Literature Search and References

Many papers start with a state of the art review of the literature on a research question. Here are some recommendations, perhaps helpful hints on how to manage the abundance of possible sources in order to produce a interestingly readable article. The inclusion of references should be guided by considerations not of completeness but of salience, relevance, or representativeness:

  1. Number. Ideally, the literature review refers to at least 15 and no more than 25 scientific publications available to a wide range of English-speaking readers, including references to  scientific articles, monographs, conference proceedings, as well as  electronic resources with dois or other identifiers. Ideally, a considerable majority of referenced texts are indexed in Scopus or Web of Science databases. Referenced texts can also include open access scientific publications in English in peer-reviewed scientific sources.
    1.3. Open access scientific publications and patents in a language other than English in peer-reviewed scientific sources, especially if they have English-language metadata (source name, title of the article, author's data, abstract, key words, list of references. Normally, one would avoid textbooks, teaching aids, lecture notes, other educational literature and (online) dictionaries among the references.
  2. Relevance. For a representative review of the literature it is necessary that the sources are relevant. Especially for papers that engage ongoing research projects, the majority of referenced texts should be current, that is, not older than 5 or 10 years.
  3. Generalizability. If the research question concerns a general problem, the solution and the literature review cannot be restricted to local conditions or national sources. The referenced literature should then represent the international discussion, including texts from other parts of the world which might be written in other languages as well.
  4. Self-citation. Even if one’s own previous work contributed much to a discussion, the number of self-citations should not normally exceed five (including instances of co-authorship but not including cases of co-editorship).

Formatting of References

Citations in the text occur within round parentheses to include the surname, year of publication and the number of the sourced page (Carpenter, 2009, p. 250).

If the name of the quoted author appears in the text itself, there is no need to repeat it within the parentheses: Following George Carpenter (2009) who noted that technologies have linguistic features (p. 250), we propose …  (Please note that on first occurrence of a person‘s name in the main body of running text, the first name should be included and not just an initial: Following George Carpenter (2009)… On later occasions, the cited author or scientist should be referenced by last name only: As Carpenter (2009) pointed out …)

References must be organized according to the 7th edition of APA standards, which are available on the APA Website: Alternatively at: :

The inclusion of DOIs is greatly appreciated, where these are available.

Examples of reference list formating:

  • article

Almazova, N.I., Eremin, Yu.V., & Rubtsova, A.V. (2016). Productive linguodidactic technology as an innovative approach to the problem of foreign language training efficiency in high school. Russian linguistic Bulletin, 3(7), 50-54.

Kudina, O., & Coeckelbergh, M. (2021). “Alexa, define empowerment”: Voice Assistants at Home, Appropriation and Technoperformances. Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, 19(2), 299–312.

  • conference proceedings

Klochkova, E., Volgina, A., Dementyev, S., & Klochkov, Y. (2016). Human Factor in Quality Function Deployment. In I. Frenkel & A. Lisnianski (Eds.), Second International Symposium on Stochastic Models in Reliability Engineering, Life Science and Operations Management (SMRLO) (pp. 466-468). IEEE.

  • web recourse

Wells, P. (2009, July 28). Our universities can be smarter. Maclean’s.