For direct and indirect citations, the reference must be clearly identifiable. This allows the source. It must therefore meet certain formal requirements. The bibliographic information itself must be included in the bibliography. Whether it is made directly in the text at the appropriate places depends on which citation system you choose.

In any case, you should clarify whether there are guidelines from your university, faculty or department for citation (as well as for all other formal aspects of your bachelor thesis, master thesis or diploma thesis). Often it is prescribed exactly how to quote.

Explanation video “Proper citation”
The five most important questions and answers from the perspective of a student

Direct quote in quotation marks

In direct verbal citation, the text that is taken from a foreign work is to be quoted in its own text in double quotes. The text must be faithfully reproduced. Old spelling is to be maintained as well as mistakes that are marked with a “[sic!]”.

Longer quotes that run over more than three lines are the best way to distinguish them from the text by placing a document on the left and right as well as reducing the font size and line spacing. Since they are already marked as citations, quotes can be omitted.

Omissions and own additions in the direct quote
If you leave out a part of the quote, this must be indicated. To do this, place three ellipsis in square brackets. Also other own additions or changes, which are possibly grammatically conditioned, are indicated by square brackets.


Quotes in English quotes
The quotes in English are different from the quotes in German. The English quotes, the Quotation Marks, can be set when citing from English sources, if a complete sentence is played, which is not included in the own sentence. If you opt for it, it must be done consistently throughout the text.

The American (Harvard) citation way
Increasingly, the American or Harvard citation is used. Unlike footnotes, references are made directly in the body of the text. The author, year of publication and page number are mentioned.

Quote with footnotes

Instead of making the source directly in the text, you can also insert a footnote. The citation in the footnote can be American citation, but you can also use short titles or the full bibliographic reference.

Overall, if you insert footnotes, that is consistent. So do not switch between the different citation types in your sources, but keep consistently the one you have decided for.

Citation at first hand or from secondary literature
You should quote as firsthand as possible. This is especially true if it is a literal quote. They show that you have not only worked with manuals or secondary literature, but also with the primary texts.

Only if the corresponding text is not tangible, you can also cite second-hand; but this must then be indicated by mentioning both the original and the work from which you quote.


Increasingly, scientific texts are also or exclusively published on the Internet. Or you need information for your bachelor, diploma or master thesis that you find online only or preferably. Depending on the field of study and the topic of your work, you can not refrain from quoting from the Internet or using texts, data, etc. published there. However, citing from the internet has its own difficulties.

Citation of Internet sources
When citing Internet sources, scientific integrity is not always as well-established as that of print sources, which often include scientific journals or specialist publishers. So you should pay attention to which Internet sources you quote from whom in what context. Of course, more and more online publications are scientifically supervised or they emerge within a scientific framework.

Retrieval of Internet sources
Internet sources are easily available today. They can be easily accessed from your own computer. The form of a publication as an Internet source, however, causes some problems. As easily as texts can be put online, they can disappear or be changed so quickly. Texts in printed form are much more stable here!

Specification of Internet sources

If the Internet source is a text whose author is known (you should be careful about all other texts anyway), and if it has a title, you should proceed as if citing an essay. You must therefore specify the author / author, article title and reference of the essay, in this case the website.

If it concerns the on-line publication of a print work or an on-line journal etc., before the web page this complete work must be called, thus the complete proof in addition to the Internet address be given.

In the case of the American style of citation, as with print sources, the full text in the bibliography is referenced with the author and year in brackets.

Quote as hyperlink?
Hyperlinks, which are often created automatically by the common text programs, should be deactivated, as otherwise the information in the printed version of your bachelor thesis, master thesis or diploma thesis will be underlined and any underscores will be obscured.

Line break at Internet addresses

Since Internet addresses are often longer than one line, the question of separation arises. Hyphens are often components of Internet addresses; It is therefore advisable to do without a line break on hyphens because they could be mistakenly considered as part of the Internet address. That would make the document incomprehensible or at least imprecise.

On the other hand, the line break should be avoided for hyphens that are part of the Internet address. These hyphens could otherwise be regarded as a hyphen that is not part of the Internet address. If the text program does not take the line break itself at a suitable place, you can help with a new line break here.

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