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Referencing and Plagiarism

the word reference circled in red


Why should I reference?

Referencing is important in academic writing and an essential part of any of your assignments. It:

  • allows you to acknowledge your sources,
  • gives academic credibility to your work,
  • demonstrates your knowledge of a subject area,
  • prevents accusations of plagiarism.

What is plagiarism?

Definition of plagiarism: the wrongful publication as one's own, of the ideas, or the expression of the ideas of another.


What should I reference?

You should always reference a source when:

  • using a direct quote
  • summarising a theory
  • discussing someone else's opinion
  • using case studies
  • quoting statistics or visual data
  • but not when stating your own opinion, observation or experience.

If you are unsure use this flowchart to check whether you need to reference (click on the image to enlarge).

 flow chart of "Should I cite?"

Referencing Style Guide

The referencing guide for English follows the main conventions of the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA).    

MHRA referencing handbook



RefWorks is referencing software which allows you to:

  • store references
  • organise references
  • generate citations
  • generate reference lists
  • share references

It's available to all staff and students, click here to log in.


To find out more about RefWorks view the comprehensive online help or contact your Academic Subject Librarian.