Referencing and citations skills

The most important thing when citing and referencing is to be consistent.

What are Citation & Referencing?

CITATION is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, such as:

  • information about the author
  • the name and location of the source
  • the date
  • the page numbers of the material you are citing

REFERENCING is used to acknowledge the books, journal articles and other sources of information that you use when writing a paper. This is done by briefly referring to (citing) the sources of information in the text of your work, and by producing a corresponding, alphabetical list of references (or a bibliography) at the end of your work.

Why Do It?

  • Acknowledged your sources of information
  • Read around the subject
  • Taken on board related research
  • Explored others’ opinions
  • Checked your facts
  • Substantiated your arguments
  • Contribute to the impact of the research
  • Come to your own conclusions

When Do I Reference?

  • Whenever you use QUOTES: using the words/phrases exactly as they appear. You should enclose the words/phrases in quotation marks “ ”.
  • Whenever you PARAPHRASE: using the ideas from the cited source but writing in different words, the content is unchanged.
  • Whenever you SUMMARIZE: expressing the main points in your own words, the content is unchanged.
  • Whenever you use an idea that someone else has already expressed

How Do I Reference?

To reference properly, you need to have:

  • In-text citation within the text of your work to distinguish another person’s ideas from your own. It often includes the author’s name, year of publication and page number if any.

Eg: Straus agrees with this, saying that scholars have presented the Rwandan genocide as “a state-organised, planned extermination campaign” (Straus 2004, p.86)

  • Full reference provides readers the complete information to identify the source. This is the reference list at the end of your work and contains the complete list of materials you have used.

Eg: Straus, S. (2004) ‘How many perpetrators were there in the Rwandan genocide? An estimate’. Journal of Genocidal Research, (6)1, pp. 85-98.

Citation Styles

There are various citation styles,and normally fall into two categories:

  • Name and date, e.g. APA, Harward – the author’s name and date are put in the parentheses in the in-text citation, eg. (Bundy, 2004), and a separate list of the sources cited alphabetically by author at the end of the paper.
  • Numeric, e.g. Chicago, IEEE, MHRA – the in-text citation consists of a number that links to the footnotes, eg. [1]. At the end, there is a full bibliography.

Please choose suitable style that matches your faculty’s requirements.

Managing References

Citation management software helps to:citation

  • organize references, PDFs, and images
  • take notes and give tags on references and PDFs
  • format bibliographies and in-text citations in a number of citations styles
  • share references and collaborate on projects with colleagues/friends

You can consider to choose the appropriate software that suits to your need.

We encourage you (VGU students) to use ZOTERO for managing references

Sample  References

(from Curtin library)


Plagiarism is cheating and can be defined as “to copy (ideas, passages of text, etc) from someone else’s work and use them as if they were one’s own” (Chambers 21st Century Dictionary, 1999). It is a serious offence whether it is accidental and unintentional use. To avoid plagiarism, the sources you use and refer to must be properly cited and referenced.

You can get more information via this interesting Plagiarism video


Copyright is an Intellectual Property Right along with Trade Marks, Patents and Designs. Copyright gives economic and moral rights to the creators of works, and provides a legal framework for such works to be used fairly by others.

  • Copyright owners have rights to take legal action against users who violate the copyright.
  • Heavy penalties from the court will be applied to users who offend against the copyright materials, namely changing the content of the materials, reproducing the materials, delivering the materials to the Internet and converting the materials to other forms. If you wish to do any of these, please obtaining the permission from the authors.