Referencing Done Easy

Hear from Library Newsletter contributor Rachel Parkinson about how to tackle the one thing we all hate: referencing.

Alongside your department and tutors, the Library offers a range of resources to support you with your referencing. As fellow students, we know that referencing is daunting and often time consuming. However, it is a vital aspect of academic writing, so that when your work is marked the reader can find the sources you have consulted, and so that you can avoid accusations of plagiarism. It will also demonstrate all of the reading and hard work you have put into researching your writing! Although most referencing will include the author, date, title and publication details of a source, you must check which style of referencing you are expected to use by your department. The Library website shows the style favoured by each department here.  

New to referencing or need to sharpen up your skills? A great place to start is the Library online course ‘Introduction to Referencing’. It will take around an hour to complete, but will get you up to speed on what referencing is and how to reference a variety of different sources. This course specifically focuses on Harvard referencing. You can also approach your department’s Academic Support Librarian for help. 

Image Credit: Wesley Tingey.

Referencing Top Tips:  

  1. Don’t leave referencing until the last minute! Especially if you are unfamiliar with referencing or writing a longer piece of work that will require a lot of citations, try to reference as you go.  
  1. Keep a digital record of where you are locating all of your research. This will speed up your referencing by having the location, author, date and page number of any particular quotes or useful texts in one handy location, but will also be essential if you happen to lose access to a text or forget where you found it. If you found the source online, through a source such as the Library database, you could create a column on your spreadsheet or table for you to paste the link into. 
  1. Alternatively, use a software such as EndNote (which the Library provides training on) or Mendeley to keep track of your references. Software such as these are called ‘reference managers’, and are especially useful for postgraduate students who are writing longer essays, or for dissertations. The examples given here work within Microsoft Word to allow you to quickly insert references, supporting your in-text citation (if required) and helping you to speedily create and alphabetise your reference list.  

Happy referencing!  

If you have more referencing questions, check out our post on all you ever wanted to know about referencing.

What are your top tips for referencing? Have you been on the Library’s Introduction to Referencing course? Let us know in the comments, by tweeting us @warwicklibrary or by emailing us at

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