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Library StART - get started with your writing assignment





When you have gathered all the information sources that you want to use for your assignment from journals, books and websites, you are then ready to get down to the task of writing it.
When you write your assignment, make sure that you acknowledge all the information sources you use - this is known as referencing.


Referencing shows that you have researched your topic and can find evidence to support your ideas and opinions.  It also means that you can find the references again if you need to and that other people can check them. Acknowledging other people’s contribution to your work is also important to avoid plagiarism which is a serious academic offence.


You need to reference every time you:

  • Quote someone else’s ideas or theories in your assignment
  • Use your own words to describe else’s ideas or theories in your assignment
  • Use diagrams or pictures you found in books, journals, on the internet or in any other source
  • Use statistics that you found books, journals, on the internet or from any other source

You don’t need to reference if:

  • You are using your own ideas or the results of your own experiment or survey
  • You are quoting a commonly known fact e.g. diabetes is a disease that causes high blood sugar

See below for a referencing example.


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Referencing example

flag This example uses the Harvard system of referencing
Other referencing systems use different formats and you should always check with your tutor or in your course handbook to make sure you are using the right one.


A reference comes in two parts

Part 1: Citation

When you put a bit of information that you have found into your assignment, you need to incorporate the author(s) surname and the date the information was published. 

For example:

Fox and MacKinnon (2005 p.13) list obesity as a risk factor for diabetes….


Part 2: Reference

Every time you cite something in your assignment, you must also remember to include it in a reference list  (sometimes called a bibliography) at the end of your assignment:

For example:

Fox, C. and Mackinnon, M. (2005) Vital diabetes. 3rd edn. London: Class Publishing


This example is a reference for a book with two authors.  In your reference list, you will need to include different details about the source you used, depending whether it is a book, journal, webpage or other type of information source. If it is a book may also need to reference it differently depending on if it has editors, or multiple authors.


Tip: For detailed information on how to cite different information resources correctly, go to Cite them right online or take a look at the Library helpsheets on referencing.


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