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Referencing at ECU

Referencing is a standardised way to give credit to the source of your ideas in your work. 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. You must include a reference for the sources you use even if you rewrite the information in your own words.

Proper referencing 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.

A reference is made up of two parts:

  • a brief citation within the body of your work (in-text citations) each time you use information from the source, and
  • a full reference at the end of the work, chapter, or page (end-text references).

The exact form your reference takes depends on the referencing style you use and the type of source you are referencing. This referencing guide explains in more detail how to format a variety of sources in APA 7th style, which is the most common style used at ECU, and links to some information about other referencing styles you might be asked to use.

In APA style, in-text citations use the author and year of a source to stand for the full end-text reference. All APA style end-text references cited within your work appear in your reference list. For instruction relating to each of these topics, click on the links below or use the side menu navigation.

The APA 7th quick guide provides examples of end-text references for common source types. Use the quick guide in conjunction with this online guide. It is not intended to be the only source of referencing information you consult.

Want to learn more?

Access short introductory videos on the Workshops & Videos page of this guide.

We run real-time workshops on referencing each semester on Joondalup campus, Mount Lawley campus, and online. Most workshops are held in the first weeks of semester, but recordings can be found on the Library Workshops & Events page.

Academic Writer is an official APA resource for reference examples and APA style tutorials. Check out their "Learn" section for instructions on specific aspects of referencing and formatting in APA 7th style.


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. In APA style, direct quotations must be marked with specific formatting and include a page number (or other identifying information if the work has no page numbers) within the in-text citation.

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: