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MBA Student Guide: Reference


Referencing 101

A reference (or citation) is a way of:

  • Acknowledging when you've used ideas or information from other sources
  • Giving your readers the information they need to find and read the source for themselves

The sources that you use must be acknowledged. Referencing is a two-part process and includes:

  1. using in-text citations within the body of your assignment (some referencing styles use footnotes as part of this)
  2. compiling a reference list at the end of your assignment

All of the sources you use in your assignment must be included both as in-text citations and in your reference list.

To reference (or cite) a source, you need  four pieces of information: who wrote it, when was it published, what it is, and where you found it.

This information will look slightly different depending on the type of source you're trying to reference (e.g. book/eBook, a chapter from an edited book, journal article, web page, online document, etc.).

Correct referencing ensures that:

  • You avoid plagiarism ( which is using others' work or ideas without giving credit)
  • Others can find, read and evaluate your sources - and judge your interpretation of these sources
  • You demonstrate that you have thoroughly researched your topic
  • You get better marks!

Referencing is compulsory for many assignments, so it's an important skill to develop.

A referencing style tells you how to correctly acknowledge the sources that you use in your assignments. 

There are two kinds of referencing styles: author-date styles and numbered styles.

Each style has its own referencing style guide which sets out the formatting rules of the style with examples of how this should look.

It's a good idea to have the relevant referencing style guide open on your computer while you write your assignment so that you can check (and triple check!) the formatting for your in-text citations and reference list.

Pay particular attention to indents, capitalisation, punctuation, links, itallics, and the order in which the information in your citations must be presented.

  1. Look at the source you want to cite and make sure that you've recorded who wrote it (author/s), when it was published (date), what the title is, and how you accessed it (publisher/DOI/link). Take note of this information as you do your research and reading for your assignment.
  2. What referencing style is used in your course? This information will usually be in your assignment documents or course outline. If you're unsure, ask your lecturer.
  3. Access the relevant referencing style guide on the library website.
  4. What kind of source are you trying to reference (e.g. book/eBook, journal article, webpage etc)? Look at the format examples, worked examples and general rules for the type of source you want to reference. Can you apply this format to the source you're trying to reference?
  5. If you get stuck, you can Book a Librarian appointment. NOTE: we can help you to understand how to reference, but we can't check your referencing or do if for you.


Always check with your lecturer to confirm what referencing style is used in your course as different styles are favoured by different disciplines.

Click on the icon to view the APA7 referencing style, or take a look at the Library's Referencing Guides for links to other common styles. 

Academic Intergrity

Academic integrity, honesty, and a respect for knowledge, truth and ethical practices are fundamental to the business of the University.”

To act with academic integrity, you need to avoid academic misconduct such as fraud, cheating or plagiarism.

If you are having trouble with an assessment, you should contact your course coordinator. Get in touch with them early so that they are better able to assist you.

Using reputable information resources and referencing is an important part of academic integrity. You can use the library resources to help you with finding information and referencing correctly.

To get assistance, ask the Library.

Referencing for Presentations

To cite your sources in a PowerPoint presentation, you can put in-text citations on your slides; include your reference list at the end of your presentation (just as you would with an essay or report).

You can mention these references as you present your slides. The important thing to tell your audience is where any information or images have come from. This can be done verbally, on the slides themselves, or using a combination of these methods.

Always follow your lecturer's instructions and follow the referencing style for your course.

There are three questions you need to ask when referencing images:

  1. What kind of source did it come from? (E.g. book, journal article, web page, etc.)
  2. Am I reproducing the image in my assignment?
  3. What is my referencing style?

Once you have these answers, you can use the appropriate referencing style guide to:

  1. Write your in-text citation
  2. Write the heading for the image (above the image in your assignment) and the caption for the image (below the image in your assignment)
  3. Write the reference list citation for the image

If you are not reproducing the image in your assignment, you can leave out step 2.

It's good copyright practice to put an attribution statement underneath images you use in your presentation slides. The more information you can include in your attribution the better (e.g. title, author, source and license - this information also needs to be linked to the original image). You can see how to write an attribution statement in the referencing guide for your referencing style. It's also a good idea to use free and open licensed resources in your assignments. For more information on free and open licensed resources and copyright, please see Copyright for students.

It is important to respect copyright when accessing, using and reproducing information resources. You can access information on copyright for students and how it applies to you and your university work from the library website.


EndNote is a citation management tool that is available for free to all University of Newcastle students. Other citation management tools include Mendeley and Zotero.

You don't have to use a citation management tool; it is acceptable (and recommended!) to do your referencing manually until you have thoroughly learned the referencing style that is used in your course. You may even choose to continue to reference manually once you are confident with applying your course's referencing style to your assignments.

You can use EndNote to keep track of your reading and research. EndNote also has a "Cite While You Write" function which lets you insert in-text and reference list citations into your assignment in the referencing style of your choice. However, the quality of these references is only as good as the quality of the data that has been imported or typed into EndNote.

This is why it is important to always learn your referencing style and always double check any citations imported or typed into EndNote to ensure that your citations are correct. A common error to look out for is the name of the database or publisher being included in the author field.

The Library provides EndNote support via our EndNote guide and Book a Librarian.

You can also watch our other EndNote webinars: