Library and Information Skills module

Birkbeck Library logo

Citing and Referencing Information

References are required if you use another person's ideas, or if you make a direct quote, in order to avoid plagiarism. 

The citation of sources is an essential part of any piece of written academic work. There are several different conventions and it does not matter which one you use provided that you cite sources correctly, giving all the necessary information and keep consistently to the same convention.

Your School or department may have guidelines for referencing in your assignments, check your course or module handbook for further guidance. You can also use Birkbeck Study Skills - Researching and Writing

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


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

Soanes, C. Stevenson, A. (2006) The Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Plagiarism is a form of fraud and regarded as a serious breach of academic regulations. To avoid plagiarism always cite and reference your sources. Advice on avoiding plagiarism is contained in most School handbooks. To avoid plagiarism, do the following:

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

Read Birkbeck's guidelines on plagiarism, and the assessment offences policy which gives detail on what happens if plagiarism is suspected.

Develop and test your knowledge using the Birkbeck Learning Skills Introduction to referencing and plagiarism.

Video tutorials on Referencing (University of Reading, Study Advice)
  • Avoiding unintentional plagiarism
  • Using long and short quotes
  • Using paraphrases
  • Writing a precis or summary

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

Don't cheat yourself - avoiding plagiarism tutorial 

Copyright symbol with question mark

(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  

Citation and reference styles

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

Check your course or module handbook for guidance on which style to use. 

The following are some of the most widely used styles:

Develop and test your knowledge using the Birkbeck Study Skills tutorial on Successful academic references.

word cloud of referencing terms 



Use this interactive tutorial on Copyright for Students to
learn more about copyright and why it's important to your studies

Copyright logo in red

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.