by associations or private companies, may not be. Even if a document and its contents is known to the association in question and is theoretically also in the public domain, it has not been published in the true sense of the word. For this reason, references to such documents include the words: Not published. If, however, they have been released on any open forum online, they are considered to have been published. In this case, the “not published” notation is not added to the reference. Instead, the reference should include the date on which the document was accessible online and the full URL of the website on which it was published.

  • Siikakoski Athletics Association 2017. Board meeting minutes 23/03/2017. Not published. 
  • Turku Nature Conservancy Association 2019. Action plan. Retrieved 15/09/2019. 

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.

Sources that typically do not have a named author include laws and decrees. Even if laws are made through a specific process, and the body that authored them is identifiable, and even if they are signed by the President of Finland, none of these parties are designated as authors. Nor is any mention made of the communications channel through which they have been accessed. In other words, a Finlex or Edilex URL or a legislative edition is not stated in the list of references. The underlying principle here is that laws and decrees appear in the same form wherever they are accessible and, as such, do not require a reference indicating their location.  

Laws and decrees are referred to with the name of the act in question and the decree number and year, which are easily found in the Finlex database. For older laws, the year is written in date format, before the act number. For example, the reference information for the Universities of Applied Sciences Act is 14.11.2014/932. When you refer to an act such as this in an in-text citation and the list of sources, you reverse the act number and year and remove the date information.

Laws are entered in the source list with the same first words as the in-text entry.  

  • Universities of Applied Sciences Act 932/2014. 

If a specific part of an act is cited in the text, it is included in the reference

  • Decree on vocational studies 256/1995, Section 18​

Other sources that don’t typically have a named author include brochures, flyers, stickers, and other similar materials. You should, however, always try to find out who the author is. For example, the author of a brochure is often stated in a less than obvious place, such as on the back of the brochure or on the edge in very small text. Posters, even though they are publicly viewable, are not officially published in the form of a publication, so the words “not published” are included at the end of the reference. 

  • United Against Plutocracy 2019. Poster. Not published.

As a reference in the text:

  • United Against Plutocracy 2019.

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.

How does one know if a source is published?

Not all works that can be used as source material are officially published in one forum or another. Even traditional forms of written material such as books or journals are not necessarily published. The fact that a text or an image is publicly displayed does not necessarily imply that the work is published in the sense meant in this context.

Check whether the book or journal has an ISSN or ISBN number. If they have either number, they have been published. In general, the serial number can be found on the title page, in the case of a book, or in the publication information box, in the case of a journal. The ISSN number means that it is a series publication (several issues are published with the same name) and the ISBN number means that it is a single work.

Sometimes a work can be both; i.e. part of a series AND a single publication. Doctoral dissertations published as part of publication series by a university are a good example of this kind of source. In this case, either of the aforementioned ways of referring to this kind of source is fine. 

In terms of electronic sources, everything that is publicly available on the internet is deemed to have been published. For example, a Twitter message is public, but any material that can only be accessed via a password-protected sign-in, such as a closed forum is not.

Whether the source is published or not, does not necessarily determine its value as such. Both published and unpublished material can be valuable sources. However, since the purpose of the list of sources is to guide the reader as accurately as possible to the source, it is appropriate to mention if a source is not publicly available. In this case, the reader knows not to set about looking for the source in any public archives, libraries or any publicly accessible webpages. For this reason, references to such documents include the words: ”Not published”.

Examples of typical unpublished sources:

Public administrative documents are public and published on one of any number of forums. In contrast, documents complied by associations or private companies, may not be. Even if a document and its contents is known to the association in question and is theoretically also in the public domain, it has not been published in the true sense of the word.

  • Kaituenkoski Village Association 2017. Board meeting minutes 23/03/2017. Not published. 

Also, many companies and other organisations produce material internally, such as guides for new staff, and these are generally unpublished. 

  • Kiskon Konepaja Oy 2013. Internal communication guide. Not published. 

Other typical source materials are the various reports produced by projects and working groups on their activities. Sometimes reports are published, but the majority are not.

  • Humak University of Applied Sciences 2018. Final report of the Lights On! project. Not published.

Websites that require you to login or be a registered member to access, such as an organisation’s intranet or a closed discussion forum, are not considered as published material. In the below (fictional) example, Virtual Machine is a closed (i.e. requires membership) discussion forum for young people that features a chat environment called “Boxi”. Discussions carried out in the forum on 14/08/2019 are used as a source.

  • Virtual Machine 2019. Boxi 14/08/2019. Not published. 

We must be very careful when using unpublished information to ensure our use does not violate the protection of the unpublished source without the express knowledge and permission of those parties whose information is being used. For example, if you use a non-public discussion forum material as a source, members of the forum should be informed of this use.

Always check with authors or rights holders of unpublished documents as to whether the information contained therein is confidential and then act accordingly. 

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.

Websites are referred to in the same way as other sources 

Websites are often important sources, but they can make referencing difficult due to the fragmented and multi-layered nature of the information they contain and their style, which makes it harder to see connections between the content.

When dealing with websites, we are primarily concerned with identifying the body that has produced the textual content (or e.g. images or videos) they contain. If the author of the text is immediately obvious, we use this person’s name in the reference. If the author’s name is not immediately apparent (e.g. if it is stated somewhere not explicitly connected to the text, such as in a lower banner), it should not be used. If it is impossible to associate a person with a citation we wish to make, the author shall be identified as the body owning the website. Sometimes, however, the name of the site owner cannot be found. This might be the case if, for example, the website in question has been produced by multiple agencies and exists as a separate entity. Here, the name of the website is used; e.g. ( 2019).

The example references below are in the form (Statistics Centre 2018), (Statistics centre 2019a), and (Statistics centre 2019b). 

Each separate website is a distinct source. So when, for example, you leave the main page by clicking on a link to another page, you are moving from one source to another. It is important that the sources are separated because, for example, a source that only refers to Humak’s home page will not help the reader find information cited from a subpage.

Rule of thumb: when the URL address changes in the address bar, even if the change is very minor, the reference must also be changed.

  • Statistics Finland 2018. A fifth of the companies exploit big data. Retrieved 06/09/2019. 
  • Statistics Finland 2019a. Gross domestic product grew by 0.5 percent from the previous quarter. Retrieved 06/09/2019. 
  • Statistics Finland 2019b. Parliamentary election, 2019a. 41.5 percent of the selected new representatives. Retrieved 06/09/2019. 

When referring to a website, you only include the full address (beginning http:) in the list of sources, and not in the in-text citation.

It is important that the reference in the list of sources can direct the reader straight to the source. Therefore, the http address of the webpage must be stated in its entirety, no matter how long it is. Remember to state the date on which site was retrieved before the website address. This is important because online material can be lost or moved, so that the address provided may no longer be accurate. The referenced entry, including the date, is the author’s guarantee that at least on the date stated the source was still visible online.

In the bibliography, the source heading is the title that corresponds exactly to the cited content. Sometimes, this may be quite general in form, for example, “General” or “Information about the association”, etc. The main point is that it is the title that appears in the browser window and is not the name of the site etc.

  • AGMA ry 2016. Our members. Retrieved 12/11/2016.
  • Deaf Union 2019. Assessing threats to Finnish sign language. Retrieved 31/05/2019.
  • 2019. Labour legislation. Retrieved 06/09/2019. .

Sometimes it may be appropriate to add information about the type of information the source contains and also the date on which it was available. Examples of this kind of material are newsletters, news feeds, blog posts, etc.

The references for the sources mentioned in the previous examples:

  • Statistics Finland 2018 
  • Statistics Finland 2019a 
  • Statistics Finland 2019b 
  • AGMA ry 2016 
  • The Finnish Association of the Deaf 2019 
  • 2019 
  • Ministry of Education and Culture 2019 
  • Määttä 2019 

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.

Videomuotoinen mainos: 


  • Hartwall Oy 2023. Olemme menettäneet jälkemme. Helsingin Sanomat, kuukausilliite 11/2023, 60. 


  • Mannerheimin lastensuojeluliitto ry 2022. Sinisen valon sukupolvea on suojeltava. Ulkomainos.  


  • Audi Finland 2012
  • Hartwall Oy 2023
  • Mannerheimin lastensuojeluliitto ry 2022 

Personal communication

Sources in the category of personal communication are pieces of information obtained directly from a person. Telephone conversations are also included in this category. Personal communication sources are distinguished from an interview by the fact that they are typically brief and do not include the same structure as an interview, in which the interviewer asks questions on the basis of a pre-prepared list of questions. In other words, in addition to interviews, personal communication sources are not lectures, panel discussions or other situations in which a speaker talks to a large audience.

It is very important that a person whose speech is going to be cited as a source of information knows what their information will be used for and gives their consent for this use. Sometimes the way in which information will eventually be used is not known in advance and, therefore, cannot be stated beforehand. In this case, it is important to remember that consent can always be sought retrospectively from the source if the information.

When referencing a spoken source, you must provide the name of the speaker and the time, place, and subject of the speech.

  • Tirkkonen, Pekka 2009. Personal communication 03/09/2019. 

Text reference indicates the last name of the speaker and the year. 

  • Tirkkonen 2009

Panel discussions, speeches, presentations 

You can also gain valuable new information from expert statements that are given in panel discussions, speeches, and presentations. Such sources are referenced by using the speaker’s name, followed by the year and the title of the speech or presentation. You should also mention the name of the event during which the speech was given, as well as the time and place.

  • Heusala, Tiina 2019. Brain work & cognitive ergonomy. Digi & wellness at work -seminar. October 24 2019, Rovaniemi. 

If the speech used as a source is an audio recording, it should be referenced in the same way as a speech heard directly in person. In other words, you should first mention the speaker’s name, and then reference both the title of the speech and the origin of the audio recording. If the recording is long and contains several different speeches, you can also specify the exact point in which the relevant speech takes place in the recording.

  • Nylander, Mikaela 2017. A speech given during the question hour of the Parliament of Finland 21/9/2017. Yle News in Finnish Sign Language: the interpreting services for disabled persons raised a debate during the Parliament’s question hour, 3:44–4:50. Yle Areena 22/9/2017. Retrieved 16/11/2019.

In a text reference:

  • Heusala 2019 

  • Nylander 2017 ​

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.

Interviews are referenced using the same principle as other sources. Interviews are listed after the bibliography/list of sources and under the heading “INTERVIEWS”.

It is a good idea to mention the name of the interviewer with the reference to an interview, especially if the interviews have been done by several people. If there is only one interviewer, you only need to mention their name once (e.g. all interviews were conducted by Tauno Tolonen).

In addition to the name of the interviewee and the interview year, it is customary to include the interviewee’s title; for example, if the person has been interviewed in relation to their work and not as a private person. The date and place of the interview are entered in the list of sources. If the interview has been conducted by phone or video, this needs to be mentioned instead of the place.


  • Koivumäki, Tanja 2015. Project manager. Tampere, 02/09/2015. Interviewer: Minna Hautio. 
  • Liutu, Jarkko 2015. Artist. Savonlinna, 07/09/2015. Interviewer: Minna Hautio. 
  • Mulari, Leena 2016. Artist. Phone interview with 16/02/2016. Interviewer: Laura-Kristiina Moilanen.

For in-text references, interviews are recorded in the same way as other sources: (Koivumäki 2015).

When referring to theses, the source list reference includes the institution at which the work has been completed and the topic the work addresses, in addition to the author, year, and title of the thesis. If a thesis is available in an open electronic database (as most are today), the URN address and reference date is also included in the reference.

  • Posti-Ahokas, Netta 2013. Assessing Save the Children’s online presence from the perspective of young persons. Humak University of Applied Sciences. Degree programme for civic activities and youth work. Thesis. Retrieved 12/12/2013.

When referring to a thesis, the level of the qualification should also be mentioned. In the case of thesis work at universities of applied sciences, the difference between the bachelor’s thesis and the master’s thesis is that (master’s) is added after the title of the thesis in question.

  • Kavalus, Matias 2019. The presence of problematic video gaming and video game addiction in the work of the student support psychologists and curators. Social Work. University of Lapland. Thesis (master’s). Retrieved 05/09/2019.

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 referring to videos, podcasts, and other digital media, the same principle is used as in other sources. The key is to indicate the author or entity responsible for the content. This is always the first thing mentioned in a reference. It is sometimes difficult to understand who is the author of what material — some works can be rich in terms of their content and artistic output; e.g. a video or short film.

The most important thing is to clearly define what aspect(s) of a material are being referred to. If you cite, for example, to the words of an expert appearing in a video, then the reference refers directly to this person. In this context, the video, its director and camera person function solely as the format whereby the information is presented. In addition to the author and the title of their presentation/work, the producer and publisher of the material is also included in the source reference. This might be, for example, the organisation or company that has arranged and recorded the event in question.

  • Onaheim, Balder 2015. 3 tools to become more creative. TEDxCopenhagenSalon. Retrieved 03/10/2017.
  • Räsänen, Helena 2016. Cultural activities are possible even in the public sector so long as the will is there (Lecture). What is the future of cultural well-being? (Seminar). Arts Promotion Centre and Cultural Welfare in Turku network. University of Turku 06/03/2014. Retrieved
  • Kareinen, Janne 2019. Are we losing our debating skills? Happy Tomorrow podcast #14. Sitra. Retrieved 06/09/2019.
  • Ateneum Art Museum 2017. The story of Finnish art – Eero Järnefelt: Kaski, 1893. Retireved 06/09/2019.

When referring to a presentation as a piece of work, the information pertaining to the author is usually found in the end credits if nowhere else. There may be many authors/content creators, but there is generally only one person or entity listed as the holder of the copyright. It makes sense to use this information in the reference to the author. Sometimes, the copyright holder or the producing body is not stated. In this case, the name(s) of the persons central to the production of the material can be used; e.g. the script writer, director or cinematographer etc.

In-text references of the previous examples:

  • Onaheim 2015 
  • Räsänen 2016 
  • Kareinen 2019 
  • Ateneum Art Museum 2017

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.

Can emails be used as a source?

Emails can be used as a source. When citing emails as sources, we must remember that they are private documents that cannot be used without the consent of the parties involved. Therefore, if you intend on using an email conversation as source material, you should inform the recipient that the content of the message might be used for this purpose as part of a research project and/or a publication. If this has not been done in advance, you may ask for a retrospective consent.

The source reference for an email uses the subject header of the email as the title. This, too, is worth thinking about in advance, so that it is informative and clear. In addition to date, the source reference also indicates the address of the message recipient. This indicates the way the message has been sent and is also a guarantee of its authenticity.

  • Miettinen, Mari 2016. VS: A question regarding cultural activity in your region. Email 13/09/2016.

The source reference only includes the surname and year:

  • Miettinen 2016

What about social media and instant messaging?  

Twitter messages are meant to be public, so you can use them without asking for permission. In contrast, information provided in forums with a restricted readership (e.g. membership-based) cannot be ethically used as a source without the permission of the relevant persons. The same also applies to WhatsApp messages, SMS text messages, and pretty much any kind of message sent confidentially and privately. In other words, you must remember to ask your chat and messaging partners for their permission to use these messages.

Technically, such messages follow the same principle as other sources. Because messages sent via social media are instant and the flow of information is vast, it is a good idea to include not only the date a message was retrieved, but also the time of day in the reference. This makes it easier for the reader to trace the information to its original source. Social media and other instant messages do not usually have a title or heading. The type of message in question is stated instead. If the Facebook page being cited is public, the date and a link to the post are included in the reference.

  • Niinistö, Sauli 2019. Twitter message @niinisto 23/08/2019, 4:49. 
  • Humak University of Applied Sciences 2019. Facebook update 30/08/2019, 10:46. Retrieved 06/09/2019.
  • Finnish Government 2019. Instagram post 20/11/2019 @finnishgovernment. Retrieved 30/03/2020.
  • konstaapelidaniel 2022. TikTok video 28/01/2022. Retrieved 10/02/2022 @konstaapelidaniel/video/7058183909707697414?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&lang=fi-FI

Here, the source reference indicates the last name of the source and the year:

  • Niinistö 2019 
  • Humak University of Applied Sciences 2019
  • Finnish Government 2019
  • konstaapelidaniel 2022

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 referring to artificial intelligence, it is important to mention the name of the AI program, its version, and the date of use. A link should also be provided. Each AI search is unique, but since individual links are not generated, which the reader could later utilize, there is no need to add specific details like a, b, c, etc. Instead, reference the same source as long as the version remains unchanged.


In the citation:

  • (Open AI 2023).

When AI cites sources, it must ensure their actual existence. It is also essential to seek the contents referred to by the AI from these original sources and cite them directly. If, for a justified reason, this cannot be done, proceed as when citing a secondary source.

Carefully review the guidelines in the thesis guide on how to highlight the utilization of AI in text generation.

When does it make sense to quote directly?

A citation is a direct quote from the original source. We need to think very carefully about using direct quotes, as over-reliance on quotes can lead to our own voice disappearing and the thread that holds our writing together becoming less clear.

The following are good examples of when to use a direct quote:

The writing style or turn of phrase of the source is unique. This might be due to the particular literary merits of the source or certain semantic aspects. For example, laws are often quoted directly and precisely, without changing the wording.

  • The purpose of studies leading to a degree in vocational degree is to provide the necessary knowledge and skills to work in professional expert positions on the basis of the requirements of working life (Laki ammattikorkeakouluopinnoista 255/1995, Section 2).
  • Ich bin ein Berliner (Kennedy 1963).
  • I have a Dream (King 1963).

The source material is very significant or controversial. A source can be particularly authoritative, for example, reflecting the opinion of a head of state, a politician, or another recognised authority on a specific matter. Sometimes the sources represent a difference of opinions or are otherwise controversial. In this case, it is important to state who exactly said what and what words they used to do so.

President Sauli Niinistö commented on the Moscow demonstrations to the media during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin as follows:

  • It would be too easy to say that fortunately we do not have similar events in Finland. We have a working dialogue between civil society and the Government. Perhaps that is why we have no equivalent. (Niinistö 2019).

It is important that the source remains unchanged for research reasons. This might be the case if communication is the topic of the research and discourse analysis is being carried out on the sub-texts of the communication.

  • President Niinistö (2019) congratulated the Finnish national ice hockey team by stating: “You are quite a brotherhood.”
  • Minister for Europe, Culture and Sport Sampo Terho (2018) commented on Iivo Niskanen skiing in Pyeongchang by tweeting: “Kultaa jos tulee niin vetäisen arhinmäet!

Citations from data are used. These include e.g. data collected from interviews or texts written by the respondent on the free-form survey questions. Citations are written exactly as they are said in the interview or written down on the form. 

  • It is like the coolest sometimes that things are not easy but you really have to think sometimes (H2).

Interviews and survey forms are referenced the same way as other sources. If the data in question is anonymized, codes are used. Codes should be as short and descriptive as possible. In the example written above, the code is H2, meaning Interviewee 2. When it comes to answers from forms, form numbers are used. These numbers can be made visible e.g. on Excel by giving the form the same number that Excel already has automatically created on the line where the content of the form is found. You need to however, from this number decrease the upmost line where the questions of the form are placed. If you were to remove or add something on the citation for clarity reasons, these exclusions and additions must be marked down clearly. See more about this below, on the section Exclusions and Additions.

If the cited text or speech is in a language that an equally educated individual is expected to understand based on their education, it can be written in the original language of the source. Other languages are translated into the same language as the actual body of text. In this case the translation will be written under the citation as a separate citation in the same form and it is clearly stated that it is the author’s translation. This mention is put into brackets after the translation: (author’s own translation.) If the citation in question were to be included in the body of text and it is not written in aforementioned common languages, it’s adviced for clarity reasons to write the citation, correctly referenced, in your own words.

An in-text reference

A citation can be embedded in the body text if the quoted text is no more than a sentence in length, and it is syntactically possible to do so. In this case, it is separated from the body with “quotation marks”.

  • With the fifth question, “What are the goals of your company in support of cultural acquisitions?” I am still striving to deepen the previous questions about the importance of creative products and competences.
  • Marjo Matikainen’s exclamation of “Havuja, perkele!” has gone down in Finnish sports history.

Citations that span more than one sentence

If a direct quote is longer than one sentence or if it is otherwise more stylistically sensible to distinguish it from the body text, it is separated from the body by one line and indented by one tab. The line spacing is 1 for the quoted excerpt, whereas it is 1.5 for the body text. The source reference is entered directly alongside the quote.

Companies build their own brands, which, in turn, support the brand of the region, and then reflect on company’s image. Among other things, the Finnish and regional brand has been identified as follows:

Finland can only be successful in the global expertise and investment markets by constructing a well-known and prestigious brand based on strategic choices, cutting-edge knowledge, and a competitive innovation environment. (––) Innovation no longer complies with the traditional logic of invention. Instead of finding customers for new products and inventions, new solutions are increasingly sought for customers. (National Innovation Strategy 2008, 8–9).

Exclusions and additions

If some irrelevant parts of the original source text are left out for the sake of readability, the excluded text is indicated by a set of parentheses with two dashes placed between them.

Advertising is even more important for big business than for smaller companies because they are targeting larger audiences. Advertising must be well-planned by professionals. (––) when producing promotional material or obtaining promotional material. The advertising agency is used to handle these matters and they consist of creative professionals and experts. ” (Peltola 2008.) 

If the quoted text needs clarification to become more understandable, the necessary additions are placed inside square brackets: 

Different forms of cooperation vary with local expertise: Yes [we will cooperate with] both companies and educational institutions. Design and production are areas that we use. (Rytkölä 2008.)  

Sometimes you have to leave something out of a quoted section in order to preserve confidentiality and anonymity. This can be done by briefly inserting a description of the type of information has been removed for the aforementioned purpose.  

We have decided that our sponsor partnership with [company X] will not be pursued because its activities do not meet our ethical quality standards (Interviewee 3). 

More information on the use of quotation marks in sentences, especially in relation to using them alongside other punctuation marks, is available here.

Humak uses three categories of different visualizations that enrich the text:

  • Tables are tables
  • All kinds of diagrams, graphs, and other figures are figures
  • Photos and other images are images.

All visualizations are numbered so that each type has its own sequential numbering:  

  • Table 1, Table 2, Table 3 etc. 
  • Fig. 1, Fig. 2, Fig. 3 etc. 
  • Image 1, Image 2, Image 3 etc.

The premise is that if a table, figure or image is detached from its context (e.g. the body text), it must function independently.

All visuals have their own table, figure, or image text. It forms an inseparable pair with the visualization and acts as an explanatory element. The premise is that if a table, pattern or image is detached from its context (e.g. body text), it acts independently, that is, it (and its associated text) include all elements relevant to the reader’s ability to understand it.

The table text is placed above the table, whereas figure and image text comes below them. The texts are smaller than normal body text so that they stand out clearly. The text always starts with the numbering of the table, figure, or image. This is followed by a colon and an explanation of the contents of the table, figure or image. The texts contains detailed information related to the contents of the table/figure/image. If they include cited content, this content is referenced in the table, figure or image text.

  • Table 1: Reasons artists apply to the become an artist project. Scale 0 = no significance, 5 = very high significance. N=10–11.

The name of the photographer and year is added to photos. If a visualisation has been formatted by someone other than the author, their name is added to the text. If known, the year of the visualisation is added in brackets. Although this is similar to a source reference, the information is not repeated in the list of sources. If the image/table has been previously published, the information of that work will be normally referenced in text and added to the list of sources. 

  • Image 3: The finished mural is an impressive sight in Peltosaari. The weatherproof work will delight visitors for a long time, as the building is not intended to be demolished until 2026. Image 3: Emma Abendstein (2016).
  • Figure 3: The stages of action research. Graphics: Nina Luostarinen (2016).

When using another person’s figure, you can re-draw it so long as the content is not changed. This helps you to retain the look of your own work. However, a reference to the original source still needs to be made. The reference is as follows:

  • Figure 2: The order of the universe based on Muttialainen (2002, Figure 7).

You might also choose to borrow part of a figure or table and add your own data. In this case, the figure or table text must clearly indicate which part is borrowed. For example:

  • Figure 2: Order of the Universe. The description of the Big Bang is based on Muttilainen’s view (2002, Figure 7).

If a table, figure or image is cited in the text, it is referenced by its number, not by a page number. If the source you are citing uses other titles for tables, figures, and images, you naturally use them. In English sources, common names include, for example, Table, Fig., Figure, and Plate). Figures are also often expressed in Roman numerals.

  • As researcher Matti Laukkanen shows (2018, graph IX), the organizational structure is quite complex. 

Administrator of the page: Minna Hautio, Hanna-Kaisa Turja,
Last modified: July 11, 2024