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Guide: Referencing: Home


Welcome to the 'Referencing' Guide.

Why Reference?

Referencing is about acknowledging other people's work when you have used it during the course of your research.

It is about maintaining academic integrity, and is used:

  • To show that you understand the topic, and can explain in your own thoughts.
  • To demonstrate that you have read widely and deeply.
  • To enable the reader to locate where you obtained each quote or idea.
  • To avoid plagiarism and uphold academic honesty.

Source: (UCL Institute of Education Library, 2017)

Referencing Guidelines

At SRUC we use the Harvard (author-date) system, which is made up of two parts:

  • an in-text citation; and a
  • reference list at the end of the document.

When you are writing up your research, ideas taken from other people are indicated by placing the author's surname and the date of publication in rounded brackets e.g. (MacNeil, 2018); within the body of the text.

At the end of your report you then provide a full list of all your references, arranged in alphabetical order by the authors' surname.

Referencing Process

Record Accurately

Step 1 - Record Accurately

When you are conducting your research you should note down all of the relevant information that you will require for your reference list:

Authors/ editors | Year/ date of publication | Title | Edition | Place of publication: Publisher | Series/ volumes (books) | Issue information (serials) | Page numbers | URLs/ DOIs (eResources) | Date accessed (eResources).

Step 2 - Organise Carefully

You must keep a definitive list of all the sources you consult during your research. You can do this by compiling a list in a Word document, creating a database, or maintaining a paper copy filing index of cards.

For large projects you may wish to use specialist referencing software e.g. Diigo | RefME | Zotero.

Step 3 - Cite Appropriately

Construct your citations within the text of your report, adhering to the guidelines for the citation style you are using; which for SRUC is Harvard. Consult the Student Handbook for guidance.

Step 4 - List Consistently

You are expected to use in-text citations and create a list of references at the end of your essay or paper. Be sure to balance your use of direct quotations, paraphrasing and summarising.

Note: The difference between a reference list and bibliography is as follows:  a reference list is simply a list of the sources that you have cited within your report. Whereas a bibliography also includes readings that you may have consulted, but not cited. It is therefore a larger group of works than a reference list.

Referencing Links


Some Harvard referencing examples in this guide have been adapted from Pears and Shields (2016).

Other examples in this guide have been adapted from online support produced by Sue Stevens and Alex Jubb at the 'Univeristy of Birmingham' (link below). This content is available under a 'CC-BY-NC-SA license' (link below).

Thanks also to the 'UCL Institute of Education Library' who kindly gave permission to use their Referencing guide as a template for the creation of this guide.

Cite Them Right

Need help with referencing?  Check out:

Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2016) Cite them right: the essential  referencing guide. 10th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.



There are many different variations of the Harvard style...

  • Make sure that you match your Harvard style to the referencing guidelines in your Student Handbook.
  • Always ask your tutor which referencing style they want you to use in your work.
  • Be conistent in the referencing style you use!

Referencing Tools

Harvard Referencing Tutorial #11

Skills4StudyCampus: Overview of 'Referencing & Understanding Plagiarism' module


Sources consulted in the creation of this guide include:

Chambers Dictionary (2018) The Chambers dictionary. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 24 May 2018).

Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2016) Cite them right: the essential  referencing guide. 10th edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

UCL Institute of Education Library (2017) Referencing with Harvard. [Online] Available at: (Accessed: 13 June 2018).