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Referencing at UWA: Referencing

A beginners guide to why we reference, managing references, choosing the right style and getting help.

Banner image source: Pixabay 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 licensed under a CC0 Public Domain licence.

Academic Conduct

Academic Conduct means the behaviours (the "conduct") expected of students and professional academics - especially referencing correctly.

Academic Misconduct means behaviours not allowed in academia, like plagiarism. Misconduct has consequences for students, but also for professionals (see links below).

ABC news story on Ed Sheeran copyright claim
Retraction Watch article about consequences of plagiarism in academia

Academic Conduct Essentials (ACE)

A full explanation of the conduct expected of UWA students is included in the unit ACE.

If you'd like to check over the information in ACE you can find it at

What is referencing?

Referencing is showing where you have used other people's ideas in your work.

In your assignments, every time you mention information you found, place an In-Text citation in that sentence. This is a very short form of the reference that lets a reader look it up in the Reference List.

APA Style (an "Author-Date" style) Vancouver Style (a "Numbered" style)
Self-testing while studying generally improves learning (Karpicke, 2009). Self-testing while studying generally improves learning.1


The Reference List goes at the end of the assignment. It contains the full details of the sources you got information from. Every in-text citation must have a matching entry in the reference list.

APA Style Vancouver Style
Karpicke, J.D. (2009). Metacognitive control and strategy selection: Deciding to practice retrieval during learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 138(4), 469-486. 1. Karpicke JD. Metacognitive control and strategy selection: Deciding to practice retrieval during learning. J Exp Psychol Gen. 2009;138(4):469-486.

Why reference?

Referencing gives readers enough information to find the sources you've referenced.
Readers might want to find the sources you referenced to check your interpretation is correct, or just to learn more. There might be many books with the same title, or several editions of the same book, so you need to provide enough information to allow someone else to easily find exactly the source you referenced.

Referencing helps to avoid plagiarism.
Correct referencing shows you acknowledge the original author and aren't trying to claim their ideas or words are your own.

Good references show there is evidence for statements you make.
At university level students and researchers are expected to support their claims with evidence. The best quality evidence is in peer-reviewed scholarly books and articles.

Referencing demonstrates that you have been reading about your subject, as students are expected to.
Reading a wide range of sources is an important part of learning your subject

What are referencing styles?

Referencing styles are the rules you use to decide how you will write out the reference; what information to include and the order to write it in.

We use referencing styles to avoid confusion. By writing your references according to a style, a reader knows what kind of source you are referencing (website, journal, book etc) and which part is the name of the article, the name of the journal, etc.

For more information, see the Referencing and citation styles page of this guide

Referencing right

This referencing guide sets out the basic steps you need to follow to Reference Right. It also provides links to other helpful resources.