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Referencing: Bibliography and Citation List - Introduction

Referencing styles; creating a bibliography


Referencing - the process of giving credit to the original owner(s) of the material you may use in your work.

Citation - the way you tell readers that some material in your work came from another source.

Bibliography - an alphabetical list of  the citations.

Citation styles

When submitting an essay or other piece of academic work, you need to properly acknowledge the material that you have consulted. This allows others who read your work to verify facts or research the same information more easily. Acknowledgment may be in the form of  in text citations, footnotes, endnotes and/or a bibliography.

Different citing and referencing styles cater for the specific requirements of different disciplines.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the presentation of another person's work, ideas, or creations as your own, without acknowledging where those ideas came from. In other words - you take credit for someone else's work.

In academic writing, this is the same as cheating on an exam.

Specifically, plagiarism is:

  • copying phrases and passages word-for-word without quotation marks and without a reference to the author; this includes but is not limited to books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers and course notes
  • paraphrasing an author's work and presenting it without a reference; this includes but is not limited to sentences, paragraphs, ideas and themes
  • copying any part of another students' work
  • submitting items of assessment that are written in conjunction with other students (without prior permission of the relevant staff member)
  • submitting a piece of work has already been submitted for assessment in another course
  • presenting other people's designs and images as your own work
  • submitting work as your own that someone else has done for you.

If you have used someone else's work without acknowledging your source, you have plagiarised.

Why do I need to reference?

How to avoid plagiarism?

How to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism can sometimes be the result of poor note taking, or paraphrasing without properly citing the reference. You can avoid plagiarism by:

  • citing your references
  • referencing correctly
  • recording direct quotes and paraphrases correctly when note taking.


When you use the exact words, ideas or images of another person, you are quoting the author. If you do not use quotation marks around the original author's direct words and cite the reference, you are plagiarising.


Paraphrasing is when you take someone else's concepts and put them into your own words without changing the original meaning. Even though you are not using the same words you still need to state where the concepts came from.

Note taking

Poor note taking can lead to plagiarism. You should always take care to:

  • record all reference information correctly
  • use quotation marks exactly as in the original
  • paraphrase correctly
  • clearly distinguish your own ideas from the ideas of other authors and researchers.

Nobody likes a copycat. The ethical use of information

Attribution to Monash University

Some of the information in this guide has been sourced from Monash University.Thank you to the library staff at Monash University for their generous sharing of these resources.

Janet McGarry, Seth Paddle, Cassandra Freeman, Anne Melles, Kate Mallard, Sue Little, Jackie Weylan, Irene O’Leary (Project coordinator)