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Citing & Referencing: Introduction

This guide covers the basics of citing & referencing, includes a collection of links to different styles, and discusses plagiarism, what it is, and how to avoid it.

The basic principles of citation and referencing

You must refer to all sources you quote or paraphrase within your document, and this is known as citing.  You should always briefly cite the sources you use in your work within the text of your paper as this will refer your reader to your reference list or bibliography where you will provide the extended details of the source. 

If you use the words of another author, you must always use quotation marks to indicate that these words are not your own and you must acknowledge the source, including the page number in your brief in-text citation.

If you express another author’s ideas in your own words, this is called paraphrasing and you must still acknowledge the source of the idea.

The Reference list is usually placed at the end of a text (essay or chapter).  It contains the list of citations for sources that you have cited within your text.

The Bibliography is placed at the end of your work and comprises the complete list of all references you consulted in preparing the document, whether you cited them in your text or not.  It can also include titles useful as background reading.


Two key citation examples

The content of a reference depends on the format of the source being cited. Here are a couple of key examples of reference list entries from our Harvard style guide. Spot the differences; why do you think these are important?


Interactive tutorial

Check out the following based interactive tutorial on Citation and Referencing by the Ireland-based All Aboard project (click on the image). Complete the tutorial, do well on the quiz at the end and you will earn a digital badge!

From the print collection

Reference Management Software

One of the key challenges of managing your references, is keeping track of them all in an orderly way. Thankfully, there are software tools available to assist with collating and managing references effectively. Many of these products will also help to format your references as you are writing.

Click on the appropriate tab to find out more about the software that is of interest to you.