When using ideas, quotations, diagrams and concepts from other sources in your own academic work you will need to reference them correctly. Referencing is good academic practice and helps your reader understand where particular phrases and ideas in your work are from. Referencing also helps you to avoid plagiarism.
This module will help you to understand why and how to reference other sources, discuss the University's guidance on plagiarism, and show you some useful resources to help with your referencing, including reference managers that can help you keep track of your references from the beginning of a project to the final write-up.
The Engineering Library team offer support and training on referencing, so feel free to contact us if you have any questions. If you want to book a one-to-one supervision for more personalised support, please use our Booking Form.
To see what training is available this year please see our Training Programme.
Completion of the Referencing activity in this module fulfils the requirement for the Information Management badge and counts towards the Informed Engineer badge.
Badges will be awarded at the end of each Term.
You will need to reference anything you find in another source that isn't your own original work, including:
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References are there for readers to be able to follow up the original source of a quote or idea in your work. This means that you will need to include enough information to allow your reader to do this. You will need to include:
Depending on the type of source you are referencing, you may also need:
And for online resources, the date of retrieval (when you accessed it) and the URL or DOI.
The website Cite Them Right provides information, templates and examples for a range of referencing styles and sources.
There are several different referencing styles and formats that can be used to reference sources in your work. Some of the most common include Harvard, APA and IEEE. The University, and the Department, do not have one specific referencing style that you must use, although specific courses may do. If you are unsure which referencing style to use, speak to your supervisor or course leader.
There are some key points which will be common to most referencing styles:
(Adapted from the University of Cambridge website on Referencing Conventions)
Guides to Referencing Styles:
Guide to Harvard Referencing from Imperial College, London
APA Tutorial from the University of Cardiff
Reference management software can help you to organise and keep track of all the articles, books and other sources you have read, and ensue that your references are formatted correctly.
Reference management software will let you download references from catalogues and databases, store pdfs and take notes, keeping everything in the same place and searchable so you can track it down later.
Two of the most popular reference managers are Mendeley and Zotero. These are free tools that enable to you download, store and annotate references and documents. One of the most useful aspects lets you cite references in a document and automatically builds your bibliography/list of references.
You can watch a short video on using these below, or see the Mendeley and Zotero guides for more information. Please note that if you use an institutional (i.e. University of Cambridge) login on Mendeley you will not have access to the desktop version.
The quiz below will help test your knowledge of referencing, based on what you have learned in this module.
Completion of the Referencing Quiz activity in this module fulfils the requirement for the Information and Data Manager badge and counts towards the Informed Engineer badge. Badges will be awarded at the end of each Term.
Plagiarism is using someone else’s ideas, words, data, or other material produced by them without acknowledgement. It includes Self-Plagiarism - using your own ideas, words, data or other material produced by them and submitted for formal assessment at this University or another institution, or for publication elsewhere, without acknowledgement. Plagiarism is both poor scholarship and a breach of academic integrity.
Examples of plagiarism include:
If you would like guidance on any aspect of plagiarism or referencing, please ask a member of the library team.
The University of Cambridge website has information on Plagiarism and Academic Misconduct.
You can also access detailed guidance on the Good Academic Practice and Avoiding Plagiarism Guide.