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Referencing: Referencing FAQ

Tools and information to help you maintain academic honesty

Teach yourself Academic Integrity

The Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards NSW (BOSTES) has created a self-paced online course called the HSC: All My Own Work program. Read the information provided, find useful websites and complete quizzes for each of the five modules:

  1. Scholarship Principles and Practices
  2. Acknowledging Sources
  3. Plagiarism
  4. Copyright
  5. Working with others

How can I get help with referencing?

You don't need to remember how to reference every format in every style. You can:

  1. Use a Reference Generator: You can use a 'reference generator' to generate a reference (you fill out a form and it puts in the correct punctuation for you). You can find links to some popular Harvard, APA and MLA reference generators on the pages in this guide. NOTE: some generators can be out of date or not very accurate. Always check more than one source and be consistent in the way you format your reference list. 
  2. Get articles from the Library catalogue or a database: The Hutchins Library catalogue and the Explora database both have citation buttons that will generate a reference for the resource (book, DVD, article) you are looking at. You can copy and paste this into your reference list. 
  3. Use this guide and the guides freely available from university websites: See the Harvard, APA and MLA pages in this guide for help writing your own references and links to other guides.
  4. Ask a librarian: Email me!

Why reference?

  • It's the right thing to do and it protects you from academic penalties for plagiarism 
  • It makes you look good and can lead to better marks
  • It gives your teachers all the details they need to know exactly which resources you used 

Including a correctly formatted in-text citation and full reference list for all the sources you quoted or paraphrased in your assignment helps your teacher to see how much (fantastic) research you did, find and check your sources and see that you are not plagiarising. 

When do I need to reference?

Every time you use a direct quote or paraphrase somebody else's work you need to include both an in-text citation (except for styles that use footnotes) and a full reference in the reference list at the end of your assignment. 

How do I know which style to use?

Your teacher may tell you which style to use, it may be written on your assignment sheet, or it might be up to you to choose what works best for you. 

Some subjects have a favourite style; for instance, Psychology uses APA. 

Harvard, APA and MLA are some common styles, but there are many more.  

Each style has a different way of formatting the in-text citations and full references in the reference list, depending on what the source format is. Some referencing styles are part of a broader writing style that determines how you should format your document and specific rules for punctuation.