Academic Referencing: What It Entails

  • Referencing is done by including all necessary information in the in-text citations and reference entries.
  • Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s work as your own.
  • Citing tools can be used to help you with referencing.

Academic referencing is used to acknowledge the authors of the texts you use in academic writing.

Academic referencing can be challenging at first, especially when you have never done it. It will get much easier if you understand why it is important and how to do it. 

Everything you need to know about referencing:

  • What Is Academic Referencing?
  • Plagiarism.
  • How To Reference.
  • Citing tools.

What Is Academic Referencing?

When you are writing an essay, thesis, or any document where you are using someone else’s words or ideas, you need to acknowledge them.

Academic referencing is used to cite the original author’s work so that your readers can know where you got the information from.

If you do not reference, you are plagiarising the author’s work.

Academic referencing has two groups:

1. In-text Citations

These citations occur in the text. You will insert the citation within or at the end of a sentence.

2. Reference Entries

References are listed at the end of your written assignment. The last section of your document will be titled “bibliography”, or “reference list”.

All the in-text citations must appear there, but with more detailed information.


Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s words as your own without giving credit to the original author.

This is a serious offense. If you commit plagiarism in an assignment, your academic institution could discontinue your studies.

academic referencing

How To Reference

There are many referencing styles. Depending on your department and field of study, you will have to follow the structure of a specific style. These styles include:

To find more referencing styles you could visit your institution’s web page or an online library. 

Find out more about referencing and what it entails.


When you are referencing, the author’s name and surname must be included. This informs the reader where you have received your information from.

The surname of the author will be written first and then the first letter of the name(s) follow. 

For example: 

Jones, A.

If there is more than one author, it will look like this:

Jones, A., Smith, W., Brown, R., et. al. (meaning and all).

Publication Date

How you write the publication dates for texts will differ depending on which kind of text it is. 

For books, you only include the year, but for articles and web pages you need to add the month and sometimes the day. 


Citations must include the title of the publication. Make sure you know how the title must be written for each type of text. Some titles should be in italics and others in quotation marks.

Page Numbers

When you do in-text citation, specific page numbers must be used.

Regarding the reference entries, page numbers could also be necessary when you are only referring to a certain chapter.

Information About The Publishers

The publisher’s name only appears in the reference entries. Most reference styles include the name and city of the publisher.

Citing Tools

Many platforms that help you to cite. The citing tool will format the reference for you.

Here are a few citing platforms:

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