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Referencing - Resources for Students

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


What's it all about?

Referencing is an essential component of academic writing and a key purpose of it is to help you to distinguish your own ideas from those gained from external sources.

The resources in this learning area for students include a website offering an overview of the principles and practice of referencing sources, and advice on avoiding plagiarism.

Over the last three years, the website has attracted a total of over 8,000 visitors and it includes examples of referencing in action in a range of common referencing styles, a 'Frequently Asked Questions' section, and four interactive exercises.

htmlicon.gifClick here to access the Referencing Website.

Assess your skills

Test your knowledge of referencing – there are four short exercises for you to try.

docicon.gifClick here.




Top 3 activities

Essay: ‘What’s the point of referencing?’

You can read an essay submitted by a UK higher education student for an essay writing competition sponsored by LearnHigher. The set title was ‘What is the point of referencing?’ and there was a maximum word limit of 1,500 words.

The essay is a good example of how academic writers can integrate their own views and experiences into an essay alongside referenced evidence from external sources.

The essay is accompanied with tutor comment.

docicon.gifClick here.

‘What is plagiarism?’

powerpointicon.gifTry this short interactive exercise to see if you can identify what is – and is not – plagiarism in academic writing.

‘References and Bibliographies’ (booklet)

pdficon.gifThis booklet has been described by the University of Kent as an "Excellent general guide to references and bibliographies. It follows Harvard. This is extremely detailed, with very clear examples”.



Further activities and resources

Advanced Referencing

If you are already fairly experienced with referencing in assignments, you could test your knowledge on Advanced Referencing’ with this exercise. 

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Need to find out more? ...

Journal and books

htmlicon.gifRead online one or more chapters from the first edition of ‘The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism’ by Colin Neville, published by The Open University Press. 

The book was written as part of this LearnHigher project and went into a second edition in 2010.

Useful websites

htmlicon.gif Link 1:  University of Leicester: 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 Link 2: The University of Leeds:  has a comprehensive guide to referencing in the Harvard, Numeric & MHRA styles, plus a useful FAQ guide to common referencing questions.

htmlicon.gif Link 3: The University of Southampton has a referencing site that connects with information on seven referencing styles, including Harvard, APA, Vancouver, MLA & MHRA.