Referencing your sources

It is important at University to ensure that you are referencing your sources, referencing them correctly, and managing the process as painlessly as possible.  This will help you avoid getting into difficulty over plagiarism, make the most efficient use of your time, and demonstrate your subject mastery. 

Plagiarism occurs if we fail to cite other people’s work and use it as our own, whether it is a quotation from a book, a paraphrase from a web page, data from a journal article or a paid-for essay from a “paper mill”.  Unless you can claim it is common knowledge you should reference the source.  You can even be accused of plagiarism for poor reference practices or reusing your own work without proper attribution.

Note that references are made up of two parts: the reference (which will appear in a list at the end of your assignment or dissertation) and the citation which appears in the main text where you mention the work.

The Library supports referencing in three ways: Firstly through our Referencing webpage  which provides advice and lots of examples.  Secondly through our Chat and email help – although we cannot do your referencing for you, we are always happy to help give advice and pointers.  Thirdly through our seasonal referencing ‘pop-ups’ where you can ask for specialist help.

In addition, good habits of note taking and managing your references, from initial reading to final citation in a submitted piece of work, will help you to save time hunting for a tiny reference detail when you’re under pressure of deadlines.  Whether you use a notebook and pen, an app on your phone, cards in a shoebox or a dedicated piece of software, it’s worth developing good habits from the outset.  Note that apps and the ‘cite’ button found in many databases can be really helpful, but their output should always be checked for accuracy.  You may find referencing management software helpful. 

* Newton, I. (1675). Letter to Robert Hooke dated February 5. 


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