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Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR): Guide 2.0

Year of publication 2020

Anna Liisa Karjalainen



Sources are used in learning tasks, reports, surveys, theses, research, investigations and many articles. Without sources, texts only based on one´s own viewpoints, experiences and opinions represent other text genres.

By referring to the sources which one has used, one shows the origins of the information and demonstrates how the writer construes and builds the information and concept on the subject matter to be dealt with. The references also indicate that the writer is well-versed on the field and thus show the mastery of the subject matter.

If one does not use references, the reader will infer that the writer presents things as his/her own views and knowledge. However, if the prose is based on things borrowed from other texts, and if this is not indicated with references, the writer has not acted acceptably as for ethics; instead, he/she violates the copyright. Unauthorized borrowing is called plagiarism; then the writer presents as his/her own someone else´s text or a part of it, either citing it directly or referring to it. Plagiarism may also concern a pictorial representation or a translation.

Sources are used to present and construe information, to support a scrutiny of the subject matter, to give grounds – i.e. to argue – and to compare and question.

As sources, one predominantly uses texts which are based on researched and proven knowledge. Such sources are first and foremost scientific researches. As sources, one also uses different kinds of reports, surveys and professional publications. Oral sources are always weaker than written ones as it often impossible to verify them.

Sources are used in one´s own text predominantly by referring to thoughts therein. Direct citations are used when, for one reason or another, one wants to show exactly how the idea has been expressed in the source. This may be connected with analyzing the direct citation more closely, or the citation may be followed by questioning it or by presenting counter-arguments.

It is not advisable to borrow wordings from the sources; instead, one should borrow thoughts which are adjusted to one´s own text with one´s own words. It may feel challenging: will the original idea of the source change somehow when one expresses it with one´s own words? One needs to take this risk as, regarding the content, a fluent and coherent text will not come about if one builds it by annexing a part of another text to one´s own text.

As the case may be, one may have to practice the natural way of connecting the ideas in the source with one´s own text for quite some time. In the text, the sources should be juxtaposed to discuss both with other sources and with one´s own ideas. In practice, this means that the cited ideas and one´s own ideas are presented in turns, following one another.

When one uses sources to support one´s own ideas or as grounds for one´s own actions, one must be careful not to inadvertently put a reference after one´s own ideas or actions!

For example:

I carried out the interview as a theme interview, which is characterized by the fact that the topics of the interview, i.e. the theme areas, are known, but the exact form and order of the questions is missing (Hirsjärvi, Remes & Sajavaara 2009, 208).

One can distinguish between one´s own ideas and those of the source in this way, for example:

I carried out the interview as a theme interview. A typical feature of it is that the topics of the interview, i.e. the theme areas, are known but the exact form and order of the questions is missing (Hirsjärvi, Remes & Sajavaara 2009, 208).


I carried out the interview as a theme interview. According to Hirsjärvi, Remes and Sajavaara (2009, 208), the topics, i.e. the themes, are known in a theme interview but the exact form and order of the questions is missing.

Hirsjärvi, S., Remes, P. & Sajavaara, P. (2009). Tutki ja kirjoita (15th updated ed.). Helsinki: Tammi.

The way of expression used in the source text may be transferred into one´s own text unnoticed, as it were, where it turns out to be unsuitable, however. This is because the style in different text genres varies. For example, in guidebooks and textbooks, the style is often instructive and normative (expressions such as must and is to), and in brochures and on webpages of different communities, the text may be value-laden, which manifests itself as the use of adjectives and other expressions denoting quality (excellent, brilliant, best). In some texts, a typical feature is accosting to the reader and the rhetoric use of the we form. If one uses texts of this kind as sources, the referencing must be done in such a way that one will not directly repeat the way of expression typical of the cited texts – instead, the typical features are to be presented as idiosyncrasies of the author of the source.    

For example:

The Finnish Association for Mental Health emphasizes it its instructions the significance of good...

According to the guidebook, quality first aid is...