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Information Essentials: What is referencing?

What is Referencing?

Referencing is a standardised way to give credit to the source of your ideas in your work. This is an essential part of academic integrity, and you will be required to reference in most of your assignments throughout your degree, including oral reports and presentations.

Here are some situations where you need to reference:

  • When you directly quote someone's work;
  • When you write things in your own words (paraphrasing) but still draw from someone else's ideas;
  • When you combine ideas from multiple sources;
  • If you include images, media clips, or data from another source—whether you use it all or just a part of it;
  • When you reuse a portion of your own work from a previous assignment, you need to reference it.

Referencing isn't just about giving credit though, it's also about backing up your opinions with solid evidence. If you can support your thoughts with credible scholarly sources, your own opinion gains more credibility too. So, it's a win-win!

Now, let's break down a reference into two parts:

  • a brief citation within the body of your work (in-text citations), and
  • a full reference at the end of the work, chapter, or page (end-text references - principles; examples).

NOTE: The specific format of your reference depends on the referencing style you're using and the type of source you're referencing. Please check your unit outline for instructions about what referencing style to use for your assignment.

For a brief (4-minute) introduction to referencing using APA style, view the video below:

Please note that the closed captions might obscure some of the detail in this video. If viewing the video with subtitles, we recommend you click on the diagonal arrow on the video toolbar to watch the video in Panopto.

The following tutorial will help you learn to avoid plagiarism and incorporate sources into your writing appropriately.

See Also

APA 7 Tutorial: How to Avoid Plagiarism and Self-Plagiarism

Learn how to avoid plagiarism and self-plagiarism, including how to identify plagiarism, understand its risks and consequences, cite sources properly, and develop sound writing practices.

Academic Writer, © 2020 American Psychological Association.