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Support for Researchers at the University of Derby

Citing and referencing

If you use someone else’s thoughts, words or ideas in your work you must acknowledge this by providing a brief citation in the text and a more detailed bibliographic description of the item you used to gain information e.g. author, title, date and place of publication, publisher at the end of your work in a Reference List or Bibliography. If you do not acknowledge these sources you may be accused of plagiarism which is a serious academic offence.

Citations and references are also important in order to:

  • acknowledge the source of your information, ideas and arguments
  • differentiate between your own opinions and the views of those who have greater knowledge and wider experience of the given subject
  • substantiate the knowledge, theories and discussions that you present in your work
  • show that you have researched your material, and that the ideas that you present have been considered in the light of documented material on the subject
  • demonstrate that you have read a wide range of sources

To find out more about the Harvard, OSCOLA, APA and MLA referencing systems please see the online resource Cite them right online. There are also print copies of Cite Them Right in stock in all the University libraries. To check availability please refer to the library catalogue. Please note that the online version is updated more frequently than the printed version.



Advice on citing and referencing and how to avoid plagiarism can also be found in PLATO (PLAgiarism Teaching Online)

For further information about using third party copyright material in your thesis please see the Copyright for Students guide

Managing your references

You might find it helpful to start using reference management software to collect, organise and store your references, particularly for your thesis. With reference management software you can also add your own notes to references, attach files (PDFs, word documents) to references and insert references in to Microsoft Word documents.

The university has a subscription to EndNote Web. To get access go to our list of Indexes and Databases and then click on 'E' and then the link to EndNote Web. You will need to set up an EndNote Web account, which is distinct from your university login account. Please be aware that you will not have access to EndNote once you have graduated, so you will need to ensure that you export your references to one of the free reference management tools listed below if you want to continue to use the references that you have gathered.

There are many other free reference management tools available but you will need to evaluate these to decide which one you prefer and suits your needs. As a starting point you may want to have a look at:





For more information about reference management software, please see our dedicated guide.

Using library databases to manage references and information

The majority of databases (a database is a searchable collection of journal articles) provided by the library will have a facility for you to create a free personal account that will allow you to save any references and also your search history into a personal files area on that database. Therefore the next time you login you just have to retrieve your search and then re-run it to incorporate any new articles that may have been added to the system since you last performed that search. You can also set up alerts for a specfic search so you will receive and email if new articles for that topic are added to the database.

You will also be able to export your references from your folder to reference management software so that you can save all your references in one central point.

For more information about setting up an account and exporting references, please see the Help pages for the database you are using or ask your academic librarian.