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Referencing: Home

This Guide contains or links to guidance for the main referencing styles used at JCU (including MLA, Chicago and AGLC, which are not stand-alone Guides), and general information about referencing.

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.

Referencing help

Confused? You are not alone.

Statue of Jesus with hand on face.
Photo credit: taliesin from

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 4)
  • 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.

Tool box

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.Acknowledgement of Country

Creative Commons Licence
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License. Content from this Guide should be attributed to James Cook University Library. This does not apply to images, third party material (seek permission from the original owner) or any logos or insignia belonging to JCU or other bodies, which remain All Rights Reserved.