How to reference

Your referencing requirements

when you've finished this page you will be able to...


There are many different referencing styles and the style you use will depend on your subject; for example, the APA system is widely used in psychology, and the MLA system is often used in literature and linguistics. University departments and individual academics often have their own preferred styles too. It's important that you find out which style you'll be expected to use - correct referencing is a 'big deal' in the academic world.

The author-date system (Harvard system) is popular, as is the author-number system. Individual universities sometimes have their own adapted versions of popular referencing styles.

Activity: your referencing requirements - 10 minutes

It's up to you to find out which style of referencing you're expected to use, and how to use it; this activity will get you thinking about how to do this.

1. Find out which referencing style you'll be expected to use in your written assignments. Your study guide is a good place to look, but if it doesn't tell you, go and ask your tutor.

2. You'll need to make sure the referencing requirements are the same for every written assignment, as some tutors may have a preference for a different system. Again, look through your study guide to see if the referencing requirements vary between assignments.

3. Once you know which system you'll be using, go and find a style guide for this system. Your study guide may have one, but if not, enquire at the library or search the internet.

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