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What is referencing?

Referencing is a vital part of the academic writing process. It allows you to:

  • acknowledge the contribution that other authors have made to the development of your arguments and concepts.
  • inform your readers of the sources of quotations, theories, datasets etc that you've referred to, and enable them to find the sources quickly and easily themselves.
  • demonstrate that you have understood particular concepts proposed by other writers while developing your own ideas.
  • provide evidence of the depth and breadth of your own reading on a subject.

Academic malpractice

What is a reference list?

This is your list of all the sources that have been cited in the text of your work. The reference list includes all the books, e-books, journals, websites etc. in one list at the end of your document.

What is a bibliography?

The bibliography includes items which you have consulted for your work but not cited in the main body of your text. The list should appear at the end of your piece of work after the list of references. This demonstrates to the reader (examiner) the unused research you carried out.

Always check with your School if you need to produce a bibliography.

Word count and referencing

Generally, the word count of your work will include everything that is in the main text (citations, quotes, tables, lists etc) but will not include what is in the reference list/bibliiography.

As always, you need to check the referencing advice given in your course handbook usually found in your Blackboard space, as rules can change from school to school.

Citing

Whenever you quote, paraphrase or make use of another person’s work in your own writing, you must indicate this in the body of your work (a citation) and provide full details of the source in a reference list (all the sources you have referred to directly in your work) or a bibliography (all the sources you have read in the course of your research, not just those you have cited).   

Your reference list should include details of all the books, journal articles, websites and any other material you have used.

You do not need to reference:

  • your own ideas and observations
  • information regarded as ‘common knowledge’
  • your conclusions (where you are pulling together ideas already discussed and cited in the main body of your work).

Understanding when to cite references is an important part of your academic progression.


The way that you cite references will depend on the referencing style you are using. There are many different referencing styles and you must ensure that you are following the appropriate style when submitting your work.

Citing it right: introducing referencing - is a MLE resource that explores the principles behind referencing, highlighting why it is good academic practice.

Check with your course handbook or supervisor to be sure that you are following the specific guidelines required by your school.

Commonly used referencing styles at The University of Manchester include Harvard, APA, MHLA, MLA and Vancouver.

These referencing pages will provide you with a useful introduction to the principles of referencing in various styles.

There are cases when an author discusses the research of another author in their work. When you are unable to track down the original research document you can cite them as a secondary source. In the citation include the (primary) source and where it was cited (secondary).

In Harvard style:

In-text citation:

Use either 'quoted in' or 'cited in' depending on the included detail.

 Anderton places the importance of taste squarely at the feet of the regurgitated... (2016, cited in Stevenson, 2017).

"It is the regurgitated that I lay complete blame"... (2016, quoted in Stevenson, 2017).

For referencing purposes, only include the research you did consult because you did not read the original document and are taking any inference on the work from that author.

Reference:

Stevenson, M. (2017). The genius in action: tales from the reference world, Oxford University Press: Oxford.

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Referencing Drop-in

Drop-in: Reference Management Fridays: 2-3pm, Main Library on Blue ground Ask any questions you have regarding referencing and reference management software Open to all students and staff

Start to finish: Referencing

This set of resources will show you how to reference different types of sources in your assignments. It will help you to cite, paraphrase and manage your references using tools such as EndNote and Mendeley.

My Learning Essentials

My Learning Essentials is the Library’s programme of skills support, including both online resources and face-to-face workshops to help you in your personal and professional development. Workshops offer a relaxed group environment where you can try out new strategies while learning from and with peers. The online resources cover everything from referencing, to managing your procrastination, to writing a CV and you can access them through the Library website from wherever you are, whenever you need to!

Further help

Quote, paraphrase and summarise

There are several ways in which you may want to utilise other people’s ideas in order to add substance to your work. The most common ways to accomplish this are to quote, paraphrase or summarise.

Quotations

When using quotations, remember to make sure they are relevant and thoughtfully used. Short and direct quotations provide the most succinct and direct way of conveying the ideas of others in support of your work.

  • Use single quotation marks to indicate direct quotations and the definition of words.
  • In quoted passages follow the original spelling, punctuation etc.
  • Short quotations (usually less than 40 words) should be enclosed in single quotation marks (‘…’) and be part of the main text.
  • Longer quotations should start on a separate line not italicised, with no quotation marks, and indented throughout.
  • Double quotation marks (“…”) are used for a quote within a quote.

It is worth remembering that direct quotations count as part of your overall word count and excessive use can affect the flow of your work when reading.

Example:

'… a course of action was instigated in order to support the use of quotations for the students and staff of the University of Manchester.' (Anderton, 2017)

Longer quotations should form their own paragraphs and be indented. Quotation marks are not a prerequisite when paragraphs and indentation are used.

Example:

Anderton describes the changes in societal landscape in his own inimitable way:  

In a time of turbulent war and electrical fascination, rise a group of people with a different ideology to what had previously been commonplace. They became the new masters of their domain and the overlords of a world I no longer related to, nor understood. (Anderton, 2017, p. 1)

Non-English quotations should follow the same rules but always be displayed in the original source language.

Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is the expression of someone else’s thoughts or ideas in your own words. One of the benefits of this is that you can better describe the intentions of the author and your understanding, while maintaining your own writing style.

Although this is a way of manipulating text, you must not betray the original meaning of the author you are paraphrasing.

Example:

Original Text:

In a time of turbulent war and electrical fascination, rise a group of people with a different ideology to what had previously been commonplace. They became the new masters of their domain and the overlords of a world I no longer related to, nor understood. (Anderton, 2017, p. 1)

Paraphrased:

Anderton (2017, p. 1) discusses the turbulence of this era of war and the new onset of electrical fascination, he continues on the theme that these changes resulted in people becoming the owners of this new domain acting as overlords of a world he no could no longer fathom.

Summarising

When summarising, you condense in your own words the relevant points from materials such as books, articles, webpages etc.

Example:

Original Text:

In a time of turbulent war and electrical fascination, rise a group of people with a different ideology to what had previously been commonplace. They became the new masters of their domain and the overlords of a world I no longer related to, nor understood. (Anderton, 2017, p. 1)

Summarised:

Anderton (2017, p. 1) promulgates his feelings in relation to the turbulence of war and man's changing ideologies and his disenfranchised view of this new world landscape.

Disclaimer

The information contained within these pages is intended as a general referencing guideline.

Please check with your supervisor to ensure that you are following the specific guidelines required by your school.

Creative Commons Licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence.

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