Research help: Referencing

Information or ideas from other people's work used in the writing of your essays or reports must be acknowledged. The method you choose to use must be consistent throughout your document. Several methods have been developed over the years to record details of the sources you have used for your work.

Well-known methods include Harvard (also known as the author-date system), American Psychology Association (APA) and Oxford (documentary-note). This document gives links to resources on these methods. Other methods not covered here include Chicago, MLA and Vancouver.

Different methods are generally favoured by different subject disciplines. Always contact your teacher before using a bibliographic style as they may have a preferred method.

bibliography or reference list is a complete list of all the books, articles, and other information sources you have read or used to help you write your essay or assignment. It should be arranged alphabetically by the author's surname.

What's the difference between a bibliography and a reference list?
A bibliography is a list of all the resources that have been read in the researching of your assignment, but not necessarily used.  A reference list includes only the resources that have been used and cited in your assignment.

Why should I reference my work?

  • It demonstrates that you have researched and considered the ideas of others in developing your argument.
  • It provides the person marking the work with the specific names, dates and location of the information sources that you have used.
  • It ensures that you are not guilty of plagiarising.
  • Record details as you take notes (e.g. author, title, year)
  • Record the URL or web address for websites.
  • Use the library catalogue to get details of books and DVDs. 
  • Write down the page number where you found useful information.
  • When quoting - use " " to show exact wording for in-text citations.

Learn more about referencing in the following tutorial.

Try this interactive reference to create your references in APA or Harvard style.

This eBook covers all main forms of referencing.

Oxford referencing system
Also known as the documentary-note method.

The Vancouver system was first published by the Vancouver Group and was named after it. This style of referencing is mainly used in medicine and was further developed by the National Library of Medicine (US).

Annotated bibliographies

An annotated bibliography provides a brief account of the available research on a given topic. It is a list of research sources that includes concise descriptions and evaluations of each source.

Try this great guide from the University of New South Wales - it contains links to more information and other examples.

How to do bibliographies and referencing in TAFE NSW

TAFE NSW citation generator

Select the style for the citation generator required and fill in the details of the sources you use in your work and the citation generator will give you a citation that matches the TAFE NSW guidelines.

Check out the detailed TAFE NSW guides below. Ask your teacher which style you need to apply.

Using the reference tab in Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 365

Please note that all citations have to comply with the TAFE NSW bibliography and referencing guides.

The following video demonstrates how to create a bibliography in Word 2016.

The following websites by Microsoft provide step by step instructions for using the reference tab in Word.