Sources & Referencing

Using Sources Effectively

Students we work with are quite often concerned about how they should use academic sources (information and ideas from their reading material) in their writing. We often find the best way to help is to talk about why academic writing tends to use so many sources, why referencing is important and how different types of references can be used to different effect.

The guides in this section give you some ideas to help with the following:

  • Thinking of referencing as participating in an academic conversation (pdf.)
  • Integrating source material within your own work: Making other people's ideas work for you (pdf.)

Getting Referencing Right

You will probably come across several different styles of referencing as you read academic texts. Some styles are more commonly used in different disciplines and by different publishers. However, your department may well have a preference for which style you should use, and it is your job to check this.

We recommend that you:

1.   Check your department and/or module handbooks for any referencing guidelines

2.   If no guidelines are given, ask your tutor or lecturer for the name of the appropriate referencing style

3.   Once you know which referencing style you are expected to use, visit the Referencing Information provided by the Library on QMplus. If you can’t find the relevant information there, a simple Google search will help you access the most up-to-date guidelines about any particular style.

N.B. The Library referencing information is part of a QMPlus module on Information Literary Skills. You may find it helpful to look through this in its entirety. 

Cite Them Right Online

Cite Them Right Online is a tool that will help you understand how to reference just about any source and how to avoid plagiarism. It will show you how to reference a book, journal article, website etc, using common referencing styles. It also gives you general guidance on each of these styles, as well as information on creating your bibliogaphy. If you're reading this on campus click here. If you're off campus, click here