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Referencing: How to reference banner image

When you refer to another source of information, you need to reference it. To do this, you simply need to insert a citation in your text and then expand on that citation in a footnote or full list of references at the end of your work. Sound easy? It is – read on to find out more...

In-text citations

There are two principal ways of adding an in-text citation...

The first method is author-date, where you include the author’s name followed by their date of publication (Stockdale, 2018). The second method is numeric, where you include a simple number after the reference [1].

Whichever method you use, the citation will appear within or immediately after the referenced information.

Reference lists and bibliographies

Next, you need to expand on your citations in a detailed list of references – or bibliography as it’s sometimes called – at the end of your work. Each citation should have a full reference that includes the name of the information source, the name of its author or creator (and there’s often more than one), the date it was published, and where exactly it can be found. If you use author-date format, this will appear as below...


Stockdale, P. and Dott, E. (2014) 'How to keep first year students awake', Education Today, 34 (3), 122-134.

Depending on the source, you might also need to include other information such as the volume number, publisher name, and place of publication. If you use numeric format, this will appear similar to below...


[1] H. Singh, "Chocolate isn't the answer", HE Monthly, vol. 55, pp. 30-38, Dec 2013.

If it’s an electronic resource, you’ll need to include its URL and when you last accessed it. And depending on your subject, you might even need to include relevant background literature that you’ve read but not explicitly cited. 

[3] Newcastle University  Library (2017, Feb). ASK Academic Skills Kit. Available at (Accessed: 3rd July, 2018).

Similar rules also apply to copying and re-using someone else’s raw data, including tables of results, graphs, diagrams, and figures. Simply include that data within your text and – you guessed it – add a citation.

Direct quotations

You might want to quote a written source word-for-word, so the reader can see the original text that you’re commenting on. To do this, you’ll need to put speech marks around the quoted text. This is known as a direct quotation and tells the reader that the text is identical to its original source. When quoting short phrases, you should also “incorporate them into your sentences”.

According to Lee (2016, p. 15), "All universities should provide students with free chocolate". Bent (2011, p. 42) agrees, claiming "free chocolate reduces stress".

You can even put large quotations in their own indented paragraph if you want – but try to avoid quoting too much text at any one time. 

Paraphrasing text

If you’d rather reword text from another source, you can also paraphrase it. This demonstrates your understanding of the text, and allows you make it more concise and focused. It doesn’t matter if you think your version isn’t as polished – what matters is that the reader can see how well you’ve understood and interpreted it.

According to Stockdale (2010), it would be a good idea to install chocolate fountains in all university lecture theatres. I personally would go one step further and install them in all halls of residence as well.