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What is referencing?

Referencing is acknowledging the sources of information you have referred to in your work. It is important to properexpert penguinly record the information you have used – this way whoever is marking your work can find the original source.

What is the difference between citation and referencing?

There are two parts to referencing:

  1. In Text Citation: This is simply where you refer to the source in the main body of your essay.
  2. Bibliography/Reference List: This is a list of sources of information you’ve referred to (cited) in your work. A bibliography is similar to a reference list, but it may also include materials you have read or consulted but not actually referred to (cited) in your work.

Examples of citation

  • "Find what you love and cite it right"Summaries of someone else’s ideas, e.g. Dunn (2018)  says that…
  • Direct quotations indicated by using quotation marks, e.g. “Guinea Pigs make great pets” or you can use italics like this: “Guinea Pigs make great pets”.
  • Indented paragraphs can be used for longer quotations.

You do not need to cite your own words/ideas and material which is regarded as common knowledge, e.g. the sea is blue.

Examples of referencing

There are lots of styles of referencing. Here at Newcastle University we use the Harvard style. Ask your teacher which style you should use for your assignment and make sure you are consistent.

Below are examples of how you reference using the Harvard style. Once you’ve mastered it why not have a go at the drag-and-drop referencing exercises?

How to reference a book

Pile of booksAuthor, Initial. (Year of publication) Title in Italics. Edition if not the first. Place of publication: Publisher.


Johnston, G (1998) Introduction to Penguins. 5th ed. London: W.H.Freeman

In text citation example:

Johnston (1998) claims that…

How to reference a journal article

An open book with pages 'leafed' openAuthor, Initials (Date in brackets) ‘Article Title’, Journal Title in italics, Volume number (issue number if available in brackets).


Bird, S (2014), ‘The Wonder of Flightless Birds’, Feathered Friends, 13 (2).

In text citation example:

Bird (2014, p.25) gives an overview of…

How to reference an article in an edited book

PencilsChapter Author, Initials (Date in brackets) ‘Chapter Title’, in Editor Book Title in italics Place of publication: Publisher, page number.


Buckley, K. (2007) ‘Penguins or Polar Bears’, in Horn, A. (ed.) Polar Friends. London: Penguin Press, p. 4.

In text citation example:

Buckley (2007, p.4) argues that…

How to reference a website

Photograph of a computer keyboardAuthor (Date in brackets) Title in italics. Available from <Website address> [Date accessed in square brackets].


World Wildlife Fund (2014) Adelie Penguins. Available from: <> [Accessed 23th October 2014]

In text citation example:

WWF (2014) states that…

How to reference an online video such as YouTube

YouTube logoName of person posting video, (Date video posted in brackets) Title of film or programme in italics. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).


John Downer Prod, (2014) Penguin Fail – Best Bloopers from Penguins Spy in the Huddle (Waddle all the Way). Available at < > (Accessed 23 October 2014)

In text citation example:

Prod, J (2014) states that…

Watch the video

A short video overview of plagiarism and the importance of referencing.


Duration: 1 minute 07 seconds

Have a go: drag-and-drop referencing dummies

Try this drag-and-drop exercise to demonstrate how to reference a range of different resources.


Test your knowledge: play the referencing quizAvatar of Steve the student

Help Steve the student graduate from University by correctly answering the multiple choice questions on referencing.