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What is referencing? 

Referencing is a way to demonstrate you’ve done your research and reading, by backing up your points with a theorist or author who supports your point. At university, we want you to evidence your points, and providing a reference shows that your point is supported by researchers. 

However, you cannot pass someone else’s work off as your own – this is known as plagiarism and is taken very seriously. Therefore, if you mention someone else’s work, or quote a text, you must reference the person to give them credit. 

You then include a Biblography, or Reference List, to include the full information of the texts you used for your work. 

At York St John – we mainly use Harvard Referencing, but each version of referencing will have slightly different rules. For more information, take a look at our referencing guides:

What does it look like? 

When you read an article which includes references, normally this just means that there will be a person’s name, and a date, after the statement which they support. 

The way you reference depends on the type of text – I will demonstrate how to reference a book.

In my main body of text, I include the names, the date of publication and a page number.


  • Research findings may not support opinions you held prior to beginning your research (Greetham, 2014, p. 336).
  • Greetham (2014, p. 336) highlights that your research findings may not support opinions you held prior to beginning
    your research.
  • “Your research may not reveal what you expect” (Greetham, 2014, p. 336)

In my bibliography/reference list – I then need to list the full title and publication in this format: 

Format Author(s) (Published Year) Title of book in italics. Edition (if not 1st). Place of Publication: Publisher.
Example Hennessey, I. and Japp, A. (2016) The psychology of attitudes and attitude change. 2nd edn.
Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.

For more information about referencing – take a look at our website.

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