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What is Referencing?

Referencing is a standardised way to acknowledge the sources you have used in your work. Sources may include websites, reports, books or journal articles.


Why Reference?

By referencing correctly, you will guide readers to original ideas and avoid plagiarism. Referencing is an indication of academic integrity and a requirement for student essays and projects.

Terms Explained

Most referencing styles contain the same basic types of information about a source. These are the bibliographic details or bibliographic elements. The exact details required will depend on the type of source and the referencing style.

Examples of required bibliographic details:

  1. Journal articles: author(s), publication year, article title, journal title, volume, issue, page number(s), Digital Object Identifier (DOI) or URL
  2. Book: author(s)/editor(s), publication year, book title, place of publication, publisher
  3. Web page: author(s)/editor(s)/name of organisation, date page was last updated, title of page, date page was accessed, URL

Sources are the books, articles, reports and other material that you consult to write your paper.

Documenting involves acknowledging the sources you have used by providing full bibliographic details.

A citation is the source in the body of the paper (a number or author and date). The citation is linked to a corresponding reference. 

References are the list of sources at the end of your document. A reference should give full bibliographic details to the guide the reader to the original source.

A direct quote is when you use the exact words from an original source.

  • Short quotes: you may use quotation marks (" ") and merge with the rest of your text.
  • Longer quotes: May appear as an indented paragraph.

A quote must be followed by a citation. The citation is connected to a reference at the end of your paper.

Paraphrasing is when you use someone else's ideas in your own words. Each paraphrase should include a citation.

Steps to effective paraphrasing (link to Purdue Online Writing Lab)