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What is Referencing?

referencing, Highlighted sections of a page for referencing Whilst studying at university 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.

Referencing can seem a bit daunting at first, but don’t panic! The introductory tutorial below will help you feel a bit more confident. It will also give you some ideas about how to avoid plagiarism and use techniques such as paraphrasing.

Referencing gets easier the more you do it, but if you still feel you need help after looking at the following resources then email or Ask a librarian (Ask a librarian is available 5pm – 9am)

In addition to the information and resources on this page, you can also find out more about referencing with Cite The Right via our Library and Academic Skills webinars:

Referencing with Cite Them Right Webinars

What is Cite Them Right?

Most courses, at the University of Cumbria, use the Harvard system of referencing contained in Cite them right 11th edition. This book is your key to referencing and can be accessed / purchased here:

  • Each of our libraries hold copies of Cite them right
  • Citethemrightonline is a fully electronic version (you will need to login, if accessing from off campus, using your normal university username and password).
  • Citethemrightonline is also available via the Useful Links button in the Student Hub.
  • Cite them right can be purchased from Amazon and other good book retailers.

Download our Quick Guide to Referencing for examples of how to reference some of the more common types of sources. 

We also have a Quick Guide to Referencing UK Legal and Government Sources, covering the legal materials, government publications and parliamentary inquiries used by our students.

We offer a Referencing with Cite Them Right webinar multiple times through the academic year, access our webinars page to book your place. 

If you are studying Psychology (APA), English (MHRA) or Law (OSCOLA) click here to find guidance on their referencing styles or see below.


Referencing Tutorials

Referencing online tutorial (open in a full screen window) 

Plagiarism and malpractice online tutorial (open in a full screen window) 

Referencing Videos

This series of videos introduces you to the subject of referencing:

Using Sources in Your Text

Reference Lists



Other Referencing Styles

APA – American Psychological Association

MHRA – Modern Humanities Research Association

OSCOLA – Oxford University Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities


What is Turnitin? 

turnitinlogo, Turn it in LogoThe University uses Turnitin for the electronic submission of assignments.  Turnitin is also a plagiarism software which will check your work for matches against other materials in its database.  You can use this software yourself, to check your work and avoid inadvertent plagiarism. 


To do this go to the Turnitin section in the skills@cumbria tab on Blackboard, where you will be able to submit your assignments. 

More information about Turnitin 



What is RefWorks? refworkslogo, RefWorks Logo

Refworks is an online reference management software that is available from the Eresources pages.  It helps you to collect your references and to create your reference list in the correct format.

A "Getting Started" guide is available from the main Refworks page.


  • Do you still have a question?

    Do you still have a question about any aspect of academic skills or subject resources? Complete the following form (including as much detail as possible) and we will aim to respond within 5 working days.

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