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  3. Citing and Referencing
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Citing and Referencing

What is citing and referencing?

Citing and referencing is the way in which you provide details of quotations, arguments and ideas of others that you mention in your work.


Citing is when you refer to a source in your assignment in the body of your essay. This citation will correspond to a list at the end of your essay. Include the author of the source you are citing and the year it was published.


Referencing is the full bibliographic details of the source cited in the main body of your essay that is included at the end of your assignment. It is organised in alphabetical order according to author. You may be asked to include either a reference list or a bibliography. A reference list is only sources referred to and cited in your assignment. A bibliography is all the sources you have used to help you research your assignment. This includes those which you have cited and those which are additional reading that you did not in the end refer to, but may have assisted your understanding of the subject.

Why is citing and referencing important?

Some of the reasons why it is important to Cite and Reference the sources you’ve used are listed below:

  • It shows exactly what you have been reading, viewing or listening to and how comprehensive you’ve been in your research.
  • It allows whoever is reading your work to see quickly and easily where to find the information you are referring to, in case they want to read any of your sources themselves.
  • It underlines the fact that you have been spending your time researching the subject thoroughly.
  • You are able to present a reasoned case of your own, supported by the theories of others.
  • You have demonstrated good research by discussing the theories of others against your own ideas, which can improve your marks.
  • You can make sure the ideas and thoughts you’ve presented and commented on are attributed appropriately.
  • If quotes or thoughts or ideas haven’t been attributed properly, you could be open to accusation of academic misconduct.

Always check your student handbook or with your lecturer to find out which style you should be using for your citing and referencing.

Harvard Citing and Referencing Guides for your School

Guides to the Harvard style of Citing and Referencing have been created by Learning and Research Support Co-ordinators in liaison with your School for the following Schools:

  • School of Arts
  • School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Need some more help?

You can find more advice on Citing and Referencing by: