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for Undergraduates

UG CamGuides: How do I reference and avoid plagiarism?

Establishing good academic practice from the start of your degree

Bibliographies and lists of references

These appear at the end of your work and contain the bibliographic information (such as author and date) of the resources that you have used for your work. Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably. However you may also find that a bibliography refers to all the works you have consulted to write an essay, while a list of references may just refer to the works you have cited in the text. Your department/faculty, Director of Studies and/or supervisors will let you know which you are expected to produce.

In both cases you will create a list, ordered alphabetically by author surname (unless you are using the Vancouver style of referencing, which produces a list in the order in which they appear in the document). If you have multiple entries from an author, then usually you would list them chronologically. 

You may be required to divide your bibliography/list of references. For example, subjects that use primary and secondary material may ask for two lists, each ordered alphabetically by surname/institution.

It is important that anything which has an in-text citation is included in this list and that the details match, so that an in-text citation which usually only includes a surname and year, can be fully traced by the additional details provided in the list of references.

What information do I need?

books turned spine away from the cameraWe rely on the bibliographic data (author, title, date etc.) associated with books to find them. Even if you could remember what a book was about or quote large passages from it, can you imagine trying to browse the shelves for this book if all the spines were blank?

In the context of your course, think how frustrating it would be to only have the title for a book on a reading list. You might have to search through the online records of tens of books with the same name or waste time trying to guess which edition you should read. This is why you need a full reference on a reading list

It is also why academic staff need full references in essays or reports in many subjects, so that they can see from where you have sourced your ideas and words. There are different ways of referencing different resources. We only list the most common here, but you will be provided with specific information about referencing resources particular to your discipline at the appropriate stage in your course.

Click on the tabs to see which information you need to provide. These references are given in the Harvard referencing style. Each department will have different requirements but you'll need to collect similar information, even if you have to write it down in a different order or with different punctuation.

Types of reference - click on the type of reference to find out more

Include the following key information:

Author surname, initial(s). (Year of Publication) Title. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher
When an ebook looks like a printed book, with publication details and pagination, you should reference as a printed book:

Author surname, initial(s). (Year of publication) Title of book. Place of publication: Publisher.

If it does not look like a book, possibly because you are viewing it on a tablet, it may be missing key information, such as page numbers. You should indicate that you accessed an ebook version and the date of download or access:

Author surname, initial(s). (Year of publication) Title of book. Available at: URL (Downloaded: date).
If you are referencing the whole of an edited book, the reference will look the same as a single authored book:

Editor(s) surname(s), initial. (Year of publication) Title. Place of publication: Publisher.
When you cite a single chapter from an edited book, then the reference looks a little different:

Author surname, initial(s). (Year of publication) Title of chapter. In Editor(s) surname, initial (ed.) Title of book. Place of publication: Publisher, Page range of the chapter.
For an individual article from a journal, you should cite:

Author(s) surname(s), initial. (Year of publication) 'Article title', Journal Title, Volume (Issue), Page range of the article. DOI (if online)

If it is an e-journal article with no print equivalent, there may not be page numbers. In which case cite:

Author(s) surname(s), initial. (Year of publication) 'Article title', Title of Journal, Issue information. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).
There are many types of webpages. Some may have individual authors, others may be created by organisations and have no identifiable author. Some will have dates, or you may be left guessing when content was posted or last updated. Include as much information as you can find and always give the date when you accessed the page, in case it is deleted or updated between writing and submitting your work. For example:

Author or organisation name. (Year that the site was published/last updated) Title of webpage. Available at: URL (Accessed: date).
Newspaper articles are similar to journal articles:

Journalist's surname, initial(s). (Year of publication) 'Title of article', Title of Newspaper (Edition), Day and month, Page reference.


If it is online then make that clear and include the URL and date accessed.

Here is the information in these tabs in a single document:

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In-text citations and list of references 

Download the document below. It is a short piece of writing that includes a number of in-text citations and has a list of references.

Look at how the two link up and connect to one another. Which type of resource (book or journal article) have they mainly cited? Can you spot the in-text citation that isn't in the bibliography at the end of the document?

When you have completed the section on How do I find books and articles?, try and search for some of them on iDiscover (Cambridge University Libraries catalogue).

Image credits

CC0 by Jessica Ruscello via Unsplash

CC0 by Laura Jeffrey

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