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Referencing & Plagiarism Awareness: 2. What is referencing and citation?

What is Referencing and Citation?



Referencing and citation is the process of acknowledging the sources you have used when writing your work. Correct referencing and citation also allows the reader of your work to easily identify those sources used in your work and to follow up on them if necessary. It is good academic practice to acknowledge the contributions that others have made to your work.


In summary, referencing and citation demonstrates;

  • That your ideas, critical thinking and comments show you have researched the topic by referring to established experts and authorities
  • Your research skills and that you have made full use of the library resources
  • Authenticity by using good academic practice
  • Your ability to reference correctly and accurately. Remember: there are often marks available in your assignments for good referencing and citation.


Information for your assignment may come from a wide range of sources; including; books, articles, websites, and newspapers.

Using a variety of sources demonstrates that you have spent time researching your topic. These sources will also help you to reinforce your own thoughts and arguments. 

Anything that is not common knowledge must be cited.

You should consult lists of recommended reading from your tutors and make full use of resources available via the Library catalogue. Do NOT rely principally on internet search engines to find sources.

Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2013). Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. London: Palgrave.

What is citing?

Identifying the sources you have used in the text of your assignment. 

This may be done either by direct quotation, paraphrasing or summarising.

In-text citations give brief details about the source that you refer to.  Full details of the source used will then be made in the reference list at the end of the assignment.

There are different ways that you can use a citation in the text whether you use direct quotations, paraphrasing or summarizing. Further help and examples can be found here:

How to insert citations into your assignment?

Top 5 tips to successful referencing

  1. Find sources that help to support your assignment.
  2. Save a list of all the sources used as you find them
  3. Cite your references in your essay.
  4. Format your references to the correct style and be consistent and accurate.
  5. Ask for help

How do I find sources for my assignment?

Search Primo to find useful books and journal articles.

Check out your subject libguide, or ask for help from your librarian.

Don't forget to keep a list of all the sources you find and use - it will make it much easier when writing up your assignment and creating your reference list.

Six tips to master Primo