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Referencing - Resources for Staff

The resources included on this page are designed to help you assess and develop your students' referencing skills.

Resources for tutors

This resource provides suggestions and practical help for those delivering student workshops/classroom activities. Click on the image to access the resource.

docicon.gifYou can access a worksheet with four referencing exercises that can be used with your students. There is an 'answers and comments' section toward the end of the worksheet.

You may also find the following resources helpful:

docicon.gif(a) Staff development exercises worksheet:  this can be used to generate discussion among teaching and learning development staff on issues relating to why reference, referencing styles, when to reference, and on issues relating to plagiarism. Comments on the issues raised by questions in the worksheet can be found in the ‘Notes for facilitators’ (see below).

docicon.gif(b) Notes for facilitators:  this can be used by any facilitator of group discussion on the issues raised in the above worksheet.   The exercises can be completed and useful discussion generated in a short staff development period (60-90 minutes).

docicon.gif(c) The Challenge of Referencing: this is a 5,000 word article that raises four key issues on referencing that concern both staff and students.  It can be used in association with the staff development exercises worksheet and can be read as a follow-up to discussion raised in any staff development session.

pdficon.gif(d)  'Does an insistence on detailed and ‘correct’ referencing inhibit students from thinking for themselves?':  an article by Dr. Peter Levin, educationalist and author of 'Making Social Policy' (1997), 'Write Great Essays!' (2004, second edition in press)  and 'Excellent Dissertations!' (2005), all published by Open University Press.

Video resources 

To access full range of video tutor resources for tutors, including referencing, click here.

Theoretical underpinning

Literature review

docicon.gifAn annotated bibliography has been prepared to help any member of staff or student who is interested in pursuing research related to the principles and practice of referencing. 


docicon.gifThis research report presents the perceptions of 278 students, from 14 UK institutions of higher education, on the roles of referencing in academic writing, the referencing problems they encountered, and the implications for staff development.  It was presented and discussed at the 'Referencing and Writing' Symposium, 8th June 2009, University of Bradford.

Activities for students to use independently

htmlicon.gifReferencing website: this website has been designed and developed for LearnHigher. The site includes an overview of the main referencing styles found within UK higher education institutions, four referencing or plagiarism related exercises, a FAQ section, plus links to other sites. A unique feature of the site is that users can post a question on the FAQ site, if this proves necessary. 

Supporting information


htmlicon.gif(1) The Student Learning Centre at the University of Leicester has developed an interactive online tutorial to help students understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it. Since its development for Biological Sciences students a little over 12 months ago, it has been adapted for 10 other disciplines, including Geology, History, Law and Medicine. To see the full list of versions and to view the tutorial:

htmlicon.gif(2) The University of Bradford Effective Learning Service website has a very detailed booklet on referencing, plus an interactive quiz on plagiarism.

htmlicon.gif(3) The University of Leeds has a comprehensive guide to referencing in the Harvard, Numeric and MHRA styles, plus a useful FAQ guide to common referencing questions.

htmlicon.gif(4) The University of Southampton has a referencing site that connects with information on seven referencing styles, including Harvard, APA, Vancouver, MLA and MHRA.