Checklist for references

This checklist can help you check the citations in your text and your reference list, before submitting a written work. The checklist is intended as a complement to the reference guides.

On the pages about academic writing, you can read more about how to integrate citations in your own text. In the reference guides for APA and Vancouver you can find more detailed information on how to format the both the citations and the reference list.

EndNote Online and other reference management software are useful tools that facilitate the reference management. However, you will still need to make sure the references are formatted according to the reference style you use.

Selection of sources

  • Have you read everything you cite? You should only cite sources you have actually read.
  • Are most of your sources original sources? In theses you should primarily use original sources. (Review articles might also be an alternative, for example, in the background). In other written assignments secondary sources may be acceptable.
  • Did you primarily use sources that are available for a reader? Prefer published sources to unpublished material and personal communication.

In the text

  • Did you include citations for all statements that are neither your own or common knowledge?
  • Is it clear what citation that belongs to what statement?
  • Did you use your own words and phrases when you paraphrased someone else's text so that it is not likely to appear as plagiarism?
  • Is it easy for a reader to find references in the reference list, based on the in text-citation?
  • Did you use all references listed in the reference list in your text?
  • If you have used quotations:
  • Did you limit the use of quotations to passages in which the exact wording is significant?
  • Did you include a citation, and the page number(s) of the quotation?


  • Did you include the correct number of authors and publication year in your in text-citations? If there is no author, you should use the editor, agency, organization, institution or organization instead.


  • Are the citations numbered in the order they appear in the text? The numbering is based on the first time each citation is used.
  • Do the citations retain the same numbers if they recur?

Reference list

  • Did you include all the citations you use in the text as references in the reference list? However, please note that personal communication, for example telephone calls and e-mails, are not included in the reference list.
  • Is it possible for a reader to find the source using the information in the reference list? Exactly what information to include varies for different types of sources, please see each reference type in the guides.
  • Are your references consistently formatted? Sometimes there are no explicit guidance in the reference style on how to format a specific type of reference. In these cases, make sure you format similar references in the same way.
  • Did you include the correct number of authors in each reference according to the reference style you use?
  • Is the reference list correctly sorted (alphabetically or numerically, depending on the style you use)?
  • Are the references correctly formatted with periods, commas, and spaces?


  • Did you use the full titles of all the journals in your reference list?


  • Did you use the correct abbreviations for all the journals in your reference list? Correct abbreviations can be found in PubMed or Ulrichsweb.

Pictures, tables and figures

  • Did you include references for any images, tables or figures from other sources? Make sure you only use images, table and figures that are legal to use.
Two women sitting in front of a laptop.

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Last updated: 2021-11-02