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References, citations and avoiding plagiarism - old

An introduction to the function and practice of referencing your sources

Referencing styles

What you need to know is which style you are expected to use in your work, and then stick to it consistently.  There are different conventions (approaches) to effective referencing, depending on the referencing style being used, and these can be separated into two standard systems for citing sources.  They are the Harvard (or author-date) system and the Vancouver (or footnotes/endnotes) system, otherwise known as the numeric system

There are different versions of each of these two approaches, some of which are discipline-specific.  For example, APA is a version of Harvard that is specific to Psychology, and OSCOLA is a version of the Vancouver numeric system but is only used in Law. 

So, be aware that there are many versions of the Harvard and Vancouver referencing styles.  If you refer to more than one source for guidance on Harvard, for example, you may notice inconsistencies so always try to stick to one source for guidance too.

Recognising different referencing styles

‚ÄčHere is an example of an in-text citation:

In their review of the literature (Knapik et al., 2015) some themes emerge …

This style uses an approach in which an author-date are located/identified directly within the text when a source is used, which then allows the reader to find the full reference to the source at the end of the essay on a separate references list (or bibliography).


Here is an example of a Vancouver citation:

In their review of the literature (1) some themes emerge …

This style uses a numbering system, where an alpha-numeric figure identifies that a source has been used/referenced.  The reader can then locate the full reference to the source either in the footnote (at the bottom of the current page), or in the endnotes (at the end of the essay) where the corresponding digit will then list the full details of the source.