LBS Scientific Standards

Research and academic writing are core activities of any institution of higher education. A shared understanding of quality standards is essential for high-level scientific work. Hence, students, faculty, researchers and all other members of the LBS academic community comply with the rules and regulations stipulated in the LBS Scientific Standards.

1. Research ethics

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

Research – irrespective of whether basic or applied – should contribute to the advancement and prosperity of humankind. Therefore an LBS member doing research will act in accordance with the following ethical principles:

• Opportunity to learn and inquire freely
• Protection of academic freedom
• Transparency of scientific work
• Accuracy of scientific knowledge
• Protection of intellectual property rights
• Scholarly progress through dialog and engagement with the scientific community
• Avoidance of conflicts of interests and partiality
• Disclosure of any potential bias


The rights and welfare of research partners is of utmost importance in conducting ethical research. Research partners can be survey respondents, interviewees, or participants in experiments and focus groups, but also librarians, providers of secondary data, or colleagues working on similar topics. An LBS researcher will safeguard voluntary involvement of research partners, informed consent, and privacy. Under specific circumstances, the anonymity of research partners and confidentiality of data/sources might outweigh the principle of transparency.

2. Academic integrity

[Last update: 07.10.2015]

Students, faculty, researchers and staff are committed to a culture of academic integrity. Honest scholarship is a cornerstone of academic and professional progress, and therefore constitutes a guiding principle of all academic degree programs at LBS.

In the course of their academic degree programs, students are trained to produce genuine academic work. The Director of Studies and all lecturers support students in understanding the LBS Scientific Standards, the application of social science research methods, and the severity of academic malpractice.

To live up to this approach, LBS uses the plagiarism detection software TurnItIn – upon the first submission, a student receives a formative report of dubious passages in his /her text and the opportunity to rework it; only upon the final submission to the lecturer this will be treated as plagiarism.

LBS has implemented Academic Malpractice Policies, which regulate various types of academic malpractice, avoidance strategies, students’ and lecturers’ responsibilities as well as penalties. Academic malpractice encompasses acts such as cheating, plagiarism, falsification and fabrication of sources, unauthorized collaboration, multiple submissions of assignments, and any assistance in such misdemeanors. All LBS students are obliged to adhere to the Academic Malpractice Policies. The detailed policies can be accessed on the LBS Intranet (CIS) by all members of the LBS academic community.


3. Types of research-related texts

3.1 Types of academic texts

[Last update: 07.10.2015]

Academic publications contain chapters with distinct functions and features. The chapters only fulfil their function if one complies with their basic requirements.

(a) An outline or proposal precedes a research project or academic publication. An outline comprises 1-3 pages, and briefly maps out the research question and research objective, the basic content, the research method, a preliminary table of contents, and the most important literature. Unlike an outline, a proposal is considerably longer (up to 20 pages), and clearly describes all stages of research (i.e. puzzle, problem statement, research question, research objective, synopsis, literature review, research design, implications and applicability of expected findings, consistent structure, and feasible timeline). Both the outline and the proposal require a certain level of preliminary research and familiarity with the field of inquiry. They are pieces of discursive prose and coherent text. Approval and funding decisions depend on the quality of an outline or proposal.

(b) An abstract is a brief and comprehensive summary of any academic paper. Though the word-length can vary depending on context, abstracts are usually 250-300 words long. An abstract covers all aspects of a paper, i.e. the research question, the theoretical and conceptual framework, the research design, the findings, and the conclusion. Literature can be cited in abstract, but citations should be used sparsely. Abstracts should be written in a concise and accessible style, because readers often select publications based on their abstracts. An abstract must not be evaluative. Acknowledgements must not be included either.

(c) In contrast to an abstract, an executive summary of a project or commissioned study (also called management summary) is longer (approx. 5-10% of the entire report) and addresses a business and/or policy audience. Its language is thus less academic. After a brief problem statement, the author places most emphasis on summarizing the report and presenting his/her findings, practical implications, solutions and recommendations. Also limitations of the project can be mentioned. If at all, citations are used sparsely in an executive summary.

(d) A literature review is a chapter in which the author discusses the main strands of existing literature, which is relevant to his/her research question. It is not necessary to summarize all extant publications but to elaborate on core research arguments, their development over time, and their relations, similarities, inconsistencies, and contradictions. The author synthesizes the existing state of research and evaluates it. Moreover, gaps in research have to be identified. Finally, the author states which parts of the reviewed literature he/she will use for his own argument, and also why. Importantly, a literature review is piece of discursive prose and coherent text. It must not be confounded with a reference list, bibliography, or annotated bibliography. If applicable, a literature review can also comprise a meta-analysis of published statistical data.

(e) A presentation write-up is a written summary of an oral presentation. It is a piece of discursive prose and coherent text, which can also contain graphic elements such as tables and figures. As opposed to handouts, slides or a flipchart, it is not a presentation device. Depending on specific context and requirements, it has to be submitted either before or after an oral presentation. All sources (incl. graphic elements) must be properly referenced – both in-text and in a comprehensive reference list. Presentation write-ups also allow for plagiarism checks.

3.2 Types of academic and non-academic publications

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

Academic authors produce a variety of publications for different purposes. Though editorial boards, publishers or degree programs normally specify the content-related and formal requirements, each type shares certain characteristics.

(a) A journal contains articles on research questions that fall within the defined field of study. A journal article, which can be authored by one or several researchers, concisely deals with a research question in approx. 10-20 pages. Depending on the requirements of each journal, articles can have a purely theoretical or a theory-guided empirical focus. Many journals furthermore publish review articles (a discussion of published research articles) or book reviews. Prestigious academic journals are always peer-reviewed (cf. 4.3).

(b) A monograph is a book written by one author (occasionally also by two or more authors). The manuscript of a monograph is often based on a PhD or a major research project. Hence, a monograph does not necessarily focus on one research question, but elaborates on a larger field of inquiry. This said it also seeks to make a unique contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

(c) An edited volume, also called anthology, compiles chapters written by several authors. It has an overarching theme, but gives room for debate of multiple perspectives on a given problem. Often, edited volumes are the outcome of collaboration in research networks. Edited volumes lack the rigor of journal articles of the depth of monographs, but they provide easy access to various angles on a topic.

(d) Conference proceedings compile papers presented at a scholarly conference. Hence, they showcase lively debates in the scientific community, but paper-givers often deliberately present unfinished work to receive comments from a qualified audience. It depends on the conference conveners whether proceedings are published on the occasion of the conference or at a later point in time, to give authors an opportunity to revise their papers. Conference proceedings thus never reach the quality levels of publications (a)-(c). Conference proceedings are still beneficial, as they hint to ongoing research projects.

(e) As opposed to (a)-(d), a textbook does not address the scientific community but students of a given subject. Therefore it displays state-of-the-art knowledge in didactically sophisticated ways to facilitate the learning process. Textbooks are authored by one or more academic authorities in the respective field. A textbook is thus a good starting point for scholarly inquiry, but cannot replace research-oriented publications such as journals, monographs, and edited volumes.

(f) A thesis answers a clear-cut research question by means of desktop-research (typically at bachelor’s level) or empirical research (required at master’s level), or independently elaborates on a larger research problem (a PhD or post-doctoral thesis). A successfully completed and defended thesis awards an academic degree.

Any thesis for a master’s degree or higher is published in the library of the degree-awarding institution. Thus, the quality of accessible theses can vary tremendously. Academic libraries sometimes indicate whether a thesis is worthwhile reading and quoting from.

Only an excellent master thesis but increasingly all PhDs are recommended for publication in a journal or as a monograph. For that purpose, the thesis usually has to be revised after graduation.

(g) A research report is due in the course or by the completion of a research project. Such a research report will describe both the research process and the outcomes (findings) of a given project. Research reports have to be submitted to funding agencies or examiners at universities.

Depending on the evaluation of a research report, a project will receive additional funding, will be modified or, in the worst case, discontinued. Public access to research reports is usually restricted. However, successful research reports are the basis for potential academic publications.

(h) Gray literature is an umbrella term for unpublished literature of any sort. This can range from hand-written memos of the data generation process to manuscripts which are ready for submission to a journal. More recently, also web entries with a non-permanent URL or DOI (cf. 4.5.3) have been counted as gray literature.
Though referencing of published literature is preferable, sometimes the use of gray literature is inevitable. It is the researcher’s duty to keep any piece of gray literature on file for documentation (cf. 7).

4. Types of sources and their accessibility

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

Research and academic writing always engage with existing scientific knowledge. Knowledge recognized by the scientific community can be accessed in numerous sources, of which peer-reviewed journal articles and books published in academic presses are the most credible ones. Only upon understanding the findings of previous research, one can contribute to further advancing a given field of scholarly inquiry. It belongs to an author’s foremost duties to question the academic credibility and relevance of any given source.

4.1 Primary vs. secondary sources

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

Primary sources are used for empirical research. For instance, interview recordings and transcripts which are being analyzed as part of an empirical research project are primary sources. Empirical research is typically required from master’s level onwards. A written assignment or a bachelor work can but normally will not have to include primary sources.

Secondary sources are used to increase the author’s knowledge of the question under scrutiny and to locate a specific paper within the larger context of a given strand of research and sub-discipline. Any piece of academic writing will contain references to secondary sources.

In a similar vein, primary data and secondary data can be distinguished. Primary data is being produced as part of empirical research (e.g. in a survey or an interview), whereas secondary data was published beforehand by other researchers (e.g. official statistics or data-sets made available by research institutes).

4.2 Academic vs. non-academic sources

[Last update: 11.09.2017]

Academic sources are characterized by (a) academic authors, (b) publication in an academic environment, and (c) the contribution, albeit sometimes minor, to the advancement of scientific knowledge. Academic authors can be established faculty, junior researchers or graduate students. The quality of an academic publication has to be assessed based primarily on the medium of publication (peer review, etc.), but also on the reputation of the author’s institutional affiliation and his/her academic track record, as well as based on the quality of the research as such. Yet, the last point is the most difficult one to judge for students and a non-expert audience.

Non-academic sources can be government sources, corporate sources, partisan sources, media,blogs, etc. Considering the context of any given publication, it is left to the judgment of an author which non-academic sources are acceptable as secondary sources for research.

For Bachelor Theses and literature reviews, LBS limits the allowed media sources to the following newspapers and magazines (also in their respective online versions):

  • Economist
  • New York Times
  • Times Magazine
  • The Guardian
  • Washington Post
  • Financial Times
  • Newsweek
  • Wall Street Journal
  • Politico
  • Forbes
  • Fortune Magazine
  • The New Yorker


Other media sources must not be used in Bachelor Theses or literature reviews, unless 1) there is a justifyable reason*, and 2) the supervisor agrees and thereby confirms the necessity and the quality of the used media source. Also Blogs can be used under certain circumstances (e.g. academic author). The same rules as mentioned for media sources apply.

Whereas academic publications foster the advancement of scientific knowledge, non-academic sources have different publication purposes. They might still contain valid information regarding the question under scrutiny, but lack the credentials of academic sources. Therefore, secondary sources of academic quality must always be preferred over non-academic sources. The usage of non-academic sources must be justified* in any case and has to be subject to a check whether the source is credible and of appropriate quality. The use of inapt non-academic sources should be avoided and leads to a discount in the grading of the student paper.

Importantly, academic authors also produce non-academic sources (e.g. commentaries for newspapers, recorded talks, or consultancy literature). As the primary criterion for the assessment of academic quality is the medium of publication (peer review, etc.), such items are of less priority.

In a nutshell, secondary sources of academic quality will always be valued higher than any non-academic source.

* Justifyable reasons are for example: particular geographical focus of the work that requires a foreign language newspaper of comparable quality to those listed above; the media source is subject of analysis (“media/discourse/content analysis”) in which case the quality does not necessarily play a role (which is mostly the case in empirical theses);

4.3 Peer-reviewed vs. non-peer reviewed sources

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

The key quality criterion for academic sources is peer review.

Peer review means that one or several authors submit their manuscripts to either a peer-reviewed journal or an academic press. There, the submission undergoes a first screening by the editors, who have considerable expertise in the respective field (editorial review). If considered to be of sufficient academic quality, the editors forward the anonymized submission to 2-3 reviewers for their detailed assessment. The reviewers are selected based on their academic reputation and in-depth familiarity with the topic under scrutiny.
Given that English is the predominant language of science, reviewers can come from practically across the globe. The reviewers send their anonymized reviews to the editors, who then pass them on to the author(s). As neither author(s) nor the reviewers know of each other, this process is also called double-blind review.
Based on the reviews, the editors can reject a submission or require the author(s) to have it improved in accordance with the criticisms and suggestions of the reviews. This process can go back and forth several times until a reworked submission is accepted for publication. Most peer review processes take several months but can last up to more than a year.

Research submitted for review has often been conducted as part of a PhD or post-doc or a larger funded project. In order to get such a project approved, it already had to go through several rounds of selection and peer review mechanisms.

An additional quality criterion within peer-reviewed publishing is the reputation of a journal or an academic press. The reputation of a journal is measured based on the impact factor (citation frequency within a discipline recently after publication) and the subsequent inclusion in renowned journal citation indices. Academic presses affiliated with top-ranked universities or large scientific publishers run the most rigid peer review processes. However, in specified fields niche publishers might be well-reputed, too.

Conference papers and proceedings sometimes undergo a proper peer review process. However, there are many conferences where the academic conveners select the papers without consulting external reviewers. Furthermore, conferences are venues where researchers often deliberately present unfinished work in order to discuss it with an academic audience prior to publication. These limitations have to be borne in mind when using conference papers and proceedings as secondary sources.

Peer review ensures, to a large extent, that published academic work is acknowledged by the scientific community and even challenges the limits of current scientific knowledge. Nevertheless, it is in the author’s responsibility to decide whether a specific peer-reviewed publication qualifies as a secondary source.

4.4 Print vs. electronic sources

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

Due to the increase of electronically published peer-reviewed journals and e-books from academic presses, the differences of print and electronic publications are disappearing. Therefore, it is crucial to always assess the medium of publication (peer review, etc.), the author(s) and – not least – the quality of the actual content. For example, a peer-reviewed journal which is published only electronically has to be given preference over popular science literature in hard-cover.

It is safe to assume that the production process of printed materials is more time-consuming than that of electronic sources. The latter may be more topical and subject to ongoing revision.

The most credible repositories of academic sources are libraries of universities and research institutes. In such places, literature is being acquired, processed and stored based on academic quality standards. Libraries but also archives increasingly offer a wide range of electronic sources.

4.5 Libraries

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

To increase the outcome of library visits, one should first inquire on the terms of use, which are often available on the library website. To fully benefit from a library’s on-the-spot services (esp. from access to electronic sources) one should get hold of a library ID. This said remote access can be restricted to faculty members and graduate students of that very institution.

Libraries frequently offer guided tours or online tutorials to get a better overview of their holdings and to learn effective search strategies. Moreover librarians can be helpful, too.

Additional services of libraries encompass copying, printing, scanning, lending, and inter-library loan. The terms of use of each library regulate these services.

4.5.1 Library catalogs

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

In the past two decades, libraries have seen dramatic changes. Although they still display physical books on shelves, many of their holdings nowadays accessible electronically.

The heart-piece of any academic library is its catalog. All literature published and cataloged from the 1990s onwards, can be found in the electronic catalog. Older items might only be accessible through a card catalog. Electronic catalogs allow for advanced search strategies. They at least display all relevant bibliographic information of an entry and the item’s shelf-mark (i.e. position on the shelf).

Increasingly, libraries purchase e-books in order to make an item accessible to more than one reader at a time. E-books can likewise be searched for in the electronic library catalog. Depending on the individual user status and the library’s subscription status, one can read or even download e-books for free.

4.5.2 Databases

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

In addition to library catalogs, most academic libraries are subscribed to databases. These databases are either multidisciplinary or cover a narrower field of research. They contain a large amount of peer-reviewed journals and partially also additional sources, such as relevant media outlets, statistics or company profiles.

Similarly to library catalogs, electronic databases enable advanced search strategies either within the sources of a single database or even across databases. Search results normally display the bibliographic information of each entry, abstracts, the quality of the journal, information on the peer review process, and cross-references to other entries (cf. 4.5.3). The number of citations by other high-quality journals is a widely accepted indicator of an article’s significance and relevance (cf. 4.3).

It depends on the individual user status and on the library’s subscription status, whether one can retrieve articles for free.

4.5.3 Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) helps locate a specific item in the vast and highly dynamic space of electronically published sources. This is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by the International DOI Foundation to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. A large DOI registration agency is CrossRef; thus DOIs might sometimes appear under CrossRef in a library catalog or database search engine. DOIs play an increasing role in referencing, too (cf. 5.3.3).

4.6 Archives

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

Archives are a collection of historical records, which can be used as primary sources for research. Whereas the research of historical documents is typically associated with the humanities, social scientists make use of newspaper archives, collections of legal decisions, etc. Such archives are increasingly available online, either for free or (partially) fee-based.

To sum up, archives are rich depositories for primary sources (esp. for text-based empirical research), whereas libraries are the best providers of academically credible secondary sources.

4.7 Internet

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

Arguably, the Internet is not only an infinite repository of knowledge but also a venue of shared knowledge generation. It furthermore offers easy and often free access to any piece of knowledge or information.

However, much of what is being published on the Internet never had to undergo peer review or any other form of quality check. Popularity of a source (e.g. number of clicks and shares, favorable comments, etc.) must not be confounded with acceptance by the scientific community. A researcher therefore has to critically examine the academic credibility of online sources.

By any contemporary academic writing standard, Wikipedia and similar wiki-based online encyclopedias (e.g. Investopedia) have to be dismissed as academically credible sources. One may thus use Wikipedia, Investopedia, etc. to get preliminary orientation but always has to search beyond for any sort of academic paper.

5. Style guide

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

A uniform style guide enhances the visibility and consistency of the line of reasoning, improves the comprehensibility of the structure and organization of a paper, and properly attributes quotes to their sources.

LBS has adopted the style guide of the American Psychological Association (APA), which is among the most widely accepted style guides in the social sciences and in business studies. The determining guideline is the Sixth Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association and pertaining online sources. Furthermore, the APA section in the Online Writing Lab (OWL) of Purdue University can be consulted for clarification. Where necessary, LBS has made amendments to the APA style guide.

LBS sticks to American English spelling, unless indicated differently by names, technical terms or quotes (e.g. Erasmus programme countries, Canadian Department of National Defence).

Authors of academic papers are encouraged to use the APA function for referencing as provided by their word-processing software.

5.1 Basic style
5.2 Layout and formatting

5.2.1 Organization of an academic paper

[Last update: 06.10.2014]

(a) General division: It typically contains front matters (title page, table of contents, etc.), the body text, and the back matters (references, appendices, etc.).
(b) Though the requirements for each publication vary greatly, the body text of any paper contains an introduction (chapter 1), a main body (from chapter 2 until the conclusion) and a conclusion (chapter number following the last chapter of the main body).
(c) The introduction at least has to state a clear-cut research question (or project puzzle), a research/project objective, the scope and relevance of the paper, its basic structure, and the methods employed.
(d) The conclusion summarizes the most important results and provides a succinct answer to the research question. The conclusion does not contain any novel sources or arguments which have not been presented in previous chapters. It is also customary to show up the limitations of the present findings, and discuss suggestions for further research.
(e) Chapters and sub-chapters further structure the introduction, main body and conclusion. The main chapter heading (2, 3, 4, 5, etc.) are more general, whereas sub-chapter headings then specify the heading of the level above (but it should never be a mere repetition thereof).
(f) A chapter or sub-chapter heading has to be followed by at least two paragraphs; preferably however more.
(g) It is recommended not to have more than three levels of headings (e.g. chapter 2, sub-chapters 2.1, 2.2., 2.3., 2.4, etc.; sub-sub-chapters 2.4.1, 2.4.2, 2.4.3, 2.4.4, 2.4.5, etc.).
(h) Headings must never appear on the bottom line of a page.
(i) Paragraphs are a smaller unit of text. Ideally, a paragraph contains one well-elaborated argument. For the next argument, one begins a new paragraph.
(j) The minimum length of a paragraph is three lines.
(k) The first line of a paragraph must never appear on the very bottom of a page.
(l) A separate indented paragraph is used to print longer quotations exceeding 40 words.
(m) The first paragraph of a chapter/ sub-chapter should have an opening, introducing character, whereas the final paragraph of a chapter/sub-chapter sums up its core argument.
(n) Front matters a paginated with Roman numerals, whereas the body text and back matters bear Arabic numerals.
(o) In APA style, footnotes can be inserted parsimoniously to further describe or comment on an argument. References are never presented in footnotes. Moreover, endnotes are not used.

5.2.2 Master thesis: structure and template

[Last update: 07.10.2015]

Compulsory elements of a master thesis are:

(a) Filled out title page
(b) Signed statutory declaration
(c) Table of Contents
(d) List of Tables and Figures
(e) List of abbreviations
(f) Abstract (300 words)
(g) Body text
(h) References
(i) Personal communications (if applicable)
(j) Appendices (if applicable)

The fully formatted template for master theses can be accessed here: LBS.Template_master_thesis

5.2.3 Bachelor thesis: structure and template

[Last update: 23.05.2017]

Compulsory elements of a bachelor thesis are:

(a) Filled out title page
(b) Signed statutory declaration
(c) Table of Contents
(d) List of Tables and Figures (if applicable)
(e) List of abbreviations
(f) Abstract (150 words)
(g) Body text
(h) References
(i) Personal communications (if applicable)
(j) Appendices (if applicable)

The fully formatted template for bachelor theses can be accessed here:
LBS.Template_bachelor_thesis I
LBS.Template_bachelor_thesis II

5.2.4 Project report: structure and template

[Last update: 07.10.2015]

Compulsory elements of a project report are:

(a) Filled out title page
(b) Signed statutory declaration
(c) Table of Contents
(d) List of Tables and Figures (if applicable)
(e) List of abbreviations
(f) Executive summary (5-10 per cent of main body; 2-3 pages)
(g) Body text
(h) References
(i) Personal communications (if applicable)
(j) Appendices (if applicable)

The fully formatted template for project reports can be accessed here: LBS.Template_project_report

5.2.5 Written assignment: structure and template 

[Last update: 07.10.2015]

Compulsory elements of a written assignment are:

(a) Filled out title page
(b) Signed statutory declaration
(c) Table of Contents
(d) List of Tables and Figures (if applicable)
(e) List of abbreviations
(g) Body text
(h) References
(i) Personal communications (if applicable)
(j) Appendices (if applicable)

The fully formatted template for written assignments can be accessed here: LBS.Template_written_assignment

5.2.6 Presentation write-ups: structure and templates

[Last update: 07.10.2015]

Compulsory elements of a written assignment are:

(a) Filled out title page
(b) Body text
(c) References

The fully formatted template for written assignments can be accessed here: LBS.Template_presentation_write-up

5.3 Citing and referencing

5.3.1 Crediting sources 

[Last update: 11.09.2017]

Academic papers have to engage with existing scientific knowledge, which is accessible in various sources (cf. 4). Existing sources are being incorporated by correctly citing (i.e. quotes as part of an academic paper) and referencing them. This places one’s own argument in the larger context of a given area of research.

Moreover, properly credited sources distinguish existing literature from one’s own work. If the latter is of good quality, readers/examiners will acknowledge this. Sources also give an interested reader the opportunity to read beyond the paper under review. Last but not least, unattributed sources will most probably raise allegations of academic malpractice thanks to ever more sophisticated plagiarism detection software.

Hence, knowing how to cite and reference in accordance with a style guide is one of the most crucial academic writing skills.

5.3.2 Quotes and in-text references 

[Last update: 11.09.2017]

Quotes can either be verbatim or a paraphrase. In both cases, it has to be referenced in the text, and the used source must be listed in the list of references.

The in-text reference appears immediately after the quoted passage or its paraphrase and must contain (1) the author’s name, (2) the year of publication and (3) the page(s).

Verbatim quotes

If the author’s original phrase is used in the text, quotation marks are used at the beginning and the end of the citation. Verbatim quotes are only used if there is no better way to express the author’s thought in one’s own words. Verbatim quotes must be used sparsely and kept as short as possible, since the primary idea of an academic text is to put other auhors‘ thoughts in your own words. Verbatim quotes must be referenced in the text according to the following examples:

  • Example 1: “Students often had difficulty using APA style” (Jones, 1998, p. 199).
  • Example 2: According to Jones (1998), “Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time” (p. 199).
  • Example 3: Jones (1998) found “students often had difficulty using APA style” (p. 199); what implications does this have for teachers?
  • Example 4: She stated, “Students often had difficulty using APA style” (Jones, 1998, p. 199), but she did not offer an explanation as to why.


If there are verbatim quotes of more than 40 words (which requires a justifyable reason, e.g. the student quotes out of a legal text and the usage of the exact wording throughout a longer part of the text is decisive), they have to be placed in a free-standing block of type-written lines. In this case, quotation marks are omitted. The quotation must be started on a new line, indented 1,3cm (in the same place where you would start a new paragraph). The entire quotation must be single-spaced and on the new margin.


Jones’s (1998) study found the following:
Students often had difficulty using APA style, especially when it was their first time citing sources. This difficulty could be attributed to the fact that many students failed to purchase a style manual or to ask their teacher for help. (p. 199)

Paraphrased quotes

This means that you are paraphrasing an idea of another work, respectively expressing the author’s thoughts in your own words. The large majority of your citations shall be paraphrased much rather than verbatim, and overall, the large majority of your academic text will consist of paraphrased quotes, linked by your own ideas, comments, criticism, etc. Thereby, it is important that the paraphrases are clearly distinguishable from one another, as well as from your own genuine text. Therefore, paraphrased quotes need to be referenced in the text according to the following examples:

  • Example 1: According to Jones (1998, p. 199), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
  • Example 2: APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).


If the student paraphrases several pages in a book, the relevant pages need to be indicated using “pp.” (short for “pages”):

  • Jones (1998, pp. 23-26) argues that first time learners tend to have difficulties with the APA citation format for several reasons.


NB: It is extremely problematic to use entire paragraphs from other sources with a reference only at the end each paragraph. The student-author must work with much precision when it comes to accurately placing a reference before/after each thought that was borrowed from another author/another source/another page in a book, etc. In the doubt, it is better to place too many references than too few.

Further specifics

A work by 2 authors:

  • Research by Wegener and Petty (1994) supports…
  • (Wegener & Petty, 1994)


A work by 3-5 authors:

  • First citation: (Kernis, Cornell, Sun, Berry, & Harlow, 1993)
  • Subsequent citations: Use „et al.“, which is short for „et alii“ meaning „and others“ (Kernis et al., 1993)


Organization as an author:

  • First citation: According to the American Psychological Association [APA] (2000),…
  • Alternative first citation: (American Psychological Association [APA], 2000)
  • Subsequent citations: (APA, 2000)


Two or more works by the same author in the same year:

  • Research by Berndt (1981a) illustrates that …
  • Letters a, b, c, … n, are used according to the chronological use of the sources in the text and need to appear in the same way in the list of references


Personal communication: For interviews, letters, e-mails and other person-to person communication. Personal communication is not included in the reference list, but in a separate section called „Personal Communication“

  • (E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).
  • P. Smith also claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style (personal communication, November 3, 2002).


Citing indirect sources: If you use a source that was cited in another source, name the original source in your signal phrase. List the secondary source in your reference list and include the secondary source in the parentheses. NB: Citing indirect sources must be avoided and is only justifyable if the original source is not availabe for the student-author (e.g. if a book is out of print and no longer available in the libraries).

  • Johnson argued that… (as cited in Smith, 2003, p. 102).
  • Smith’s work then has to be fully referenced in the reference list.


Any other specific case that is not mentioned in this section can be looked up at the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL).

5.3.3 Reference list

[Last update: 11.09.2017]

The reference list collects all sources (excluding Personal communications, cf. 5.3.4) that were cited in the text. Each source you cite in the paper must appear in your reference list; References of in-text citations and the pertinent item in the reference list have to be fully congruent in every detail. Otherwise sources might not be traceable, which can eventually entail allegations of plagiarism.

The reference list has to begin on a new page separate from your text, and must be labelled “References” centered at the top of the page (no bold, underline, quotation marks for the title – see respective template for correct format of headings). All text should be 1,5-spaced like the rest of the text.

Basic rules

  • All lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented 1,3cm from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation.
  • Sources are ordered alphabetically according to the authors‘ last names. Use initials for first name(s)
  • For multiple articles by the same author, or authors listed in the same order, list the entries in chronological order, from earliest to most recent:

    a) Two or more works by the same author:

Berndt, T. J. (1981).

Berndt, T. J. (1999).

    b) Two or more works by the same author in the same year:

Berndt, T. J. (1981a).

Berndt, T. J. (1981b).

  • If the work appeared in a journal, also present the journal title in full, and maintain the punctuation and capitalization that is used by the journal in its title (For example: ReCALL not RECALL or Knowledge Management Research & Practice not Knowledge Management Research and Practice.)
  • Page numbers are only indicated if the work is published in an edited volume or a journal with several contributions (if the work spreads from page 21 to page 56, then 21-56 is added at the end of the reference in case of a journal, and pp. 21-56 in case of an edited volume or a newspaper. This is regardless of which precise page was cited in the text).


Specific rules depending on source type

Books with single author:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle.

Location: Publisher.

Gore, A. (2006). An inconvenient truth: The planetary emergency of global warming

and what we can do about it. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.


Books with two or more authors:

Michaels, P. J., & Balling, R. C., Jr. (2000). The satanic gases: Clearing the air about

global warming. Washington, DC: Cato Institute.

Kernis, M. H., Cornell, D. P., Sun, C. R., Berry, A., Harlow, T., & Bach, J. S. (1993).

There’s more to self-esteem than whether it is high or low: The importance of stability of self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 1190-1204.


Articles or Chapters in an Edited Book

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Year of publication). Title of chapter. In A. A. Editor &

B. B. Editor (Eds.), Title of book (pages of chapter). Location: Publisher.

NB: When you list the pages of the chapter or essay in parentheses after the book title, use “pp.” before the numbers: (pp. 1-21). This abbreviation, however, does not appear before the page numbers in periodical references, except for newspapers.

O’Neil, J. M., & Egan, J. (1992). Men’s and women’s gender role journeys: A

metaphor for healing, transition, and transformation. In B. R. Wainrib (Ed.), Gender issues across the life cycle (pp. 107-123). New York, NY: Springer.


Articles in Journals

NB: Title and volume number of the journal are in italics

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical,

volume number(issue number), pages.

Journal paginated by volume:

Harlow, H. F. (1983). Fundamentals for preparing psychology journal articles.

Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 55, 893-896.

Journal paginated by issue:

Scruton, R. (1996). The eclipse of listening. The New Criterion, 15(3), 5-13.


Articles from an Online Periodical

NB: Online articles follow the same guidelines for printed articles. Include all information the online host makes available, including an issue number in parentheses.

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online

Periodical, volume number (issue number if available). Retrieved from

Haas, M., Koeszegi, S. T. (2017) Play the Game. A construction of gender and

professional behaviour in organizations: A frame analysis. Forum Qualitative Research, Vol 18, No 3 (2017). Retrieved from


Articles from an Online Periodical with DOI Assigned

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal,

volume number, page range. doi:0000000/000000000000 or

Brownlie, D. (2007). Toward effective poster presentations: An annotated

bibliography. European Journal of Marketing, 41, 1245-1283.doi:10.1108/03090560710821161

Wooldridge, M.B., & Shapka, J. (2012). Playing with technology: Mother-toddler

interaction scores lower during play with electronic toys. Journal of AppliedDevelopmental Psychology, 33(5), 211-218.


Articles in a Magazine

NB: Title and volume number of the magazine are in italics

Henry, W. A., III. (1990, April 9). Making the grade in today’s schools. Time, 135,



Article in a Newspaper

NB: Title of the newspaper is in italics, page numbers are indicated with “pp.”

Brown Calder, V. (2017, August 25). Why Mortgage Tax Relief should be abolished.

Newsweek, pp. 1A, 2A.


Website with an author:

In the case of a website (with or without author), the date of retrieval must be mentioned in brackets.

Simmons, B. (2015, January 9). The tale of two Flaccos. Retrieved from (Date of retrieval: December 6, 2016)


Website without an author:

In the case of a website (with or without author), the date of retrieval must be mentioned in brackets.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2007, May 4). Climate Change.

Retrieved From the Environmental Protection Agency website: (Date of retrieval: December 6, 2016)


Any other specific case that is not mentioned in this section can be looked up at the Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)

5.3.4 Personal communications

[Last update: 11.09.2017]

APA requires all kind of personal communications (e.g. letters, e-mail messages, telephone conversations, interviews, discussion notes, etc.) to be listed in a separate section after the reference list. In the list of personal communications, the items appear in the alphabetical order of the first letter of the interlocutors’ given names (first letter of first given name).


The minimum reference of personal communications has to be as follows. This is suitable for letters, e-mail messages, telephone calls, etc.
(a) Reference in list of personal communications:

1. K. Lutes (personal communication, April 18, 2001)

(b) In-text reference after the quoted passage:

(T. K. Lutes, personal communication, April 18, 2001)


For interviews and focus groups transcripts, which often become primary data in empirical research projects using qualitative methods, are more detailed reference is due:
(a) Reference in list of personal communications:

1. K. Lutes, United Nations special adviser, New York, April 18, 2001, interview.

(b) In-text reference after the quoted passage:

(T. K. Lutes, 2001)

6. Non-English texts

6.1 Translation of primary and secondary data/sources

[Last update: 11.09.2017]

For the sake of transparency, the use of the English language must be prefered for both primary data (generated by the author) and secondary sources (e.g. academic literature). In both cases, the usage of a language other than English must be justified (e.g. through a particular geographical focus of the paper).

As regards primary data, this can be due to the nature of the research question or the focus on a particular target group, in some cases also for pragmatic reasons (e.g. German as interview language because of the preference of an Austrian interview partner).

As regards secondary sources (in particular academic literature), students are supposed to engage with internationally debated literature, which, in the large majority of cases, is written in English language. Thus, the margin of using foreign speaking literature is very limited as a matter of fact. If nevertheless the student finds the need to involve a non-English text in his/her work, this needs to be authorized by the supervisor of the paper who thereby confirms to be able to comprehend the language in question.

Wherever an English translation of secondary data/sources exists, the author has to reference and quote from the officially published English translation.

Where primary data cannot be generated in English, the author has to provide a translation to the English language, which has to be published in the appendix or on the electronic documentation. For instance, a questionnaire or interview transcripts have to be translated to the English language by the author. In the case of a BA or MA thesis, both the original language version as well as the translation need to be kept electronically and submitted via CD or USB-stick (cf. 7).

In the reference list, both the original title as well as the translation need to be inserted. In case of a language with non-latin alphabet, the transliteration needs to be added as well:


Example 1: Referencing a source in German language

Kautt, Y. (2017). Grounded Theory als Methodologie und Methode der Analyse

visueller Kommunikation. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung, Vol 18, No. 3 (2017). Retrieved from

Kautt, Y. (2017). Grounded Theory as a methodology and method of analyzing visual

communication. Forum Qualitative Research, Vol 18, No. 3 (2017). Retrieved from


Example 2: Referencing a source in Hebrew language (incl. transliteration)

ברק, מ. (2012). הלוחש למניות. קיסריה: פולסר קפיטל מרקטס בע”מ

Barak, M. (2012). Halokhesh LeMenayot. Keysaria: Pulsar Capital Market BAA”M.
Barak, M. (2012). The Stocks Whisperer. Caesarea: Pulsar Capital Market LTD.


Where English translations of secondary data/sources are not accessible, the author has to properly reference the non-English source.

6.2 Non-English fonts and transliteration

[Last update: 06.10.2014]
Names of persons and places, technical terms, publication titles, etc. written in other fonts but Latin (Roman) always have to be transliterated (Romanized).

Fonts which are not contained in the English alphabet
Most languages using the Latin alphabet comprise fonts which are not contained in the English alphabet (e.g. ß, à, ç, ł, š, ð, đ, ő, œ). One can either use these fonts uniformly throughout the paper, or has to correctly anglicize them.
Exceptions to this rule are proper names of authors, editors, institutions, etc., as some of them tend to have Anglicized versions of their names. One always has to stick their preferred spelling. If unsure, it is recommended to check their English-language Internet profiles or English-language publications.

Transliteration/Romanization of non-Latin alphabets
In case of any non-Latin alphabet, one can either employ a standard transliteration/Romanization or devise one‘s own. Importantly, it has to be uniform throughout the entire document.

LBS has defined transliteration/Romanization standards only for the Cyrillic and the Hebrew alphabets. They have to be complied with in all academic writing.

Again, exceptions to this rule are proper names of authors, editors, institutions, etc., as some of them tend to have Anglicized versions of their names. One always has to stick their preferred spelling. If unsure, it is recommended to check their English-language Internet profiles or English-language publications.

6.2.1 Transliteration/Romanization of Cyrillic fonts

The following transliteration/Romanization of Russian fonts has been employed by authorities of the Russian Federation since 2010. Other languages using Cyrillic fonts (e.g. Bulgarian, Serbian, and Ukrainian) occasionally contain different or additional fonts. One can employ a standard transliteration/Romanization of the respective language or come up with one’s own transliteration/Romanization of the fonts not covered by the Russian alphabet. Importantly, it has to be uniform throughout the entire document.


Russian alphabet Transliteration/Romanization
А а A a
Б б B b
В в V v
Г г G g
Д д D d
Е е E e
Ё ё E e
Ж ж Zh zh
З з Z z
И и I i
Й й I i
К к K k
Л л L l
М м M m
Н н N n
О о O o
П п P p
Р р R r
С с S s
Т т T t
У у U u
Ф ф F f
Х х Kh kh
Ц ц Tc tc
Ч ч Ch ch
Ш ш Sh sh
Щ щ Shch shch
Ъ ъ
Ы ы Y y
Ь ь
Э э E e
Ю ю Iu iu
Я я Ia ia

6.2.2 Transliteration/Romanization of in Hebrew fonts

The transliteration/Romanization of Hebrew fonts is a convenience method based on contemporary Israeli Hebrew. Though it does not fulfil the requirements of scientific transliteration in Hebrew linguistics, it can be considered to be sufficient for academic writing for business studies.
Vowels should be expressed according to their pronunciation in contemporary Israeli Hebrew: Aa, Ee, Ey ey, Ii, Oo, Uu or none in case of an unpronounced shva.


Transliteration/Romanization Hebrew alphabet
depending on the vowel or none א
B b or V v ב
G g ג
D d ד
H h or none at the end of a word ה
V v or O o or U u ו
Z z ז
H h ח
T t ט
I i or Y y י
K k or Kh kh כ
L l ל
M m מ
N n נ
S s ס
depending on the vowel or none ע
P p or F f פ
Ts ts צ
K k ק
R r ר
Sh sh or S s ש
T t ת
J j ‘ג
Zh zh ‘ז
Ch ch ‘צ

7. Documentation

[Last update: 11.09.2017]

An author is required to keep all his/her research-related sources on file (in case of students for one year after graduation). The Director of Studies, the lecturer and/or supervisor can ask for documentation at any stage during or after the completion of an assignment or research project. The author must make such documentation available. Insufficient or inexistent documentation does not constitute a valid defense if an author is charged with academic malpractice.

The research documentation will typically contain the following files:

a) The front matters and the body text (cf. 5.2)

b) A reference list of all sources cited in a paper (cf. 5.3.3)

c) A copy of all used sources

d) If applicable, the list of personal communications (cf. 5.3.4)

e) If applicable, a collection of gray literature (cf. 3.2)

f) If applicable, all research notes, memos and drafts

g) If applicable, all interview or focus groups transcripts

h) If applicable, all questionnaires

i) If applicable, any further documentation of data generation

j) If applicable, all results of analysis (if not accessible as part of the software file)

k) If applicable, all software-based analysis files (e.g. SPSS, STATA, MaxQDA)

The front matters and body text (a), reference list (b), and (if applicable) the list of personal communications (c) have to be incorporated in the written paper (cf. templates, 5.2).

A copy of all used sources must be kept electronically (electronic sources must be saved, the used pages of hard copy sources must be scanned/photographed) and enclosed on a CD/memory stick (as indicated by the Director of Studies). Any sources in a language other than English must be kept both in the original language (copy/scan) and in the English translation.

The collection of gray literature (d) as well as research notes, memos and drafts (e) has to be kept on file (either in print and/or electronically), and has to be shown to the Director of Studies upon request.

Documentation files (f)-(i) can can either be presented in the appendices to the written paper or saved electronically on a memory stick.

The software-based analysis files (j) always have to be saved on a memory stick.

All Bachelor’s and Masters’ thesis have to submitted printed and electronically on an electronic memory device. Furthermore all written submissions have to be uploaded on the TurnItIn. The electronic submission contains the paper in word and pdf and the electronic research documentation. Confidential or classified files have to be marked as such and will be accessed only by the Director of Studies and the members of the Bachelor/Master Examination Commission.