Referencing Explained

Why is referencing important?

Referencing is an important part of your writing at university. It is essential because referencing is the way you: 

  • show respect for and acknowledge the work of others
  • give your work credibility and reliability
  • demonstrate to your lecturer that you have read and considered the relevant literature
  • allow your lecturer to validate and read further on a particular point that you have made
  • follow academic writing standards
  • avoid plagiarism (become familiar with the University's Regulations).

When do you need to reference?

There are a number of resources you may use to construct your work including: books, journals and magazines; print and electronic information; newspapers; government publications; media such as videos, DVDs and sound recordings; websites; lectures; and personal communications such as emails. In your work whenever you use the ideas, words or the work of another person or organisation, then you need to provide a reference to the source.

The easiest way to reference is to plan your assignments and to ensure you record the details of the source as you read, take notes and write your drafts. 

Which referencing style to use

There are many different referencing styles and methods. Either your faculty or your lecturer will nominate the referencing style that you are required to use in their courses. If you are studying courses from different departments or faculties, then you may need to confirm which referencing style to use, as styles differ between faculties and courses. If you are in doubt which referencing style to use, then consult your lecturer.

Where to find the referencing guides

The Library publishes Referencing Guides on the most commonly used referencing styles and methods. These guides provide you with general information about applying the referencing style. Some details in these guides, eg punctuation, may differ from faculty or department guidelines. For advice relating to the specific requirements of referencing assignments, always consult your lecturer.

How to reference

When acknowledging the ideas, words or work of someone else you will need to record a reference in two places:

  1. within your work, eg in the text of your assignment
  2. in a reference list or bibliography at the end of your assignment.

The way you record the reference will vary according to the referencing style you are required to use. Refer to the particular Referencing Guide that you need to use for specific details.