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Citation Guide: Using information resources

Information resource and reference

• Information resource: a material or a resource, which are referred; for example, electronic and printed books, research reports, compilation books, journal articles, conference proceedings and material from the Internet

• Reference: a reference note, which helps to identify or locate the information resource


URL (Uniform Resource Locator):
a unique address for a file that is accessible on the Internet

URN (Uniform Resource Name):
a permanent identifier of an Internet resource with a name


• DOI = digital object identifier
• DOIs are used as simple identifiers for e-journals and e-books, similar to ISBN numbers of printed books.
• A DOI of a work does not change even if the service provider or publisher changes.
• DOI search is in Aalto-Primo in Article search.
• DOI identifiers are used in a bibliographic reference in the place of a web address.
• DOIs are written at the end of bibliographic references.

Using information resources

Information resources are used in the scientific writing style (theses, essays, research reports etc.) to support presented claims, or alternatively to provide challenging views that you wish to criticise. In both cases it is important that the citation expresses something relevant about the topic at hand.

A text must include references to the resources that are used. The accuracy and correctness of referencing are part of a well-written publication and add credibility and reliability to your work. When a work has been referenced correctly, readers can retrieve the cited information easily. Being punctual with your referencing is important when citing printed as well as electronic materials.

Information resources are mainly used in two ways in research: to summarise and to quote. The reader of the work must always be able to tell whether the information they are reading is the creator's own thought, a summary of, or direct quotation from another work.

To summarise

When summarising, the writer of the work presents relevant information from the resource in their own words. As summarising is not a direct citation, quotation marks are not used. To make clear that the idea presented is from another work, you can start the summary by e.g. 'As Herrera states', or 'According to Komonen'. An appropriate reference mark is also required.

To quote

Quotations present a part of a text from the resource word for word. Quotations must always be presented in quotation marks. You should try to avoid very long quotations unless they are absolutely necessary. Long quotations can be added to the text as indented paragraphs with smaller spacing and without quotation marks.

Quotations have to be presented exactly as they are in the original resource which means that even typos or grammatical errors cannot be corrected (to point this out in the text you can add sic. to make it clear it is from the original work). If you only wish to cite some of the original text, you can point out where you have omitted a part of the text by adding [.] in the quotation. If you leave out the end of a sentence in a quotation, you should express this by adding three commas at the end, followed by the punctuation mark that ends the sentence in the original text.

Further information

As citation styles and techniques vary between scientific fields, schools and departments, this guide only provides a general overview on the topic. For more detailed advice on how resources are to be cited in your thesis, please contact your department or course lecturer. Libraries and the Internet are also good resources for manuals and advice on citations and referencing for your thesis.

There are many systems for the citation of references. The most commonly used are presented in this guide. Whatever system you choose, the most important thing is to be consistent in the way you record your references.


Plagiarism is the act of presenting another author's work as your own. The work can be a text or a part of it, data, an image, a translation and so on.
Plagiarism includes also copying an academic or an artistic work of another author without permission.

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