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The purpose of citing references is so that a reader of your essay or paper  will be able to look up the material based on the information you provided.

References are also an important way of acknowledging ideas, information and quotations that are not your own.  By not acknowledging the work of others you may seem to be presenting the work as your own and thereby committing plagiarism. For more information and examples of plagiarism check out

  • Record the complete publication details of any reference, e.g. book, journal article, video or website etc
  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • City of publication
  • Publisher
  • Page numbers
  • Recording information and references on index cards and filing them alphabetically can help you to keep your source information in order

Make sure to record the exact page number when you are writing down a quotation. If it is a generally accepted idea within your field it probably doesn’t need to be cited but always reference if you are using it to back up criticism or evaluation, e.g. Smith (1980) states that...

Here is an example of citing in the written text:
Referring to an item in your text is known as citing. You then need a list of references at the end of your work to indicate where the citation can be found.” (Drew & Bingham, 1997, p.47)

The full reference is then listed in a bibliography (sometimes called a reference list) at the end of the assignment in alphabetical order as follows:

Drew, S, and Bingham R. (1997) The Student Skills Guide. Aldershot: Gower Publishing Ltd.

This is referred to as the Harvard System of citing references.  Please check what style of referencing your department uses as some prefer footnotes or endnotes rather than citing in the text.  Also punctuation and other details may vary from departmental guidelines.


For further information on referencing  please refer to your course handbook and check Trinity Library on

Endnote is a program which automatically organises your references for you. For more information visit:

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Tips on Referencing

This 2 page guide gives you some tips on referencing.

Download: Quick Tips on Referencing- (MS Word 113 kB)

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Last updated 16 December 2015 by Student Learning Development (Email) .