Menu Nederlands

Literature research guide

In 5 steps to a good theoretical basis

You can find lots of information on the internet, or by using library resources. But, how do you find a source that is relevant and usable for you? Read it here.


Processing and referencing

When you do research for your own publication, such as an article, book or graduating thesis, you make use of existing literature and other information sources. Using texts and ideas of others in your own publication is permitted, provided you mention the original (information) source.

Citing sources: why?

Crediting the source

Citation of one's sources is compulsory. This means that you have to put a reference in the text that shows what the original source is. This is to make things traceable (it's clear where your information comes from) and verifiable (you have understood and phrased the information you found correctly). When you don't cite your sources, you are guilty of plagiarism.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is copying text, audio-visual material, thoughts or reasoning from others and passing them off as your own work. Often plagiarism goes hand in hand with copyright infringement, but that is not always the case.

You can avoid plagiarism by crediting the source when you:

  • Use someone’s quote
  • Use someone’s ideas, opinions, or theories (paraphrasing)
  • Use information, such as statistics, graphs that contain data collected by someone else
  • Use information such as drawings, pictures, or sound clips


Citation styles

There are several ways of referencing. At the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences the APA method is often used, but also IEEE and Chicago citation styles are used regularly.


The video below explains more about processing and referencing information using APA. More knowledge clips on referencing with APA can be found on Project APA7's YouTube channel. Project APA is a partnership between several universities of applied sciences.

Manuals and applications

In the "Tools, Training & Documentation" section you will find manuals for a variety of citation styles and also installation files for EndNote. With EndNote you keep track of the information you collect. You can also generate citations and reference lists automatically. Convenient!

Citing & paraphrasing


Citing means literally copying an excerpt from someone's publication. This can be parts of a text, but also a graph or image! It is permitted to copy parts of someone else's work provided that the rules of Article 15 of the Copyright Act are met.


Paraphrasing is copying someone else's work in your own words. Here too, you are bound by copyright laws. The rules of paraphrasing and quoting are the same when it comes to referencing. In the text a reference has to be made to the author and year of publication. The complete reference has to be present in the bibliography.

Go to the manuals for referencing with a specific citation style