University of Brighton Referencing

By | 28th April 2017

University of Brighton Referencing

Referencing is an important part of studying in higher education. It is a technical system that allows you to give credit to other people’s ideas; provide evidence of your reading and engage in debates with other authors on your subject. However, it takes practice and even experienced academics will consult referencing style guides for more unusual sources. Have a look at the answers to the following questions to get started:

What is a reference?

A reference – also known as a citation – is an exact note of the source of a piece of information. A typical reference or citation for a journal article, for example, would include the following elements:

  • author(s) name(s)
  • title of the article
  • journal title
  • year, volume or part when published
  • page numbers

Referencing has two parts – a citation in the text where you have used the source (this is normally written in a shorter form) and the full details of the source at the end of the text in a Bibliography (list of all the sources you have read for your essay, even those you have not cited) or a Reference List (list of all the sources you have cited).

What referencing style should I use?

There is no single system within the university for creating a reference. You should consult your course handbook or speak to tutors in your school to find out the system used in your school. Below are some quick guides to the most common referencing styles, although please note that within each of these styles listed below, different Schools will approach them slightly differently so please do read your course handbook for the precise guidelines to follow for your course.

Common referencing styles:

  • Harvard (from Anglia Ruskin University)
  • Vancouver (from the University of Manchester)
  • Oscola for Legal sources (from the University of Oxford)
  • MLA (from the University of Northampton)
  • Numerical (from the University of Worcester)
Why is referencing so important?

Referencing shows the reader of your work that you have read widely and provides evidence to support the claims you are making. It also ensures that you give proper credit to the author of the source to avoid accusations of plagiarism.

When a piece of coursework or an assignment is assessed, you may be penalised if you quote a piece of information without including the reference – and there may also be a penalty for using an incorrect reference! Remember: quotation without citation = plagiarism.

To find out more about plagiarism and the consequences of doing it – innocently or otherwise – click the Avoiding plagiarism link in the left-hand menu bar.

Referencing Software

There is software available to support you with referencing including an in-built referencing tool in Microsoft Word and more sophisticated packages such as EndNote which allows you to store and organise your references. For information on how to use EndNote see the Library guide.

Websites such as Neil’s Toolbox (Harvard) and RefME (multiple styles) are also useful tools for automatically generating references. However, department guidelines for referencing styles can be very specific, so if you use tools such as these, you should always check the references that they generate against your course’s style guide.

The university has five of its main referencing styles set up in RefME. These include:

  • University of Brighton Harvard
  • University of Brighton APA 6th
  • University of Brighton Harvard Chicago
  • University of Brighton MLA
  • University of Brighton Vancouver

There are also two school-specific styles set up with RefME:

  • Harvard – University of Brighton School of Environment & Technology
  • SASM (University of Brighton)

In order to find these styles in RefME, just search for Brighton.

The Online Library’s Subject Guides also have subject-specific RefME information in the ‘Managing references’ tabs of each of the guides. This information includes how to sign up for an account, how to use RefMe and export to make a bibliography, and a video showing how to get started.