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Referencing guide at the University of Manchester: Home

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.

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.

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.

Avoiding Plagiarism

The University of Manchester defines plagiarism as:

Presenting the ideas, work or words of other people without proper, clear and unambiguous acknowledgement. It also includes ‘self plagiarism’, which occurs where, for example, you submit work that you have presented for assessment on a previous occasion.

Your academic work should be more than summaries of existing theories and ideas; you will be expected to show evidence of independent thought in your writing.

Our Original thinking allowed: avoiding plagiarism online resource explores some of the issues surrounding academic integrity, and will give you some techniques you can use to avoid plagiarism when referring to the work of others.

For further information on University policy, please read the following:

The University of Manchester (2014) Guidance to students on plagiarism and other forms of academic malpractice [online]

Referencing Drop-in

Ref Man Dropi-in 2-3

My Learning Essentials

Citing it right: introducing referencing
What is referencing, and why do you need to do it? This online resource explores the principles behind referencing, highlighting why it is good academic practice and outlining when and how you need to reference your work.

Better safe than sorry: proofreading your work
Proofreading is a crucial step before submitting any piece of work; it is your opportunity to check that you have answered the question fully, that your writing is clear and easy for the reader to understand, and that there aren't any mistakes or inaccuracies in your work.

This resource explores three vital elements to review when proofreading - flow, clarity and accuracy - and gives you a chance to learn about and apply some techniques to ensure that you check your work properly.

View all workshops and online resources via
My Learning Essentials webpages.

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.

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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.

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 changing times with turbulent war and electrical fascination, but continues on the theme that these changes resulted in people becoming new masters of their domain and the overlords of a world he no longer related to, or understood.

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.

Further help

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