Has he taken a complete sentence?

Citations and references

What and how should be quoted?

The basic rule is that “whenever arguments, explanations, explanations or points of view, illustrations, data or other facts” (Baade et al. 2005: 142) are incorporated into one's own scientific work, the source is given in such a way that it is clearly evident how to find it. There is no general answer to the question of what and how much should be cited in a scientific paper. In addition, the degree of citation can vary depending on the subject. Basically, however, an excess of direct quotations tends to damage a paper.

Quotations have to be interpreted, they do not appear for their own sake. They serve as content that flows into one's own argumentation through interpretation (Esselborn-Krumbiegel 2004: 85–87).

In the literature there is no uniform system for specifying the sources used. Therefore, different methods of citing sources are propagated in different publications and institutes. It is therefore advisable to clarify the respective customs in advance, e.g. in a seminar you have attended.

The same system should always be used within a work!

It should also be noted that, despite the many rules for correct citation, there are always “gray areas” where it is not always clear how to proceed. As a rule of thumb, the readership must always know whether a thought has been adopted or whether it is their own interpretation. In the first case it must be clear where this idea comes from and how it can be found (Theisen 1989: 131–153); (Sedlacek 1987).

In general:
No quotation and no other use of data without reference to the source!


A source reference is a short reference that clearly refers to a title in the bibliography. A reference to the source is “directly related to the quotation in terms of form and content” (Baade et al. 2005: 143f).

A reference indicates how the source can be found in the bibliography. However, the detailed mention of the source (the reference to the source) is given in the bibliography. In some subject areas (especially in the humanities), sources are listed in full in a footnote, at least when they are mentioned for the first time. If the same source is also mentioned, the author's name and year as well as a short form of the title are often given. The minimum requirement for a source reference for master's theses includes: «Author», «Year», «Page».

For every quote (whether direct or indirect) there is a reference to the source!

Please note the following when referring to sources:

  • The author is listed in the source reference with the surname. If the source comes from several authors, this is indicated by the sign "&" or "and" (if there are two authors) or by the reference "et al." (Latin et alii, and others, if there are more than two, sometimes three authors).
  • If "Author" and "Year" do not clearly refer to a title in the bibliography, for example if two or more sources by an author were used that were published in the same year, a lowercase letter of the alphabet is added to the year (The same happens of course in the reference in the bibliography):
    => e.g. Meier 2005a: 95-101.
  • The page numbers must be specified precisely (34-87, 98f) and may only be omitted if a work deals exclusively with a topic that is currently being discussed or if the source used (e.g. Internet sources) does not contain any page numbers (cf. . «Internet sources in the bibliography»). The latter is indicated in the source reference by the reference "o.S." marked for «no side». A page number using "32ff" (= "several following pages") is rather imprecise and is not accepted by many magazines, for example.
  • If a quote is very extensive - which should be avoided if possible - it is separated from the main text and / or shown indented.
  • There are also various variants for the structure of the source reference in the specialist literature.

Depending on the way of citing, references to sources can be given in the running text, in a footnote, at the end of a chapter or at the end of a paper. It doesn't really matter which variant is preferred, unless a certain type of source is explicitly required. Inquiring about the respective customs in advance saves the tedious work of rewriting. However, it is important that the selected variant is used consistently.

At the GIUZ, no explicit doctrine is pursued (due to the breadth of the subject geography, one often orientates oneself on the neighboring sciences, so that the citation methods can be quite different), however, it is common to include references to sources directly in the text (so-called Harvard system). The source reference is placed in the text as follows:

It is important to use the source references as consistently as possible.

  • If the source reference refers to the statement of the whole sentence, it is at the end of the same.
    => In systems theory, it is not actors who make up the social, but communication (Treibel 1998: 109).
  • If the reference refers to a part of the sentence or a specific number, the reference (or the number of footnotes) follows this statement.
    => In the hot summer of 2003, the alpine glaciers lost 10% of their mass (Meier 2004, p. 21), which initially brought large profits to the hydropower plant operators (Müller 2005, p. 2)
  • If the source reference refers to a statement in an entire section, it is at the end of the same. Longer quotes or summaries of research contributions that are strung together can lead to the loss of your own logical text and should therefore be avoided.
    Sustainable development is not something that just happens. Rather, it must be negotiated and agreed on whether and how it should take place. In our two case studies - the Unesco Biosphere Entlebuch and the World Natural Heritage Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn - voters decided to participate (financially) in the establishment and management of protected areas and their sustainable development (Müller & Backhaus 2006: 2).
    In general, a pointless section end should be avoided. It follows that references that refer to the entire section are listed before the point. It remains unclear whether the information refers to the entire section or only to the last sentence. This inaccuracy is accepted in order to meet aesthetic demands.

The following two variants for source references:
References in the running text
‹Name› (‹Year›: ‹Page or Pages›) or
‹Name› (‹Year›, S. ‹Page or Pages›)
=> Habermas (1998: 7) thinks: «...»
=> According to Habermas (1998, p. 7) ...

References to sources to support a statement
(‹Name› ‹Year›: ‹Page or Pages›) or
(‹Name›, ‹Year›, p. ‹Page or Pages›)
=> "The diagnostic review of the short 20th century tries to explain the current widespread mood of enlightened perplexity" (Habermas 1998: 7).
=> Looking back on the short 20th century ... (Habermas, 1998, p. 7).

Source reference for secondary citations
Secondary citations are those that cite an author in the work you are using. Your name needs to be mentioned, but the original work need not be mentioned in full. In brackets is the book from which the original work was quoted and which is then listed in the bibliography.
‹Name 1› (‹Year›: ‹Page›, quoted in: ‹Name 2› ‹Year›: ‹Page›) or
‹Name 1› (‹Year›, p. ‹Page›, quoted after ‹Name 2›, ‹Year›, p. ‹Page›)
=> Luhmann has a different opinion (1984: 45, quoted in: Habermas 2002: 9) ...
=> ... this can also be called communication (Luhmann, 1984, p. 45, quoted from Habermas, 2002, p. 9).

Source reference for large-scale takeovers If only one work is used when writing an entire section or chapter, a footnote is added after the title or at the end of the section, stating: “The statements in this section / chapter are largely based on name (e.g. year: pages) . " However, this should remain the exception in a work.


Direct quote

Direct quotations, i.e. literal adoption of text passages, are particularly recommended if:

  • the text excerpt should then be interpreted,
  • a technical term is introduced or
  • the quotation makes a key statement that supports its own argumentation (Esselborn-Krumbiegel 2004: 86f).

Text parts taken directly from other sources are marked with quotation marks and final characters and are usually listed in the original language (see Fig. 12). Longer direct takeovers are to be avoided, if necessary summarized in your own words (= indirect quotation) or indented. In the case of translated texts, "own translation" or "translation X.Y." is added after the source. set.
=> "The diagnostic review of the short 20th century tries to explain the current mood of enlightened perplexity" (Habermas 1998: 7).

If original texts are reproduced in a modified form when citing (omissions, additions, comments, etc.), the changes must be identified.

Missed words
Three periods are usually used for one or more omitted words:
=> ...
=> «The ... review of the short 20th century tries to explain the current widespread mood of enlightened perplexity» (Habermas 1998: 7).

Omitted sentences, sentence beginnings and paragraphs
Three periods in round brackets [sometimes square brackets are used {but never curly}] are used if more than one sentence and / or the beginning of a sentence has been omitted:
=> (...)
If complete sentences or the end of sentences are omitted, there is a period after the brackets:
=> (...).
If the paragraphs are omitted, the ellipses are in a separate section:
=> (...).¶

If the authors add changes etc., these are in square brackets:
=> [...]
=> "The diagnostic review of the short 20th century tries to explain the current widespread mood of enlightened perplexity [in Central Europe]." (Habermas 1998: 7)
If the authors assume that the quoted is a misprint or the like and that the text has been copied true to the original, they write after the word in question:
=> [sic!], [sic] for Latin "so" or shorter [!]

Indirect quote

In the case of indirect quotations (i.e. in the case of content-related or analogous transfers), the content of a third-party statement is not copied verbatim.
=> Habermas (1998: 7) thinks that looking back at the brief 20th century tries to explain the mood of enlightened perplexity.
=> According to Habermas (1998: 7), the ...

Quote in quote

If a source is quoted that in turn quotes a source, the double quoted is in single quotation marks and closing marks within the quotation: «(text)‹ (quotation in quotation) ›(text)».
=> «Jacob Grimm (1847: 255) appeals to the law that 'it is not rivers, not mountains that form a national divide, but that a people who have penetrated mountains and rivers can set the limit with their own language alone'” (Habermas 1998: 22).

Avoid large interleaving of quotations and rather convert them into an indirect quotation.

Oral sources

It can also happen that information is only given orally, but it is important for a job. In addition, especially in qualitative research, data is collected through interviews and statements are documented that are quoted directly in texts. A distinction must be made between informants and interview participants. The latter are actually “research subjects” whose statements are part of our analyzes. Depending on the topic of a study, their names often have to remain anonymous and should therefore not be treated and cited like actual sources. Rather, their statements are data that are analyzed and interpreted.

Oral sources should be handled with care, as they can hardly be verified.

Oral sources from informants

In the case of informants, however, whose statements are not actually objects of a study, the source should be named if possible. Oral sources, however, should only be used if there are no written sources and can be assumed to be reliable. An oral statement is usually not entered in the bibliography, but noted as a source in the text or in a footnote.
=> The unusual architecture of the Manuaba Temple east of Ubud on Bali goes back to a compromise between rival priests in the 17th century (oral information from Ida Bagus Sudewa, Gianyar, 02/22/1996).

Oral sources from interviewees

As mentioned, this is data that was collected systematically. Statements from interview partners are quoted if they accurately reflect a fact or an opinion. If you have the consent of the interviewed person, you can give first names and surnames as well as the interview date as the source.
=> Here is a fictitious example: "The Swiss protected area system is too complex!" (Maria Bernasconi, 02/28/2015).

In many cases, however, the interviewees want or have to remain anonymous. This means that no conclusions can be drawn about the person. When quoting, a pseudonym can be used (this must be declared) or initials (better those that are random, in the above example not M.B.). The initials can also follow the logic of the interviews, e.g. I1, I2 etc. or V1, F1 (= first interviewed person from group V for "Administration" or F for "Research").
These persons are not named in the bibliography, at most in the appendix (if they can be named).
For information on anonymization, see Kaspar & Müller-Böker 2006.

Audiovisual sources

Audiovisual material is becoming more and more accessible and can also be used as a source. If you are quoting an entire work, citing the source works basically like a written text. However, one must ask oneself whether, for example, the (often unknown) authorship or the film title should be given for a film (see “Audiovisual sources in the bibliography”).
=> "Even in science fiction films, the settings are often based on real existing landscapes (e.g. Avatar 2009)."
It becomes more difficult when individual scenes have to be specified. If, for example, a DVD has a division into scenes, this can be named. Otherwise the time period can be mentioned. The same applies to television or radio broadcasts, here you also specify the broadcast date.
=> “The fact that migration is a complex undertaking becomes clear if you follow the description of a Kyrgyz grandmother whose daughter and granddaughter work abroad (The other silk road 2008, 4: 55-9: 22).

Source reference for takeovers from the Internet

If the names of the authors of the website are known, you can proceed as above (e.g. name year: page / date of access) Sometimes the full address of the document and the date of access is also given. However, it is important that the source reference clearly refers to a reference in the bibliography. If the author is not known, the corporation that operates the website is indicated.

If a document is available as an HTML file, finding a text passage is problematic because there are no page numbers. Text passages from HTML documents can be quoted relatively easily if the paragraphs have been numbered by the author. However, since this is seldom the case, the text passage can still be quoted if necessary by specifying the chapter to which the quotation relates.
=> «The Internet Archive, founded in 1996 by Brewster Kahle, plays an essential role in archiving Internet resources. As a non-profit organization, it has set itself the task of contributing to the preservation of our cultural heritage - which is increasingly also manifesting itself through the Internet resources [sic] "(Baumgartner 2008b: Chapter The Internet Archive, an important initiative, accessed 02.04 .2009).