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Assignments: Referencing & Plagiarism

Plagiarism & Referencing

Why reference? What is plagiarism?
When you are writing an assignment, report or essay, your own thoughts and ideas inevitably build on those of others. It is essential that you acknowledge your debt to the sources of data, research and ideas on which you have drawn by including references to, and full details of, these sources in your writing. Referencing allows your reader to
  • Distinguish your own ideas and findings from those you have drawn from in the work of others.
  • To follow up the ideas or facts you have referred to.
What information do you need?
You need the full publication details of the books, articles, websites etc that you use in your writing. These details can include the:
  • Authors(s) surname(s) and initial(s)
  • Date of publication
  • Title
  • Name of the journal and volume number
  • Chapter title
  • Chapter or journal page numbers
  • Editor(s) surname(s) and initials(s)
  • Publisher and place of publication (not the printer)
  • Page number of exact quotes or paraphrased material
When do you need to use references?
Your source of information should be acknowledged every time the point that you make, or the data or other information that you use, is substantially that of another writer and not your own.

Referencing styles:
There are many different referencing styles. Each department or teacher will have their preferred format. A common style is the author/date or ‘Harvard’ system. Once you understand the principles that are common to all referencing systems you will be able to apply different styles.

Author/Date or Harvard Style:
This referencing style consists of two parts.

  • Very brief details about your source of information are included in the main body of your assignment or essay. This reference is called an in-text citation or just a citation.
  • Full reference details about your source of information are provided in a reference list or bibliography. This goes at the end of your assignment or essay.  

In-text references/citations:
The citation you use in the main body of your writing includes the surname(s) of the author(s), the date of publication and the page number in brackets eg

  • The seminars that are often a part of business courses can provide valuable opportunities for students to develop skills that are valued by employers (Lyon, 2012, p.7).
  • Bruce Lyon (2012, p.7) argues that seminars provide valuable opportunities for students to develop skills that are valued by employers.

Reference list:
Every citation that appears in your writing must have an entry in your reference list. This provides the full publication details of the sources of information you use. The list is arranged in alphabetical order by author or title if there isn’t an author. This list goes at the end of your writing. It is important that your punctuation and formatting are consistent. Please refer to referencing guides for further information.      

 [The information above is based on OER resources provided by the University of Leicester]


Want to practice your referencing skills?

The Library has created a step by step tutorial to help you practice your referencing skills in the Harvard or Author/Date style. The tutorial is anonymous and isn't marked. It is designed to explain the basics and show you some tips and tricks. Click the link to start the tutorial or keep reading below to find more information about referencing plus links to helpful handouts, generators and apps.

Start our referencing tutorial now!

Help with Referencing links