Beginning to reference

What is referencing?

What is Referencing?

When completing an assessment in Higher Education, your own thoughts and ideas should be built upon those of other writers and researchers. It’s essential that you engage with and identify this previous work and that you acknowledge those sources of information by:

  1. Acknowledging the source within the text by citing the author’s surname and date of publication in parentheses (brackets), e.g. (Hall, 2011)
  2. Giving full details of each item in an alphabetical reference list at the end of your assignment

But, why is it important?

The main reasons for referencing are:

  • To demonstrate to the reader and your assessor that you have engaged with a wide range of sources and perspectives
  • To allow the reader and your assessor to find and check the sources you have used
  • To enable the reader to check the accuracy of the information you have given
  • To demonstrate that you have conducted your work with academic integrity and given credit for ideas or thoughts to the original author 
  • For your grades – referencing shows that you have read. For academic work to be considered excellent, it needs to adhere to appropriate referencing conventions throughout. 

 

When do I need to reference?

Quotations from primary or secondary sources

Quoting a primary source is when you wish to use the exact wording used by someone in their own authored work. A secondary source is when an author refers to the work of someone else in their own work, and you don’t have access to the original. It is perfectly acceptable to use secondary sources in APA and in your academic work, but you must make every attempt to find the original in order to see the quote in it’s original context. Secondary sources should be reserved for when you can’t find the original. 


Making use of a statistic

This includes using an exact statistic, even if it just a number, and also summarising or breaking down components of a statistic. 


Paraphrasing or referring to the ideas of a named or identifiable author or organisation

Paraphrasing means putting the ideas of someone else into your own words so that the original essence is still captured, but the wording is amended to suit the context of your usage. Paraphrasing should form the majority of your academic writing, as this a good way of demonstrating critical writing and integration of evidence into your own written work. 


What if something is common knowledge?

For most modules you will not be required to give references for facts that are generally well known (common knowledge). Where facts are contested, and you are taking sides in an argument, you must then indicate the source of your own ideas, and if appropriate acknowledge the opposing camp(s) with references as well. 

See more: Shared Language

In-text citations

Direct quotes

Indirect quotes or paraphrases

Running text citations vs parenthetical citations 

 

Multiple authors & abbreviations

APA has specific conventions to use when citing a source with more than one author or if using an acronym for a corporation i.e. National Health Service (NHS). Consult the table below for specific guidance. This table can also be found in the Official Marjon Guide to APA.

Reference lists

Components of a reference list

A reference list should be included in every assignment you submit, directly after the conclusion and word count. A reference list is included so that your reader can track any sources you’ve used, so each entry will contain four pieces of information:

  • Author details – these will be named individuals or the name of the company/government department responsible for the work
  • Date – typically, this will be the date of publication, but this isn’t always available for online sources, so might be the date the material was last updated or revised. 
  • Title of the work – article or book titles, chapter titles, the name of web page or reports, including subtitles and any information on specific editions or report numbers
  • Source information – publication details such as publisher, place of publication, volume information, web addresses or any other information that allows your reader to identify the source in a huge amount of information 

General rules

  • Each source type has specific requirements for the reference list entry, for example, a journal article will need the title of the article and the publication the article appears in. This is demonstrated below. 
  • APA is very prescriptive with punctuation so make sure you know when to insert a full stop or brackets. See the APA Blog’s Guide to Punctuation 
  • The list needs to be formatted in alphabetical order, with a hanging indent. This can be done with a few clicks of a button; click on the links to find out how to do this in Microsoft Word. 

Types of Source

Key: m = mandatory, i = if available

Please note where there is more than one entry per cell, this is guidance on what to include when the first option isn’t available. For specific queries, please consult the FAQs. 

m/i

m

m

m

i

m

m

Example

Book/eBook

Surname, Initial.

 

(more than one separated by commas, see multiple authors)

(Year of Publication).

Title in italics: Subtitle in italics.

(2nd ed.).

(3rd ed.).

or higher

USA:

City, State abbreviation.

Name of publisher

Pride, W. & Lightyear, B. (2015). How to take care of your toys: The ultimate guide. (3rd ed.). New Orleans, LA: Star Command Press.

Outside USA:

City, Country.

 

m/i

m

m

m

m

i

i

i

i

Example

Journal Article

Surname, Initial.

 

(more than one separated by commas, see multiple authors)

(Year of Publication).

Title of article: Subtitle of article,

Title of Journal,

Volume

(Number),

pp #-#.

DOI

Sullivan, J.P. & Wazowski, M. (2015). Improving human-monster relations: Laughter not fear, Journal of Monster Communication, 2(3), pp 212-224. DOI: 10.XXXXXXX

 

m/i

m

m

m

i

m

Example

Web page

Surname, Initial.

 

or

 

Corporate author

 

 

(Year of Publication).

 

Title of webpage: Subtitle if available

[Format descriptor].

 

(not required for webpages, but blogs etc.)

Retrieved from http://websiteaddressgoesinhere.co.uk

Marine Life Association. (2019). Reuniting clownfish after epic voyages. Retrieved from www.justkeepswimming.au

(Year of Last Update/Revision).

 

Marvin, F. (2017). A father’s journey to find his son [blog]. Retrieved from www.justkeepswimming.au/nemo

If unavailable:

(n.d.)

 

m/i

m

m

m

i

m

Example

Government Report

Title of Government Department

 

(even when names are specified, use the department)

(Year of Publication).

Title of report: Subtitle if included

(Report No. #)

Retrieved from http://websiteaddressgoesinhere.co.uk

Department for the Care of Insects. (2005). Urban bug life (Report No. 32). Retrieved from www.runawaybugcircus.org

 

 

m/i

m

m

m

m

m

Example

Newspaper

Reporter(s) Surname, Initial.

 

 

(Year of publication, month day).

Title of article

Title of Newspaper.

Retrieved from http://websiteaddressgoesinhere.co.uk

McQueen, L. (2009, May 12). Racing favourite blags trophy for the second time. Racing Daily. Retrieved from http://racingdaily.com/article3462425

Name of Newspaper

 

m/i

m

m

m

m

m

m

i

m

m

Example

Chapter in Edited Book

Chapter Author Surname(s), Initial.

(Year of Publication).

Title of chapter: Subtitle if included.

In Initial. Editor Surname(s)

(Eds).

Title of edited book: Subtitle if available

(Edition, Volume, Page numbers)

USA:

City, State abbreviation.

Publisher

Wazowski, M. (2011). Feel the fear and do it anyway. In M. Wazowski & J.P. Sullivan. (Eds). The monster handbook of comedy. (2nd ed., pp. 11-35). Fort Collins, CO: Roz Publishing.

Outside USA:

City, Country.