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Referencing at UWS: Welcome

What is referencing and why do I have to do it?

Referencing is the method we use to acknowledge the work of other authors.

It serves three principal aims:

  • To support your arguments with evidence. Referencing demonstrates that your own arguments are grounded in a body of existing research and have been developed through an examination of the relevant literature.
  • Referencing is an important means by which we credit other authors for any ideas, arguments, quotations, and other forms of intellectual property which are not your own. Not providing an acknowledgement for the work of others is considered plagiarism (note that plagiarism can be both intentional and unintentional). You must always provide a citation when you use another author's intellectual ideas, whether you are paraphrasing (putting it into your own words), summarising, or directly quoting from the source.
  • Referencing shows the reader where they can access the original sources you have used (the evidence) to verify or fact check. It also helps the reader to carry out additional research of their own.

Key Terms

Bibliography: a comprehensive list of all material consulted when preparing your work (whether cited or not).

Citation: a citation within the text of your own work indicates that this information is taken from another source - citations link directly to the reference list at the end of your work.

Quotation: if you are using the exact words from the original source then you must enclose these in quotation marks "  ".

Paraphrase: putting the ideas, theories, research of other people into your own words - if you choose to do so then please remember that a citation to acknowledge the original work must be given.

Plagiarism: taking the work of others, such as words, graphs, data, or images and passing this off as your own by failing to acknowledge the original source.

Reference list: a comprehensive list of references at the end of your work relating directly to the sources that you cited.  


Referencing powerpoint presentation

This PowerPoint presentation has been created by one of the Academic Librarian Team and provides an excellent introduction to the principles behind referencing, an overview of the process and information on how to access help and support.

What referencing system does UWS use?

The standard referencing style at UWS is Cite Them Right Harvard - this is sometimes shortened to CTR Harvard. If you study Law or Psychology, or with the Scottish Baptist College, you will use different styles - please see the Other Referencing Styles tab for more details.

If you have studied at UWS before you may be used to our previous referencing style - UWS Harvard.  From the beginning of Academic Year 2021 - 2022 UWS Harvard should no longer be used.  CTR Harvard is now the accepted referencing style.


Cite Them Right Textbook

Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2019) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 11th rev. edn. London: Red Globe Press.

  • Print and electronic copies are available from UWS Library.  Access to the ebook is available from both on and off campus - use your UWS username and password to log in.
  • Print/Kindle copies can also be purchased from Amazon.

There is a newer edition of this book:

Pears, R. and Shields, G. (2022) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. 12th edn. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

At the moment both editions are being used as much of the information in the 11th edition remains valid.


12th edition - Major change: journal articles and doi/url

There is a major change in the 12th edition that relates to the way in which the doi/url is used when referencing journal articles.  Please see the example for journal articles provided in this guide for more information.


Other updates in 12th edition

The 12th edition also provides more detail on the basics of referencing and includes information on the following:

  • how to source high-quality evidence that is suitable for use in an academic assignment
  • how to improve the way in which you manage the information that you have found
  • how to effectively paraphrase/summarise/quote directly 
  • how to understand the concept of plagiarism and what you can do to avoid it

Additional benefits of referencing

Although the main reason, and the most important, for providing references is to acknowledge and give credit to others, it also has additional benefits:

  • Identifying sources: including appropriate references in your own work demonstrates your ability to critically assess a question and identify relevant sources of information.
  • Subject knowledge: referencing allows you to demonstrate your awareness of the literature (and therefore research) already published in a particular subject area.
  • Evaluation skills: providing appropriate references demonstrates that you can assess the validity of sources and are able to select material that is appropriate to the subject, level of study and the assignment (essay, report, dissertation or thesis, for example).
  • Presentation skills: referencing also shows that you can present information in a consistent way.

What support is available from UWS Library?

UWS Library offers the following range of options:

Referencing at UWS: a 45-minute presentation (part of the Library Skills Online programme) delivered as a pop up session at various times throughout the academic year. These are advertised on the UWS Library web site and Twitter feed so please check those for more details.

Academic Librarians also deliver teaching/instruction on Referencing as part of a formal teaching session, such as a lecture, seminar or tutorial.  Academic staff can request this for groups of students at all levels.  Please contact the Academic Librarian for your School or email:

Academic Librarians are happy to arrange individual, one-to-one sessions for both staff or students and can also see students in small groups.  These are delivered online (via Microsoft Teams or Zoom) or on campus.

Book an appointment here:  Academic Librarian Appointments

Academic Skills Advisers

The Academic Skills Team offers support with a wide range of academic skills, including referencing and avoiding plagiarism.

Students can access academic skills resources and book a 30 minute appointment with an Academic Skills Adviser via the UWS Student App.

Please note!

Referencing is an essential, integral and accepted part of academic study and practice and must be used in the vast majority of academic assignments within all subject areas and at all levels of study.

Everyone, from Level 7 students to published academic researchers, will be required to reference throughout their academic career.