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Referencing and plagiarism - Skills Guide: Home

Introduction

What is referencing?

Referencing is an important part of academic work as you refer to different types of information including books, journal articles and online resources. It puts your work in context, demonstrates the breadth and depth of your research, and acknowledges other people’s work. You should reference whenever you use someone else’s idea.

When you use information that you have read in another source or refer to other people's ideas, you must create a citation to the source in the body of your text as well as the full reference at the end of your work.  This citation refers the reader to the full reference in a reference list or bibliography.  Citations should be used whenever you use someone else's ideas, whether you put them into your own words (paraphrasing), summarise them, or quote directly.

The reference list is usually in the form of a list with full details of the citations at the end of your work containing further information of the sources used accurately and consistently. This should allow the reader to find the original sources of information that you have used. 

Both citing and referencing are methods for organising the information that you collect for your studies and assignments. 

Why do I need to reference?

There are two types of reason for referencing.

1. Avoiding negative consequences and following rules;

  • Avoiding plagiarism
  • Acknowledging the work of others
  • Allowing the marker to find your research sources

2. Referencing to gain higher marks and to justify that you have met marking criteria.

  • Referencing can evidence your wider reading and research.
  • Referencing highlights where you back your arguments up with authority.
  • Referencing can highlight your critical analysis and separate it from the ideas of others. 

Referencing therefore is vital in evidencing the criteria needed to achieve your desired grade.  

How do I reference?

There are several different referencing styles, make sure you know which style you are being asked to use for your course.  Different courses and lecturers may have different requirements, so if in doubt make sure you check with your lecturer. Once you know the referencing style that you are being asked to use, you will need to follow the conventions for that style, both when citing in the text of your work, and referencing at the end of your work.

A great way to start is the online resource Cite them Right - use the menus at the top of the page to choose what you would like to cite. Cite them Right defaults to the Harvard style of referencing so if you are using a different style make sure to select this from the dropdown menu on each page. 

It is recommended that you read through the basics tab on Cite Them Right for background referencing information. This is great for learning about, quoting, paraphrasing and summarising as well as how to quote secondary sources. 

There are also printed copies of Cite them Right in the vault section of the library.

Across the tabs at the top of the page, we have some basic guidance information for the most common types of referencing.

Resources

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