What is referencing and why do I need to do it?

Referencing is a crucial part of academic writing. Referencing demonstrates your academic development and establishes authority, allowing you to support claims in your discussion.  It is very important to learn how to reference, not only to avoid plagiarism, but it allows the reader to track what you've read and your understanding of it.

There are two parts to referencing:

NOTE: every in-text citation should have a corresponding entry in the reference list. That way, the reader sees your citation in text, and can then go direct to your reference list to find the rest of the details of that item.

The main referencing styles used at Abertay are:

Referencing tools

There are lots of referencing tools available that will help format your references for you. Simple citation tools include:

  • the citation tool which is part of LibrarySearch
  • the citation tool which is part of Google Scholar
These simple tools are commonly used, but remember:
  • there's no guarantee the reference produced will be complete or accurate. Always check your referencing before submitting your work to ensure all the relevant parts of the reference have been included, in the right order, and formatted correctly.
  • if you're using Harvard, not every referencing tool will format according to Cite Them Right Harvard which is the version we use at Abertay. Again, check and edit your references before submitting your work.

Abertay supports RefWorks, by far the more sophisticated and reliable referencing tool. We run regular workshops on how to use RefWorks, or ask at one of our drop-ins.

Help with referencing

We can help you get to grips with referencing through online support, classes and drop-ins.