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Referencing Information

This section tells you what referencing is, why it is so important and how to do it.

Academic integrity

Academic integrity is about truth, honesty and fairness in regards to academic work. Upholding these values protects the credibility of the qualification you will earn at UEL.

Our policy and regulations aim to ensure that the work submitted for assessments is the genuine and original work of that person and not plagiarised (taken from others) or a result of collusion (created with others but submitted as your own). There is a sliding scale of penalties for students who do not follow UEL's academic misconduct regulations when submitting work.

What do you need to do?
  • Reference all your work correctly and cite every source you have used. See the Plagiarism and Referencing pages for help with this.
  • Run your draft assignments through Turnitin - a tool which checks your work for matching text on the internet and in other students’ submissions. For help, see the Turnitin guide on the UEL E-learning website.
  • Read the academic integrity policy on the UEL academic integrity website.
  • Talk to your tutor if there is anything you are not sure about.


Plagiarism is taking another person's words or ideas and using them as if they were your own. You are responsible for ensuring your work does not contain any plagiarised words or ideas.

Plagiarism does not just apply to written text. Plagiarism is also using another person's ideas, concepts, spoken words, images, diagrams, tables or other data without referencing the original source. Plagiarism could apply to any form of assessed work, for example, using parts of an existing computer program to create your own program.

Plagiarism is taken very seriously at UEL. If you are found to have plagiarised any part of your work, you will fail that assignment. In serious cases, you can be expelled from the university.

Take the 'Is it plagiarism?' quiz to check your understanding or, for more in-depth exercises, go to the  PLATO software package.

    Academic work requires that you use and gather ideas from a variety of sources and refer appropriately to these sources within your work. This is known as ‘referencing'.

    Referencing is essential in maintaining academic integrity standards. It involves naming all sources of information used in your work. This includes paraphrased ideas and concepts, direct quotations and any other information used, such as maps, diagrams, tables, interviews, etc.

    Referencing properly is important for many reasons:
    • to acknowledge the work of other writers and avoid plagiarism
    • to demonstrate the body of knowledge on which you based your discussion and argument
    • to enable other researchers to trace your sources and lead them on to further information.
    See How to reference for an explanation of citations, reference lists and bibliographies. Follow the links to Harvard referencing and APA referencing for guidance and examples of the two referencing styles used at UEL.


    You need to name all your sources in two ways: by identifying them within the body of your text (known as 'citing') and in an alphabetical list at the end of your work.

    There are specific formats you must follow for identifying all sources in your citations and in the reference list at the end of your work. At UEL, we use the Harvard referencing style. There are many variations of Harvard referencing so we have adopted a standardised format known as 'Cite Them Right'. A different style called APA referencing is used in the Field of Psychology. Follow the links for more information on how to reference in each style.

    For each assignment, check with your tutor whether they require you to produce a reference list or bibliography or possibly both.

    A reference list only includes the named sources you have cited within the text of your assignment. In the Harvard style, your list should be arranged alphabetically by the author's surname, or by the title if there is no author. There should be just one list for all your references. Do not split the list into separate sections for books, journals, websites etc.
    A bibliography includes all your in-text citations plus any other sources of information you have used in preparing your assignment. So your bibliography repeats everything in your reference list plus all other sources you read or consulted but did not cite. You should use the same full reference format for your bibliography as for your reference list.

    How to reference

    It is essential that you learn the 'Cite Them Right' style of Harvard referencing used at UEL. You must use this standard format in all your assignments.

    Harvard referencing emphasises the author and date of a source. In-text citations are linked to a final reference list making it easy for a reader to locate the original information used in your assignment.

    Download the guide to find out how to format in-text citations and full references for different kinds of information. You can also try the quizzes to check you can do this correctly.

    There is more detailed information and guidance available to all students in the 'Cite Them Right' website and book.

    How to Harvard reference

    APA is another referencing style used by the Field of Psychology at UEL.

    If you are studying in the Field of Psychology, you will need to use another referencing style known as APA which stands for American Psychological Association. APA referencing also uses an author-date format like Harvard and full details of sources are listed alphabetically in a reference list at the end of your work.
    See the 'Referencing using APA' guide for a brief outline of how to use this style. A more detailed online guide is available here.

    APA referencing

    Observing copyright

    Most printed and electronic resources are protected by copyright restrictions. Make sure you have the right permission to copy or download any resource you plan to use.

    Copyright restrictions are not just guidelines, they are law. You do not automatically have the right to copy or download books, articles, images, photos, diagrams, newspapers and magazines, videos, tables of data, etc. The copyright agreement may give you limited rights, eg. to copy a single chapter of a book, or use some information for non-commercial purposes. In some cases, you can not use a resource at all without specific permission from the author or publisher.

    Download the 'Copyright basics' guide for a summary of the basic restrictions affecting students. The library's online copyright guide also answers common questions on copyright. If you're still in doubt, ask a librarian for advice.

    Remember, observing copyright is not the same as referencing. You still need to cite every resource you have used correctly in all your assignments.

    Need other help?

    Be proactive in seeking help if you need it. There are many people and services in the university that offer guidance on all kinds of areas related to your studies.

    When you are researching your first assignment you may well find that you need other kinds of help and support. You just need to know who to ask or where to look and then make time to find what you need. The most important thing is that you take responsibility for your own learning. Many people are there to help you but only you can do it!

    Check the 'Where to find help?' guide for information on library enquiries, the European Computer Driving Licence, study skills, English language skills, IT queries, pastoral and personal support and other issues.