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Wrestling with referencing

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We all know referencing can be tedious, but you just need to do it! To the untrained eye reference lists may look like a confusing muddle of punctuation marks – but they’re super important for your assignments and research.

Here’s a quick guide to getting started with referencing:

Why reference?

Good academic writing is built on evidence, so referencing allows you to show that your arguments are built on a solid foundation. When you’ve used an idea or information from another person’s work you’ll need to reference this in your own work.

This takes place in-text citations that look like this:

It could be argued that mental flexibility is a key factor in well-being (Palladino & Wade, 2010).

And reference list entries that look like this:

Doyle, T., McEachern, D., & MacGregor, S. (2015). Environment and politics (4th ed.). Routledge.

Referencing lets your tutor know what sources you’ve used, and shows that you can engage with others’ ideas and use these in your own voice. Referencing also ensures you give credit to the ideas you use in your writing. This is a basic skill of academic writing and it’s the right thing to do!

Getting started with referencing

There are four different referencing styles commonly used at Curtin: APA, Chicago, AGLC and Vancouver. Each has a different way of writing references, so it’s important to know which style your tutor prefers.

Correct referencing is all about attention to detail, and there are strict rules that must be followed around the presentation of in-text citations and reference list entries.

The Library has made a guide for each referencing style – you’ll find these very useful! Keep the guide handy in your browser or printed out as you complete an assignment.

If you’re managing a lot of references you may like to look into EndNote. EndNote is a reference management program that will help you collect, organise and store references, and create formatted citations and reference lists in Microsoft Word. You can learn more about EndNote in the Library’s online module.

Need help with referencing?

Sometimes we need a bit of extra help when learning something new. The Library has a heap of referencing workshops about referencing where you’ll get the chance to practice referencing and ask questions.

AND if you have more questions about referencing you can also contact the Library for help. Good luck!

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