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What is referencing?

The act of recording information about the sources used in a piece of work.  Examples include:

A book - Kerven, R. (2011) Arthurian Legends. London, National Trust Books

A journal article - Gerard, C. (2013)  Your UCAS personal statement. The English Review, 23(4), 14-15


Our friends at Aberdeen's Robert Gordon University tell us a bit more about referencing.


Why should I reference?

This is the study skill that fills many students hearts with dread.  Mainly because they don't understand what purpose it serves.  It is an important part of your studies and all lecturers expect it to be done.  In a nutshell, referencing is a method of telling your reader:

  • What you've read
  • Where you found it
  • That your ideas have been inspired by others or supported by others
  • That you have not plagiarised anyone else's ideas


Real life consequences of plagiarising

You won't always be a student, striving for qualifications.  At any point in your life you could become an inventor, performer, author, designer etc. Nothing could be worse than losing your reputation because you've been caught plagiarising or losing earnings because someone else is plagiarising you.

Take a look at these examples:

Raj Persaud
Marvin Gaye

Welsh student (take a look at the German minister clip afterwards and do a bit of research to find out what happened to his political career)


How to use different referencing systems

Different professions use different referencing styles e.g. Lawyers use OSCOLA, psychologists/psychiatrists use APA.  Here at the University of Worcester we believe it makes sense to train our students to use the appropriate style for their future profession.  Take a look at our referencing styles table which provides links to the most popular styles.


The easiest way to create references

There are a range of tools that will help create reference lists for you.  Often all you need is an ISBN number or URL.

Take a look at these online tutorials to help you find a tool that suits you.