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These pages will introduce you to the concept of academic integrity, signpost you to the University’s policies on academic malpractice, and support you in referencing your academic work.

Academic integrity

The International Center for Academic Integrity (2014) defines academic integrity as honesty, trust, fairness, respect, responsibility, and courage in your academic work.

At University you are part of a learning community and as such will be developing, discussing and sharing new or long-standing ideas as you study. This is great, and very much encouraged, but it is important to ensure how you share or present these ideas, particularly those belonging to other people, acknowledges their original source.

Skills around academic integrity can and will develop over your time at university.  If you have any immediate questions or concerns speak to your academic tutors, who can offer you guidance and support.

The University defines academic malpractice as ‘an attempt to gain an advantage over other students by the use of unfair and/or unacceptable methods’ (Edge Hill University, 2018).  Find out more about the University’s policies on academic malpractice.

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What is referencing?

Referencing is the acknowledgment of all the sources that have been cited in your assignment, whether you have quoted them directly or paraphrased. This can include sources such as books, journal articles, and webpages. There are various referencing styles available and your tutor will let you know which one they want you to use in your work.

Why do I need to reference?

Referencing the sources of information that you use in your work is an essential part of academic writing, so it is important to understand how to do it. This is a skill you will develop throughout your time at university, so don’t worry if you aren’t a referencing pro just yet.  And although accurately acknowledging your sources ensures your academic integrity, it also demonstrates the scope of your research, which could even help improve your marks.

Accurate referencing in your assignment helps to direct your readers to the information you have used, demonstrates that you have researched your topic thoroughly, supports your arguments, gives your work an evidential basis, and protects against charges of plagiarism.

When do I need to reference?

You need to reference any time you use, or refer to, another person’s work within your own work.

All styles of referencing consist of two parts: a citation in the main text of your assignment and a complete list of references at the end of your work. The list at the end of your work is often called a reference list or bibliography.  A reference list is an explicit list of sources cited in your assignment.  A bibliography also includes any wider materials that has informed your assignment.  Check which style your tutor requires for each assignment.

Top referencing tips

  • Check your module handbook or speak to your tutor to check you are using the right style.
  • Make use of online style guides and toolkits available.
  • Keep a record of all your sources – this will make writing them all up much easier.
  • Be consistent.

Harvard referencing

Harvard is a generic term for any style that uses the author-date format for references embedded within the main body of your assignment. These citations are accompanied by a full list of references, in alphabetical order, at the end of your work in a section often called your reference list or bibliography.

Take a look at some examples below, and make use of the Harvard Referencing Guide or,

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Journal article


Not all subjects will use Harvard style of referencing, so be sure to check with your tutor which style they would like you to use. Other styles of referencing can be accessed via your Subject Resources.

Other referencing styles

Although Harvard is the most common style of referencing used at Edge Hill University not all subjects will use it, so be sure to check with your tutor on which style they would like you to use. Other styles of referencing can be accessed via your subject resources pages.

American Psychological Association (APA)

British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC)

Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA)

Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA)



RefWorks is a web-based bibliography and database manager. It can help you to manage your research and save the bibliographic information in one place, which can then be used to create your bibliography.

Although RefWorks can help manage your references it is not a substitute for knowing how to reference.  However it can help you manage your citations and reading material, which can be helpful when conducting a large piece of research.

You can access RefWorks via the RefWorks website. The first time you log in to RefWorks you will need to create an account, take a look at the RefWorks Guide for support setting this up and using effectively.

Referencing support

Once you have read through all the information on these referencing webpages, have accessed your referencing guidance (such as the Harvard Referencing Guide or guidance on your Subject Resources webpages) and had a go of the online Harvard Reference Toolkit, if you still have a question about your referencing you can take a look through our online knowledge base of referencing FAQs or Ask Us a question online.

Useful guides and toolkits


Online toolkits:

Further help and support