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Referencing: Introduction

Referencing is a standard method of acknowledging the sources of information you have consulted in compiling your assignment or exam. Anything – words, figures, graphs, theories, ideas, facts, images – originating from another source and used in your assignment or exam must be referenced (i.e. acknowledged).

In your assignment or exam you must provide the reader with precise information pertaining to every source referred to in your written work or consulted as part of your research.

‚ÄčReferencing is a vital part of academic research and writing. There are several reasons why it is so important, some of which are listed below: 

  • To avoid plagiarism
  • To back up your argument(s)
  • To establish credibility
  • To verify your research and quotations
  • To provide your reader with the details needed to source the original documents, etc. used in your research

Common Knowledge

Widely known information or facts such as names, events, and/or dates do not always have to be referenced. This is known as common knowledge. 

For example, it is commonly known that Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the Moon in 1969, thus there is no need to cite or reference such a statement in your work. 

If you are in doubt over whether or not something is common knowledge, cite it!


  1. Record the details of all materials used in your research and reading as you go along – this will ensure you have all the requisite information to create your citations and references when you begin writing your assignment or exam.
  2. Create an in-text citation every time you use or refer to someone else’s work within your own assignment or exam.
  3. Build your reference list as you go along (in alphabetical order), listing every source cited within the text of your assignment or exam.

Zotero facilitates all three steps of the referencing process, click here for more information on Zotero.



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