Principle of Referencing

University of Huddersfield

Principle of referencing

When you have included anything from published sources in your work, you must acknowledge it fully and accurately by:

  • identifying your sources, in a brief format, in the body of your written work (referred to as an in-text citation).
  • providing a detailed list of your sources in alphabetical order at the end of your work (known as a reference list).

Why reference?

Referencing is important in all academic work for the following reasons:

  • to show that you have researched/ read widely and found relevant information.
  • to support any claims you have made through reference to an authoritative author on the subject.
  • to enable readers of your work to trace the sources used and draw their own conclusions from the original works which you have cited.
  • referencing is generally part of the mark scheme for your assignments.
  • to avoid being accused of plagiarism. This is using someone else's work as your own without acknowledging it. If you do not acknowledge your source(s) you may be guilty of academic disconduct. For more details, please refer to the Regulations for taught students – Academic Misconduct

When do you need to reference?

You should acknowledge your source with a reference whenever you include:

  • mention of a theory, fact, argument or viewpoint attributable to a specific person.
  • statistics, examples or case studies.
  • illustrations or musical examples.
  • direct quotations/ paraphrase.

Common knowledge is information that is generally known to a reader so does not require a reference, e.g.

  • Paris is the capital of France.
  • Water is H20.

If in doubt as to whether something is common knowledge or not, please refer to an academic in your department.

Principle of referencing

The principle of referencing is to answer these basic questions about your sources:

principles of referencing diagram who what when where









There will not be specific guidance for every single source type. Sometimes you may need to find the source that is the closest ‘fit'. This may mean using elements from two source types.

These APA 7th reference examples or the printed Publication manual of the American Psychological Association: the official guide to APA style (7th edition) are very useful for unusual reference types.


See also:


web page URL: /pages/principleofreferencing/
last updated: Sat 25/Sep/2021