Trinity College Dublin

Skip to main content.

Top Level TCD Links


Papers on the same subjects will use similar terminology, and draw on the ideas and research that has gone before. However, it is also expected that credit it given to sources by referencing them.

  • Readers can find the original sources and see if ideas are adequately represented
  • Shows author is not trying trying to claim another's ideas as their own (plagiarism)

References are presented in a shortened form in the text and in full as a reference list, using a reference style to display them in a standardised and comprehensive way.

The Disability Service has written the following guide to referencing:

Reference Styles

Inline styles

  • Brief summary of the reference in the text (such as listing the author and date)
  • Full reference stated at the end of the chapter or work
  • Generally the full list of references will be in alphabetical order by the first author’s surname

Numbered styles

  • Gives reference an ascending number in the text
  • Full references are listed in that order, either at the bottom of the page (footnotes) or at the end of the work or chapter (endnotes)

Individual styles will have guidelines on how to present the references in full:

  • Details on which order to present the bibliographic information
  • Grammar instructions such as how to use punctuation and capitalisation
  • Different rules will apply to different formats of sources

In some fields a standard style is customary, such as in physics journals where the AIP (American Institute of Physics) style is prevalent. The institution, department or journal to whom the work is to be submitted may insist on a paper using a certain citation style, or the work will be rejected.

The Library recommends putting references into a standardised style by using a bibliographic management program such as EndNote. This allows switching between hundreds of different reference formats at the click of a button.

Examples of Reference Styles

Full Academic Style Guides (PDF 39KB)

Specific Examples:



Modern Language Authority (MLA)

University of Chicago

Avoiding Plagiarism

Using another’s work without giving the original author credit is plagiarism. In Trinity College Dublin detected plagiarism will carry severe consequences, as stated in College Calendar. Most departments include elements taken from the Calendar in their own handbooks. It is the act of plagiarism rather than the intent to deceive that will be punished.

College departments deploy automated systems to check written submissions for copying; lecturers and examiners will be familiar with the key sources and notice when information has been used from them. Differences in style, terminology and accuracy in a paper will also be noticed.

  • Any direct inline quotes (i.e., in a sentence) of another’s words must be put into quotation marks and attributed
  • Paraphrases must be attributed. Avoid long segments of direct paraphrasing
  • Use block quotes (longer quotes as a separate paragraph) sparingly
  • Have a complete reference or omit the idea completely
  • Use a standardised reference style

It is vital to maintain accurate records of sources, to properly attribute the phrasing and ideas drawn from them:

  • Keep handwritten or word processed notes detailing each reference; or
  • Save particular searches or records (e.g., by marking those records) in individual databases, such as by using the “My NCBI” feature in PubMed; or
  • Mark records in the Online Catalogue and save or e-mail the results; or
  • Use bibliographic reference managing software (EndNote)


Last updated 4 December 2009 | Sitemap | Website Feedback | © 2015