What is Referencing and Plagiarism?

Whilst studying you will need to refer to information from books, websites, journals and other sources in your assignments. You must acknowledge or ‘cite’ this information in your work and include full details in your list of references. If you don’t do this correctly, you could be accused of stealing other people’s ideas or words and trying to pass them off as your own. This is known as plagiarism. Plagiarism is a serious form of Academic Malpractice. The regulations governing Malpractice can be found in full in this document: Academic Regulations Appendix 3d Malpractice 

Referencing Styles

There are many different referencing styles in existence, please contact your module tutor for advice regarding the referencing style required for your module

Harvard - Cite Them Right:

Our Quick Guide to Referencing provides examples of how to reference some of the more common types of sources using Harvard-Cite-Them-Right style. Our Quick Guide to Referencing UK Legal Sources, covers key legal materials using Harvard-Cite-Them-Right style.


If you are studying law you may be required to use the OSCOLA (Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities) referencing style. Here are some useful guides

Referencing and Plagiarism FAQs:

  • Why do I need to reference sources?

    • It gives acknowledgment to another person or organisation's ideas and research.
    • It demonstrates your reading and provides evidence for the argument you are making.
    • It helps the reader find the source of the information and ideas in your writing.
    • It helps you to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism means presenting another person’s words or ideas as your own or modifying another person’s words and ideas without proper acknowledgment. Plagiarism, whether deliberate or accidental, is not tolerated at the University of Cumbria. 
  • When should a reference be used?

    • When quoting directly from a published source.
    • When summarising or paraphrasing ideas from a published source.
    • When paraphrasing a definition found on a website even if no writer, editor or author’s name is shown.
    • When using data or statistics, photographs or other images that are freely available from a book, journal article or publicly accessible website.
  • What is the difference between the List of References and a Bibliography?

    A List of References gives full information for sources you have cited in the main body of your document. A Bibliography is a list of all the sources you have read, including both those you have cited and those you have not cited in the main body of your document . Bibliographies are not normally used in the Harvard Reference Style, but your module tutor may ask you to include one.

    Please note that despite the difference highlighted above, sometimes these terms are used interchangeably. Please check with your module tutor if you are not sure about the requirements for a specific piece of writing.

  • Who should I contact for further support on referencing?

    Please contact your module tutor at Robert Kennedy College for any additional support or clarification. Or email studentcare@rkc.edu