All sources of information used in a piece of work must be acknowledged. This is called referencing. Firstly, when a source is used in the body of the text it is referenced by, for example, a footnote. Secondly, all sources are listed at the end of the piece of work in a Bibliography or References section.


References in the text

  • Included in the body of the text and used when you want to quote, paraphrase or summarise work that is not your own
  • States clearly where the information came from, ie., from a book, newspaper or website. This shows the reader where they can find the information. If you do not do this you are representing someone else’s work as your own – this is plagiarism
  • Diagrams and illustrations should also be referenced if not your own
  • By referencing other works you show you have engaged with the work of others and have used this evidence to support the argument you are presenting in your own work

Bibliography/References section

  • This is placed at the end of your piece of work. It lists the sources you have referenced in your essay and only the sources you have referenced
  • The list should be presented in alphabetical order by author surname. In the absence of an author then the source can be listed by organisation or by title

How to set out references

References should contain all the relevant details of the source used: author, title, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page number, URL, accessed date. There are different styles in which this can be done. Choose one and use it consistently through the piece of work. Below are the four main styles:

There are useful shortcuts you can use when adding endnotes and footnotes.


Online tools

There are a number of free online tools that can help until you feel confident setting out your references. Microsoft will let you manage references under the References tab. QML catalogue will also generate references for library sources you have used in your preferred style.

  • Bibme -Generates citations in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard and other styles
  • Citation Builder – Generates citations in APA, MLA and Chicago styles
  • Cite Fast – Generates citations in APA, MLA and Chicago styles
  • EasyBib – Generates citations in APA, MLA and Chicago styles
  • Neil’s Toolbox – Generates Harvard style citations
  • Zotero – Free reference management software that enables all digital resources used to be collected, organized, tagged and shared. Generates citations and bibliographies