Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Referencing - what? why? how?
What is referencing?
Referencing is the way that you describe the sources of information and ideas that you use in your assignments.
Why do I need to reference?
- To indicate where you get your information/ideas from.
- So the reader can verify your sources.
- To avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is when a person tries to present someone else's work as their own. Penalties for plagiarism can include loss of marks, failing a subject or failing your course. You might like to watch this short video on plagiarism.
What do I have to reference?
- If you have used anything in your assignment that was originally written or created by someone else, you must reference it.
- This does not just mean direct quotes... it also includes any ideas you have paraphrased or summarized…
- It applies to anything you use - graphs, statistics, images etc.
Confused? You are not alone.
Photo credit: taliesin from morguefile.com
There are a number of ways for you to get help:
- At the LIbrary Service Desk during library opening hours
- By phoning the Library on 1800 246 446 (select option 3)
- Brief help using our Chat Service when available
We're here for you!
How do I write my references?
1. Go to the style guide that you require
- There are many different referencing styles even for the same discipline.
- You will need to check your subject outline or ask your lecturer which one you need to use.
- The tabs above will take you to the main styles used at JCU : APA, Harvard, Vancouver, MLA and Chicago.
2. Select the section that best describes the resource you want to reference
- Use the left hand index to click on the relevant format (i.e. book, journal article, web page, map or whatever).
- Check the rules for what to do with the number or type of authors you have (e.g. three authors, a corporation instead of an author)
3. Fill in the sections exactly as in the example
- Copy the example style exactly substituting the information in the example with the details from your resource.
- Pay close attention to things like spaces, full stops, commas, italics, brackets, hanging indent etc
Referencing and academic integrity
The InfoSkills Toolkit has a useful module you can work through. It explains referencing, academic integrity and avoiding plagiarism.
What is referencing? YouTube movie
We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.