Citing and referencing empirical material

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Citing publicly available empirical research material

Any empirical research material that is publicly retrievable must have an entry in the reference list.

This includes, for example, articles quoted for a discourse analysis, or social media posts from public accounts.

These references must contain the full information that any other reference contains, and they should adhere to APA guidelines.


Citing research participants

Quotations from research participants that are not publicly retrievable do not need to be included in the reference list. State in the text who gave the quotation (using descriptors rather than names if anonymity is required), and use parentheses to include any additional relevant information, such as age, job, and so forth. Treat these in a similar way as regular citations – that is, if there is information (e.g., the name) provided in the sentence immediately preceding the citation, then it does not need to be included in the parenthetical citation).

You may choose to include a table presenting your sources, for example, interview respondents (see Table 1), then you may choose to simplify in-text citations, for example “(male, 40, Gothenburg)” or “(male, freelance)”, depending on the relevant information.


Table 1 Characteristics of interview participants

Gender Age City of interview Origin Occupational status Day of interview (2021)
male 40 Gothenburg Sweden freelance 1 Jan.
male 20 Oslo Argentina tech company 10 Jan.
female 38 Malmö India freelance 12 Jan.
male 37 Malmö USA tech student 19 Jan.
female 52 Oslo Norway consultant 3 Mar.
female 30 Gothenburg Mexico freelance 17 Mar.


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Page last updated October 2021