The basic formal requirements when you write a scientific document


* No abbreviations should be used without explanation –

Ø     this can be in the form of an appendix or

Ø     especially in cases where only few abbreviations are used throughout the text – as explanation in brackets behind the first use. Alternatively you can use the full term and introduce the abbreviation then in brackets.

   Only a few exceptions can be made without problems, for instance e.g., ibid., etc.. However, do not use abbreviations which are in your view self-evident – other readers, not as familiar with the subject as you are, will not know necessarily them. Consider as well that the text may be read by non-nationals.

* Do not forget the page-numbering – this can be simply useful in pragmatic terms for handling a document which is not bound. But as well it makes it possible to refer without problems to a certain section in your text

* If you use capital letters check for consistence. For example, it may make sense to use them for the name of Acts of the Oireachtas etc.; but if you do so do it throughout the whole document.

* Make the reference to another document clear.

Ø     You can refer to a document immediately quoting it, i.e. taking the wording as part of your own text. In this case you have to give exactly the wording as you find it, including misspellings. If a word or letter is obviously missing you can/have to include in brackets [].

Ø     If you change the sequence of the wording to fit it into your own text you have to mark this clearly. For example you may change the position of the verb. For example you begin the quote in the middle of your sentence   
        your sentence           
        ‘beginning quote       
you leave out the verb at the beginning of the quote and mark this with three dots, enclosed in brackets     
        ‘(…) quoted sentence continued    
And include the verb where it has to be included to make your sentence grammatically correct    
        ‘(…) quoted sentence continued (transferred verb)         
you end the quote 
        ‘(…) quoted sentence continued (transferred verb)‘        
and continue with the source and then complete with your own sentence.

Ø     You can refer to another document without quoting the wording.

Ø     If you do this to express that you have your idea from this source and there a particular page, or

Ø     You quote substantially, without using immediately the wording. or

Ø     that in the other document further details can be found

Ø     You can refer to another document without quoting the wording.       
You refer to this by designing the source with “s.”, simply meaning “see”

Ø     If you refer to another document for the reason that the “same idea” or the “same argument” as you develop it can be found there but you do not “copy” it, that there are some differences as well but the basics are similar you refer by “cf.”, meaning confer, compare or similar.

Ø     The source is alluded on immediately behind the quote by mentioning the name of the author or editor and the year of publication in brackets. If the quote is at the end of a sentence but the quoted sentence is not complete and does not end a sentence as such the end of your sentence is behind mentioning the quote; e.g. [your part of the sentence] ‘quoted part of the sentence]’ (name of author, year of publication).

Ø     Mentioning the source after the reference (quoted wording or s. or cf.) follows the following pattern:      
([name of author or editor], [if necessary first name], [year of publication], [page number(s)])   
* if there are two or three editors you write their names, distinguished by a slash;  
* if there are more than three authors the name of the first author is mentioned, followed by “et alt.” Or “et altera” or “and others”      
* if throughout your entire text different authors with the same surname are referred to, the first name is added in full or just the initials (e.g. Weber, Max, 1921; Weber, Alfred, 1923)     
the given example shows that you can refer to different authors in one sentence, dividing the individual sources by a colon: [;]

Ø     The given example shows another moment, namely the possibility to refer to a document as “e.g.”. This is useful after describing or even mentioning a certain and important theory and linking it to an author who is in particular representing this position.

* The literature is then further detailed in the bibliography. For this the following pattern has to be used, here mentioned in taking some examples:   


Archer, Margaret S., 1995: 
Realist social theory. The morphogenetic approach;
Cambridge / New York : Cambridge University Press, 1995


Boyle Torrey, Barbara/Smeeding, Timothy M./Bailey, Debra, 1997:          
Vulnerable Populations in
Central Europe ; in: Nelson, Joan M./Tilly, Charles/Walker, Lee (Eds.): Transforming Post-Communist Political Economies; Washington : National Academy Press, 1997: 351 ff.


Griffiths, John (Ed.), 1995:  
A Guide to Good Practice. A Report for the London Enterprise Agency Conference. 11./12. May 1995; unlocated. (
London ) undated


Herrmann, Peter, 1994:        
The Organisation. An analysis of the modern society (Die Organisation.
Eine Analyse der modernen Gesellschaft): Rheinfelden/Berlin: Schäuble Verlag


Herrmann, Peter, forthcoming:          
European Integration between
Institution Building and Social Process. Contributions to a Theory of Modernisation and NGOs in the Context of the Development of the EU; New York : Nova Science


Kant, Immanuel, 1781:        
The Critique of Pure Reason. Translated by
J. M. D. Meiklejohn; world-wide-web-version:, accessed 2001-10-19, 22.00 hrs


Majone, Giandomenico, 1994:           
Independence vs. Accountability?
Non-Majoritarian Institutions and Democratic Government in Europe ; Florence : European University Institute, 1994 [EUI-Working Papers in Political Sciences, 94/3]


Robertson, Roland/Khondker, Habib Haque, 1998:      
Discourses of Globalization; in: International Sociology. Journal of the International Sociological Association;
London et alt.: Sage publications; 13/1, March 1998: 25 ff.


* I hope, now, that at least the major issues had been mentioned. To be precise in these matters is simply necessary

Ø     for your own sake – if you later want to refer to the once used sources and

Ø     for the reader for whom your work must be “controllable”.

Despite this, however, never forget that quoting and referring to literature always is only a technical means. As important as this is, as important as it is to have the knowledge of knowledge, which had been already produced (to have this knowledge and to show that you have it):

Never forget that scientific work is this only as it goes beyond pure reproduction of that what already exists.

In other words:

Develop your own ideas and position – rather than only repeating what others said.