Skip to main content

DMU Referencing Guide: Home

Collecting and organising references

It is often not easy (or possible) to retrieve sources after you have written your text. For this reason it is best to keep a good record of everything you use. Reference management software, such as RefWorks, Mendeley or Zotero, will help you organise your references according to different citation systems, and to add the citations to your text. There are other tools you may wish to use. However, it is important to remember whichever tools you use, you are responsible for ensuring your references comply with the referencing scheme your department wants you to use, and therefore you do need to check their accuracy.

DMU Library and Learning Services subscribe to RefWorks and are able to offer support in using this tool. For further information and help in using RefWorks, please see our RefWorks guide.

Help and Support

Further help and support is available from the First Floor desk of the Kimberlin Library, and from Just Ask (0116 257 7042).

You can also seek help from a librarian, either at one of our regular drop-in sessions held in the Learning Development Zone of the Kimberlin Library (during term-time held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2-3pm) or through a one-to-one appointment.

Business School referencing

Business School students please note - in Summer 2018 the Business School agreed to use the DMU Harvard Referencing Guide for all students, and not the separate Business School Harvard guide used previously. Please do ensure you familiarise yourself with the referencing system of the DMU Harvard Referencing Guide. 

Introduction to Referencing

  • When writing a piece of work you should provide references to the sources used.
  • A reference is the detailed bibliographic description of the item from which you gained your information.
  • In simple terms, this means the details of the items that you have used, e.g. author, title, date of publication.
  • References are briefly cited within the text, and then given in full at the end of your work in a reference list.
  • Any other items read for background information but not referred to in the text should be given in full at the end of your work in a bibliography.

References are used to:

• Enable the reader to locate the sources you have used;

• Help support your arguments and provide your work with credibility;

• Show the scope and breadth of your research;

• Acknowledge the source of an argument or idea. Failure to do so could result in a charge of plagiarism.

Achieving Good Academic Practice

Referencing is considered good academic practice, and it is essential for acknowledging the sources you have used in your work, and for avoiding a charge of plagiarism. Plagiarism is an academic offence, and is defined by the University Student Regulations as 'the significant use by a student of other people's work and the submission of it as though it were is or her own'. You can avoid plagiarism with correct referencing.

Citation Styles

Various citation styles exist. They convey the same information, only the presentation of that information differs. You should always check with your department to find out which referencing style they prefer you to use.

Most style guides fall into two commonly used systems:

• author-date system (e.g. Harvard, APA);

• numeric system (e.g. Vancouver, MLA, IEEE).

Whichever system you use, it is important that you are consistent in its application.

Here are links to the online library guides for the key citation styles used at DMU. 

Harvard Referencing Guide

IEEE Referencing Guide

Or if you prefer you can use the online version of the printed guide

The Harvard System of Referencing Guide PDF

IEEE System of Referencing PDF