Library and Information Skills module

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Citing and Referencing Information

How do I  - reference correctly?

What does "referencing" mean and why do I need to do this in my assignment?

References are required if you draw upon another writer's ideas, or if you make a direct quote, in order to avoid plagiarism (see below). The proper citation of sources is an elementary but essential part of any piece of written academic work. There are several different conventions and it does not matter which one you adopt provided that you cite sources correctly, giving all the necessary information and keep consistently to the same convention. If your School or department has particular guidelines for assignments make sure you; use them. Information on this may be in your course or module handbook.

The Library also has books covering the main conventions, including the following:


Plagiarism, the act of taking somebody else's work and presenting it as your own, is an act of academic dishonesty, and Birkbeck takes it very seriously.

Plagarism is to "take (the work or an idea of someone else) and pass it off as one's own." 

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Ed. Catherine Soanes and Angus Stevenson. Oxford University Press, 2004. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press.  Birkbeck College.28 July 2005

Put simply, plagiarism is a form of fraud and regarded as a serious breach of academic regulations. To avoid plagiarism always reference your sources. Advice on avoiding plagiarism is contained in most School handbooks. As a golden rule:

  • always reference directly quoted words
  • always reference sentences paraphrasing the ideas of another
  • always reference a source used in a paragraph in that paragraph

Birkbeck Registry's guidelines on plagiarism tells you about submitting the academic declaration form and what happens if plagiarism is suspected.

My Birkbeck  gives more guidance on plagiarism and referencing the information used in your own work.

Video tutorials on Referencing under the Referencing section includes 'Avoiding unintentional plagiarism', 'Using long and short quotes', 'Using paraphrases' and 'Writing a precis or summary' online tutorials from University of Reading, Study Advice.

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(Image from Author: Stephan BaumSanbec)  


The importance of citing and referencing

Ensure that you cite and reference the information used in your own work correctly in order to:

♦ acknowledge the work of others

♦ avoid plagiarism

♦ allow others to easily find the information sources you have used in your work     


Image of a dictionary definition of reference  

Citing and referencing information

There are many different styles you can use to cite your references. 

Check your course or module handbook to see if there is any guidance on which style to use.

See our page of links to tutorials on referencing for the most commonly used referencing styles.

word cloud of referencing terms 


This short tutorial from the University of Leicester looks at plagiarism and how to avoid it from different subject areas.



An interactive tutorial on Copyright for Students

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Resources on copyright:

Click on the navigation arrows on the right to move through the tutorial  or choose a  section from the menu on the left.