Citing and referencing

Citing and referencing is how you acknowledge the sources (e.g. books, journal articles, websites) which you have used in your academic work. In-text citations show which source you are referring to. At the end of your work, a reference list gives the full details of the sources you have included. This allows someone reading your work to follow up on your sources and understand your research approach.

Why cite and reference?

It is good academic practice to cite and reference correctly.  When you produce a piece of academic work, it is important to acknowledge other sources that you have used. Citing and referencing is the way that you acknowledge other people’s ideas and work in your own essays, assignments and dissertations and including them helps you to structure your work correctly and gives it more academic credibility and validity.

Accurate citing and referencing can offer you some protection by being more academically rigorous and  potentially save you from accidental plagiarism. Remember that if you do not cite and reference your sources, or if you cite and reference them incorrectly, you could face penalties for academic misconduct and plagiarism.

Key points for citing and referencing

  • Always cite and acknowledge other people’s work, theories and ideas.
  • Follow the guidance in the course/ module handbook.
  • Be clear and consistent and use the same style throughout your work.

Cite Them Right online provides comprehensive guidelines and examples of how to reference all kinds of sources including books, articles, websites and many other materials. The book version of Cite Them Right is available in CityLibrary.

See our guidance on Harvard referencing and OSCOLA referencing.

For longer projects you may wish to use a reference management software such as RefWorks to store and manage your research references and to assist you with citing and referencing.

For assistance with academic writing skills and study skills, please contact the Academic Skills Team at City.

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