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Academic Integrity - Referencing, Citation & Avoiding Plagiarism: Referencing & Citation

This guide explains what referencing and citation is and how to use the APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA and Vancouver Styles. It includes links to each style guide.

Why do we need to reference and cite?

References and Citations are required in Academic Writing to

  • respect and acknowledge the thoughts, ideas and creations from other people's work


  • give credibility to the arguments and conclusions in an assignment


  • provide evidence for the ideas and arguments made in an assignment


  • avoid plagiarising or representing another person's work as your own


  • let others trace the sources and materials used to create your work*


*IMPORTANT NOTE: By including a reference list with information such as Book Title, Publisher, Publication Date, Journal Title, Website address etc., you are allowing your readers examine the evidence used in your assignment and read more about the topic.

What is referencing and citation?

Citing is the process of including details of your sources within the text of your assignment. This is also known as in-text citation.

Example of an in-text citation (Harvard Style)

Thinking critically (Cottrell, 2005) is a key skill to develop at University. It involves acquiring the skill to be able to read academic information and arguments while assessing their validity (Cottrell, 2003). When thinking critically a person needs to identify the main argument of a piece, the evidence the argument is based on, and identify any assumptions that have been made in making the argument (Moore, 2010). Understanding bias and being able to weigh the evidence presented is an essential element to critical thinking (McMillan and Weyers, 2013).

Referencing is the process of acknowledging in detail all the information sources (books, journal articles, images, data, webpages etc.) that you have used in completing an assignment. References form a list with full details of sources placed at the end of an assignment or paper.

Example of a reference list (Harvard Style):

Cottrell, S. (2003) The study skills handbook. Palgrave study guides 2nd edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Cottrell, S. (2005) Critical thinking skills : developing effective analysis and argument. Palgrave study guides Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

McMillan, K. and Weyers, J. D. B. (2013) How to cite, reference & avoid plagiarism at university Harlow: Pearson.

Moore, S. (2010) The ultimate study skills handbook. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill/Open University Press.


Tutorials: basic introductions to each style

For an introduction to your discipline's style look at one of our tutorials here.

For a detailed look, check out the pages on the top of this guide.

The How and Why of referencing - UCD Writing Centre