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Library Guides

Sociology: Referencing

A guide to all things Library

What is referencing?

Referencing is a system that enables you to accurately record in your assignments the authors and sources you have read and the ideas you have discovered. There are several important reasons why you need to reference correctly:

  • Acknowledge the contribution that other authors have made to your thinking and argument.
  • Demonstrate the extent of your reading and your understanding of the subject area to the person marking your work.
  • Provide the information needed for the reader to trace the sources you have used and to read more on the topic.
  • Avoid committing plagiarism (taking the words or ideas of other people and presenting them as your own), which is an offence under the Academic Regulations and can lead to disciplinary action. See the University page on Plagiarism for more information.

When do I reference?

You need to provide a reference:

  • When you quote directly from a source
  • When you discuss the ideas of an author’s work in your own words - this is called paraphrasing
  • When you paraphrase and link together the ideas from two or more separate sources
  • When you include tables or diagrams from another source

This applies to any source you use - books, journal articles, newspapers, government reports, archival material, websites, images or any other source of information.

What style of referencing should I use?

Sociology students use the Harvard style of referencing. Check the Sociology Red book for detailed information on referencing.

You can also refer to the Westminster Harvard Citation and Referencing Guide for examples of referencing the main source types.