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Referencing: Home

Referencing Workshops

We run workshops on referencing each semester on Joondalup campus, Mount Lawley campus, and online. For workshop times, please visit the workshop booklet:

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.

You must include a reference for any work you use, including (but not only) when you:

  • Directly quote a portion of the work;
  • Paraphrase, or rewrite a portion of the work in your own words;
  • Combine ideas from multiple sources;
  • Use an image, media clip, or data from another source, whether you use it all or just a part;
  • Reuse a portion of your own work, if you have previously submitted it for another assignment.
    Note that reusing your own work has other implications related to academic integrity. You are expected to create new work for each assessment, even if you have previously completed a similar assessment. If you would like to reuse a portion of your own previously submitted work, you must seek prior written approval from your unit coordinator as well as referencing this work. Your unit coordinator may give you guidance on how to reference your own work when you obtain this permission.

Referencing also serves as evidence for your opinions. If you can back up your opinion with credible scholarly evidence, then your opinion in turn will be more credible.

A reference is made up of 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).

The exact form your reference takes depends on the referencing style you use and the type of source you are referencing. This guide explains in more detail how to format a variety of sources in APA 7th style referencing.

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.

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.

American Psychological Association (APA) Style Referencing

APA style referencing is an author-date citation style. The 7th edition is new for this year, so even if you are familiar with APA style, take some time to look at this guide to understand the changes.

This guide is intended for coursework students. Please note that some specific assignment requirements for your units may differ from details provided in this guide. Check your assignment instructions and ask your unit coordinator, as you may be penalised for not conforming.

APA style has been adopted by the majority of courses at ECU. Some courses will follow a different style. Most Law units require adherence to the Australian Guide to Legal Citation referencing style. At postgraduate level, other styles might be preferred in specific disciplines, as advised by your course coordinator or supervisor. See other referencing styles in this guide for details about these other styles.

For help with APA style formatting and grammar guidelines, visit the APA Style website or APA's Academic Writer site:

The 7th edition of the APA Style manual was released in 2020. Some external referencing resources you find (particularly Microsoft Word's referencing function) still use APA 6th style, and have not updated to the current version. There have been significant changes between the two versions, so make sure your references match the examples on this page. If you want to know what's changed, download the What's New in APA 7th? PDF here:

Quick Guide to APA 7th Referencing (PDF)

Quick Guide to APA Referencing at ECU


Here are the definitions to some terms you will encounter in this guide.


Brackets: [ ]

Citation: The in-text reference that gives brief details (author, date, page number) of the source you are quoting or referring to. Citations correspond with the end-text reference in your reference list. 

Direct quotation: Exact words from a source used within your text. 

DOI: digital object identifier. A string of characters that uniquely identifies a particular article, book, data set, etc. A DOI begins with the number 10, and in APA 7th referencing it should be formatted as a URL. For example: (the URL and the non-URL version of any DOI will be the same, so this is equivalent to 10.1109/emr.2019.2914612).

et al.: A Latin term meaning "and others". It is used for works with more than three authors. 

ISBN: International Standard Book number is a unique serial number used to identify a book or ebook.

ISSN: An International Standard Serial Number is a unique serial number used to identify a serial publication. 

Paraphrase: Rewriting someone else's words or ideas in your own words. 

Parentheses: ( )

Plagiarism: Using the words and/or ideas of someone else without acknowledging the source. This can be done knowingly or unknowingly. 

Sentence case: a style of capitalisation used in APA referencing. Most words are lowercase, except: the first word of the title, the first word of any subtitles, proper nouns (e.g. places and people), and acronyms. For example: The future of work: An Australian perspective.

Title case: a style of capitalisation used in APA referencing. Capitalise any major or content words, as well as the first word of the title, the first word of any subtitles, and any word with four or more letters. For example: Hanging Out, Messing Around, Geeking Out: Living and Learning With New Media.

APA Style - Authoritative Sources

Information in this guide is based on:

  • American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

  • APA Style Blog. This blog is the official companion to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, and provides clarification and additional assistance. It's run by a group of experts who work with APA Style every day.
  • Information in the APA database Academic Writer, which has tutorials and referencing templates to help you learn about and format your references in APA 7th style: