Referencing allows you to distinguish your own ideas from the research you have read so that your lecturers can clearly see your understanding of a topic. References will have 3 components:
Content: This is how you use the information within your work. You may choose to paraphrase, summarise and or quote the source.
Citation: This is the brief reference within the body of your text or in your footnote immediately after the quote or summary. This refers the reader to the reference list.
Reference List: This is the full list of all the sources you have read with all the details to enable your reader to find the source themselves.
A referencing style is a set of rules to guide authors in citing the work of others and creating bibliographies. There are several referencing styles - the golden rule is to be consistent. Your student handbook should provide you with information and guidelines on the style your school or programme requires you to use. Please ask your tutor if you are not sure which style to use.
The main styles used at Plymouth University include variations of the following:
an author and date format (e.g. Plymouth Cite Them Right Harvard or APA)
numbered footnotes (Humanities)
Use the style guides below to see how to reference sources in your required style:
Referencing is an essential part of academic work and helps you demonstrate a number of skills. It is important because:
it demonstrates your own contribution, ideas and understanding of the topic as distinct from the ideas of others
it acknowledges and showcases the literature based research you have done plus demonstrates your understanding of the existing body of research
it enables readers to follow up on your references and respects the intellectual rights of other scholars (avoiding plagiarism)
it demonstrates consistency and attention to detail and can help make your writing more persuasive.
Rather than see referencing as a chore try and view it as an opportunity to make your work more professional and also improve your grade.