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University of Newcastle Library guides

Referencing:  Learn about referencing

Guide to referencing styles for students and researchers

Basics of Referencing

Academic writing, using information sources and referencing

When writing assignments you will use ideas, theories, word-for-word quotations, facts and figures, as well as illustrations and even diagrams that are not your own.

These ideas etc will originate from numerous sources, including;

  • books,
  • articles from journals or newspapers and
  • websites and other online resources.

These sources of information which you used must be acknowledged, i.e. referenced or cited.

As well as specific direct quotations, your references must also cover must the ideas and theories that you mentioned or relied upon.

Referencing shows what sources you have used and gives credit to the original authors, it allows readers to find the original source to check it or follow up a point. By referencing your information sources you are practising Academic Integrity. For the University's Policy on Academic Integrity see the UoN Student Academic Integrity Policy.

Correct referencing helps you avoid plagiarism. For more on plagiarism see the Infoskills tutorial on Writing and Plagiarism.

Referencing Styles are used to cite the details which clearly identify your information source; i.e., author, date, title, edition, volume, pages, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), URL, etc.

Each Style usually has its own Style Manual. There are many different styles of citing and referencing, such as APA, Harvard, Chicago, Vancouver, AGLC, etc.

Why is referencing necessary?


University study, writing and/or research requires the constant use of diverse and relevant information sources.

Such information sources will include (but not be limited to):

textbooks reference books
(print & online)
journal articles
(print & online)
lectures & course material
laws, regulations
& government reports
web pages conference papers statistics &

The type of information used might be;

quotations ideas or concepts
background &/or historical materials statistics
definitions theories
experimental data images, illustrations, or pictures
equations, charts or graphs music (lyrics &/or musical phrases)


All sources of information (of whatever type) used in or relied upon for Assignments, Essays, Tutorials, Seminars, Presentations, Lab Reports, Group Work, etc., must be identified in full, and in a clear, accurate and consistent manner.

This is known as referencing (or citing).

When you identify all your sources of information you are acting with academic integrity.

Academic integrity is founded on the principles of;

  • respect for knowledge,
  • truthfulness,
  • scholarship and
  • honesty.

The University of Newcastle values academic integrity very highly. The Student Academic Integrity Policy states:

“Academic integrity, honesty, and a respect for knowledge, truth and ethical practices are fundamental to the business of the University. These principles are at the core of all academic endeavour in teaching, learning and research. Dishonest practices contravene academic values, compromise the integrity of research and devalue the quality of learning.”

View the full Student Academic Integrity Policy.

Referencing styles

You must reference your information sources (i.e. identify the sources of any ideas, quotes, statistics, or other materials you have used or relied upon in your work). To do this, you use a referencing style. There are many different styles and each has its own style manual.


What do referencing 'style manuals' do?

Style manuals list rules on the content (or elements) of your references as well as the layout (i.e. the formatting, capitalisation, indentation, punctuation, etc) of references. They also include examples of how to arrange and present your in-text references (author-date or footnotes) and reference list (also known as a bibliography).


Which referencing style do I choose?

There are many different styles of referencing. Use the style which your School or Faculty specifies. Common styles used here at UON are indexed on the left of this page.

Referencing style manuals


The following are print editions of selected style manuals. Some styles may have complete manuals available online - check the page for the style you need for further information and links.


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Elements of a Citation

Elements of a reference


UON Library guide to referencing

A tutorial about what
referencing is and how to
get started.

Ask The Library

Ask The Library