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Art and Art History: Referencing - the basics

Referencing and Plagiarism

Learn more about how to correctly reference all of the information sources that you use in your coursework, as well as the potential consequences of failing to acknowledge or cite these sources.

Things to remember - the basics

One of the major features of academic writing is acknowledging the books, journal articles and other information sources that you have used, usually by citing them one-by-one in your assignment and listing them all at the end in a bibliography. Often there are many marks for doing this correctly so it is a skill worth learning as soon as you can.

If you don't acknowledge your sources you might pass off someone else's ideas, quotations etc. as your own. This is plagiarism which is not permitted by the University and can have serious consequences for you.

Take a look at the School of Art's MLA guidelines and the other resources available below.

Contact Lloyd, your Subject Librarian if you need any further advice or help.

What is citing and referencing?

Referencing simply means acknowledging your sources.

It is important to ensure references are done correctly and consistently. 


Citation (or in-text referencing):

  • acknowledging sources within your assignment/essay. This is usually a short, formal acknowledgement within the body of your work acting as an indication of where the material has come from. ​​


  • expressing or putting into your own words the meaning of the text to clarify the content.


  • when you use the original words used from the source in your own work. 


  • full bibliographic details of the items you have cited/used in your work which should include: name, initial, date of publication, title, publisher and publishing location.  Depending on the source and the referencing style you are using your reference  may also include subtitle, chapter, editor, edition, date accessed etc.


  • acknowledging the sources you have used in your work.


  • This is the list of all sources used in preparing and creating your assignment/essay which can be easily linked to your in-text citations. Your bibliography will include those sources you have directly quoted or paraphrased and sources you've consulted to gain information about the subject area. The bibliography is located at the end of your work.

Why is referencing important?

Cite and reference the sources you have used correctly, completely and consistently.


  • to gain better marks

  • your arguments will be supported by evidence

  • your lecturer can see how widely you have read 

  • your work will reflect expected academic values and good academic practice 

  • avoid accidental plagiarism

  • give credit to those whose work you have quoted or paraphrased

  • allow those who read your work to locate and read the sources you have used

  • build on your research skills

  • good bibliographic referencing is essential to academic writing in higher education

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is passing off someone else's work as your own.

For example:

  • failing to cite an author who's book or article you have quoted from in your assignment

  • copying and pasting text from the Internet into your assignment without indicating the source

  • copying some or all of a friend's essay into yours

  • buying an essay online or from another source

Find out more about what the University considers to be plagiarism and what happens if you plagiarise, in the Regulation on Unacceptable Academic Practice.

The consequences are serious: 

  • taught students can be excluded from the University
  • research postgraduates can have their thesis failed

When you hand in an assignment you must sign a cover sheet to indicate that you understand the consequences if you plagiarise.

The University online submission software Turnitin will check your assignment for evidence of plagiarism and whoever is marking your assignment will see the report it produces.

Our Referencing & Plagiarism Awareness LibGuide

Take a look at our in-depth Referencing and Plagiarism Awareness LibGuide to learn more about how to correctly reference all of the information sources that you use in your coursework, as well as the potential consequences of failing to acknowledge or cite these sources. 

Once you have completed the guide, you can then test your knowledge with our quiz which will take around 15 minutes to complete .

Academic Writing Video

Discover these and more in the library

Free courses

There are a number of free courses that you could attend focusing specifically on referencing. Have a look at the list of courses by clicking the links below. 

Free undergraduate courses.
Free postgraduate courses.

Referencing Software

There is reference management software available to help you organise your references and format your citations and bibliographies.

Citations and Bibliography in Microsoft Word

There is a feature in Microsoft Word for creating in text-citations and bibliographies. It is called Citations & Bibliography and you can find it on the References tab in Word. N.B. you do have to type in the reference details yourself so this is only useful if you are only citing a small number of references. Also it is not designed for use with footnotes.


EndNote is a desktop bibliographic referencing application for gathering bibliographic references from online databases; amending, managing and storing references; formatting the references from a range of citation styles provided and exporting the references as footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies into Microsoft Word documents.

Contacting Lloyd

Contact Lloyd, your Subject Librarian if you have a library query or would like to arrange a 1:1 online appointment via MS Teams:

Book an online appointment