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An Introduction to Referencing at UWA: Why Reference?

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

Referencing to acknowledge sources and prevent plagiarism

In this section, we consider the reasons why referencing is so important to academic scholarly practice. 

The main reason we reference is to demonstrate how we use an evidence-based approach by acknowledging and building on the research and ideas developed by experts and scholars in their field. Acknowledging and referencing our sources correctly is the core way in which we prevent plagiarism by clearly showing the difference between ideas we have read, seen or heard from others and ideas we have generated ourselves. References point to the original author, clearly recognising their ownership of the work.


  • Referencing gives readers enough information to find the sources you've referenced.
  • Good references show there is evidence for the statements you make.
  • Referencing demonstrates that you have been reading about your subject, as students are expected to.


Plagiarism is presenting other people's work (words, creations, ideas, arguments, graphs, images) as if it's your own, including both unintentional and intentional:

  • paraphrasing that is too similar to the original
  • missing or incorrect referencing
  • excessive editing by a paid or unpaid editor
  • presenting someone else’s work as your own
  • deliberate cheating, such as buying or selling assignments
  • submitting the same work for more than one assignment
  • submitting as your work an assignment written by someone else (even if they have given you permission to use their work)
  • working together with another student if it's not a group assignment - individual assignments should be only your own work

This information is from the STUDYSmarter Guide  'Avoiding Plagiarism'. Read the full guide for more information and test your knowledge with the quiz.


Good academic conduct ✔ Plagiarism ✘

Correctly referencing quotes, e.g.,

"Quote" (Author, Year, page number).

Inserting quotes in your assignments without referencing.


Going to a Writing and Referencing drop-in for advice and help writing your assignment. Someone heavily edits or writes your assignment for you (paid or unpaid).
Discussing general concepts, or what's required in an assignment, with other students. Students writing their assignments together (if it is not a group assignment).
Using a referencing tool, i.e., EndNote or Mendeley, to correctly format your references. Summarising another author's ideas without citing the source.
Using the correct referencing style to cite and reference each of your sources - you can ask a librarian for help. Incomplete or missing references.





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