Why do citing and referencing and how not to freak out

It’s that time of the semester where lines start to form at the Research and Learning point. Many of the questions we get are about citing and referencing: “Do I need to include a reference for this?”, “Am I doing this correctly?”, “What on earth is ‘Turabian Style’?”. There’s no doubt citing and referencing can be confusing. Don’t freak out! Romany Manuell is here to help...

Why do I need to do it?
Well, I don’t want to make you panic, but when writing a piece of work at university, you actually have some pretty serious moral and legal responsibilities in terms of giving appropriate credit to the ideas of others.

Throughout your time at university, you will be developing your own “academic voice”. When you cite and reference correctly, your readers will be able to hear that voice, and see where you have used the work of experts to support your ideas. If you’ve integrated your sources well, it will also allow your readers to see how well you’ve understood the material, and if necessary, they will be able to track down the items you have mentioned. In a sense, you are also showing respect to those researchers who have come before you, as you are acknowledging their hard work by referring to it. Have a look at the Library’s Academic integrity modules - they contain examples of what to do, as well as what to avoid (e.g. remix and retweet plagiarism).

You can gain more understanding of citing and referencing by watching this video:

What do I need to do?
Firstly, you need to find out what style of referencing you should be using. This information is usually in the Unit Guide for your subject, but if in doubt, ask your tutor or lecturer. Common styles at Monash Uni include APA 6th, Harvard, and Chicago/Turabian (but many others are also used!). The Demystifying citing and referencing tutorial explains the basic principles behind all the different styles of citing and referencing, and is great if you’re feeling a little unsure or just want to test your knowledge.

How can I remember everything?
The Library fully understands how complicated citing and referencing is...particularly all the finicky formatting rules! We can’t remember every rule, and you’re certainly not expected to either. You’re going to have to look up the requirements of the style using the Library’s Citing & Referencing Library Guide and find the appropriate example to follow. You can also check out some faculty-specific resources, such as the Faculty of Business and Economics’ Q Manual, MADA Creative Integrity and FIT Academic Integrity.


There are some things you can do to make the citing and referencing experience a bit easier. To protect your privacy, the Library doesn’t keep a list of the items you’ve borrowed, so maintain your own list by using the e-Shelf in Search. Make sure you are logged in to Search, and click on the tiny star next to an item to add it to your e-Shelf:

Then, you’ll always have the details of the items you’ve used when it’s time to write up your Reference List or Bibliography! Even if you don’t use e-Shelf, try to keep your references organised right from the start by adding them to a Word document, or trying out a bibliographic software package such as EndNote.


You can always get help with citing and referencing from a Learning Skills Adviser or Librarian at your Library’s Research & Learning Point - you’ll find the listed times for your library here.
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