Referencing is used to accurately indicate the source of information which is cited or discussed in your work and gives the precise location of anything quoted.


Referencing is a method used to accurately indicate the source of information or ideas which are cited or discussed in your work. It also gives the precise location of anything quoted.

The Library offers more information about referencing.

Why do we reference?

  • To incorporate a source that supports your work.
  • To demonstrate scholarly and critical familiarity with the field of study.
  • To enable readers to find the original source of the reference.
  • To demonstrate differences in the approaches or findings of previous researchers.
  • To avoid plagiarism by indicating the origin of an idea, information or actual text that has been used.

What do we reference?

  • Any quoted text - direct quotations must be indicated using quotation marks (short quotes) or indented paragraphs (longer passages).
  • Any idea or information (paraphrased or summarised) from a source which is not common knowledge.

Different systems of referencing

There are two main systems of referencing: author-date and traditional footnotes/endnotes. There are many variations of these systems. A style manual will show you how to use the referencing system required.

What is a style manual?

Style manuals are referencing guides that list rules on layout, font and structure for a source. They also include examples of how to format in-text references, endnotes/footnotes and the bibliography. Find the style manual relevant to your course.

What is an 'in-text' reference?

In-text referencing is when you acknowledge the source of your information or ideas within the text of your work. Here's an example, using APA style:

The imposition of western-style education on traditional societies has been labelled assimilationist (Christie, 1985)


Christie (1985) believes that the imposition of western –style education on traditional societies is assimilationist.

What is a bibliography?

A bibliography is an alphabetical list of all the sources used or referred to in the text of your assignment. Here's an example, using APA style:

Christie, M (1985).  per cent Aboriginal perspectives on experience and learning: The role of language in Aboriginal learning. Geelong, Australia: Deakin Press

What is a reference list?

A reference list includes only the references that you have cited in your assignment. A reference list is placed on a separate page and listed alphabetically at the end of your assignment.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography which includes a summary paragraph, or annotation, for each source listed in the bibliography. These annotations summarise such things as the main idea, findings, methodology and conclusions of the source.

How do I reference?

  • Find out which referencing style is used for your course.
  • As you research keep a full bibliographical account of the text you are using. This will make in-text referencing and writing your bibliography much easier.
  • Find a copy of the style manual relevant to your course and use it to record your in - text citations and bibliography. Remember, it is essential to use the exact format as shown in the style manual.
  • Complete in-text referencing as you write your essay.
  • Complete your reference list or bibliography once you have completed your essay.
  • Check and edit your referencing before you submit your work.