Academic Skills


The ability to reference work properly is one that all students need. Referencing is done for several reasons. Here are some of them:

  • To observe academic conventions
  • To support what you have written
  • To prove that you have done relevant reading
  • To acknowledge someone else’s ideas
  • To avoid accusations of plagiarism
  • To enable the reader to follow up on your research
  • To please your tutor

There are many styles of referencing but the main difference is between those that use the author/date citation in the text and those that use a numbering system with footnotes. For all of your reading, whichever system you use, you will need to note down:

  • Who the author is
  • When it was published
  • What the exact title is
  • Where it was published
  • When it was published

If you are quoting, then you also need to note down page numbers. For electronic resources these details are not always available so you need to be guided by the convention in your discipline. The important point is to be consistent within a piece of work and conform as far as possible to your subject guidelines. All departments give you information on referencing and it is best to follow those guidelines in detail. The most frequently used referencing style is known as the Harvard System. The version now recommended at this university is APA7.This is the one that you will find detailed in the University of Huddersfield Library help sheets at Huddersfield University Library - Help sheets. For a quick guide to referencing a particular type of work go to: University of Portsmouth - Referencing.

If your Department uses the Harvard system you can use this guide

History use a slightly different system which is APA7 but with footnotes. Help sheet is attached here

If you want to know more about general referencing, go to: Leeds University Library - Referencing

Referencing is an important part of academic work so you need to get to grips with it as soon as you can. Don't just ignore it and think it will go away or you could lose marks or even be accused of plagiarism if you don’t do it properly. See below and visit for help on recognising plagiarism.

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