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What is citing or referencing?

These words have almost the same meaning, which is to give details of where you found your information for an essay, assignment or dissertation, whether from a book, journal article, web page, lecture, or any other source.

Referencing is important because:

  • It is accepted practice in the academic world to acknowledge the words, ideas or work of others and not simply to use them as if they were your own. Failure to do this could be regarded as plagiarism
  • to enable other people to identify and trace your sources quickly and easily
  • to support facts and claims you have made in your text
  • to show that you have read widely and use a variety of sources

A number of different referencing styles are available. Your Department may use a specific referencing style, such as Brookes Harvard, MHRA or OSCOLA, and may also provides its own guidelines for using that style. You will need to check which style your Department uses. Detailed guidance can be found on the Library’s relevant Subject Help page.

You may wish to consider using a reference management software system as a method of storing reference details and creating citations in your work.  Oxford Brookes University supports EndNote, which enables you to format references in various styles including ‘BrookesHarvard’  (matching the Library guide and Cite them right online)

Library staff are always ready to help you with referencing – please visit the Library Help Zone, JHB Level 1 (Library Enquiry Desks at other Brookes libraries) or contact the Library by phone, email or chat.

Updated on November 8, 2018

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