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Study Skills: Referencing

What is Referencing?

Referencing is the process of acknowledging other people's work when you have used it in your assignment or research. It allows the reader to verify the validity of your arguments. Referencing provides the link between what you write and the evidence on which it is based. 

There are two parts to referencing:

1. Citations or in-text citations in the main text of your assignment.

2. A reference list at the end of your assignment.

What is Plagiarism?

Using someone else's words or ideas without citing or referencing them is plagiarism and is a very serious academic offence (Pears and Shield, 2016, p. 4).

Plagiarism includes:

  • Presenting any part of someone else's work as your own
  • Copying information word-for-word (without quotation marks)
  • Paraphrasing or summarising ideas without acknowledging where you got them
  • 'Recycling' a piece of your own work
  • Citing and referencing sources that you have not used.

To avoid plagiarism, you must reference all of the sources of your ideas and information. Ask library staff for help referencing different sources.

The college uses the software Turnitin which can detect plagiarism in students' work. 

Referencing Styles

A referencing style is a set of rules that specify how to reference different sources of information e.g. books, articles, websites etc.

Check with your tutor if you aren't sure which referencing style you should use for your assignments.


Manchester Metropolitan University



If your HE course is validated by Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) use their MMU Harvard referencing style. 


Sheffield Hallam University



If your course is validated by Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), check whether your tutor wants you to use APA or Harvard referencing.


University of Huddersfield



If your HE course is validated by Huddersfield University use their APA 6th referencing guide.

If you are using referencing management software to help with formatting your references, do check your references against the examples provided in your referencing style guide. 

Referencing Tools

Online referencing tools help you manage referencing, cite references in your work and create bibliographies.  

You can access basic features without buying the full packages. 

Book a skills session

Book a library skills session to learn:

  • how to find information for assignments and exams
  • how to search for books, ebooks, academic journal articles and more
  • how to reference and avoid plagiarism

Ask in the library or click here to book online.