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Referencing: Welcome & Why Reference?


Welcome to the Referencing LibGuide. This guide will:

  • give you information on why referencing is an important academic skill
  • advise which referencing style your tutors expect you to use
  • provide links to tutorials and further help and support.

Citation, Reference, Bibliography?

Citation: this is where you refer to the source in the text of your document. This is a shortened way of citing the source, with full details given in the reference list.

Reference: the full bibliographic details of the source you have cited. In the Harvard style this is given as a reference list at the end of a document.

Bibliography: this includes any sources you have read as part of your research, whether you have cited them directly or not. When a bibliography is requested, this is also a list at the end of a document.

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Referencing & Plagiarism

Why reference?

Accurate referencing is essential in all academic work, and it:

  • allows you to acknowledge your sources
  • gives academic credibility to your work
  • shows you have carried out thorough research
  • allows your reader to find the sources you have read
  • demonstrates your knowledge of a subject area
  • prevents accusations of plagiarism.

What is plagiarism?

Definition of plagiarism


What should I reference?

You should always reference a source when:

  • using a direct quote
  • summarising a theory
  • discussing someone else's opinion
  • using case studies
  • quoting statistics or visual data

Use this flowchart to help you decide if you need to reference (click on the image for a larger view):
When to cite