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Referencing Toolkit

Referencing Styles

The content in the Referencing Toolkit is based on the Referencing Style Guides created by Victoria University, Melbourne. Used with Permission.

Academic writing involves researching the ideas of other people, which you can combine with your own ideas and conclusions. Learning to acknowledge other people’s work through in-text citing and referencing will help differentiate between their ideas and your own. This is central to the idea of academic honesty.

While there are many different styles of referencing, at Newington College the preferred referencing styles for academic work are APA 6th edition (for in-text citation/works cited) and Oxford (for footnotes/endnotes).

Please use this toolkit for guidance on how to reference your work.

Please check your assessment information for the style of referencing required. It may differ between subjects.

Reasons for Referencing

  • To show respect for the original source. Using someone else's work as your own without properly acknowledging it is considered intellectual theft.
  • To demonstrate that you have done the research. Your lecturer want to see that you have considered the experts when forming the basis of your arguments.
  • To show what research you've done. Your teacher must assess the quality of your research. Accurate referencing following a specific style will enable the reader to easily locate and verify your research.
  • To avoid plagiarism. Failure to properly acknowledge the work of others means you are implying that the idea or words are yours. This is plagiarism and the consequences may affect your academic progress at university.


Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else's work or idea and passing it off as your own. The consequences for plagiarism apply even for unintentional plagiarism.

Types of plagiarism

  • Directly quoting other people's words from online or printed sources without acknowledgement (you also need to acknowledge using images, tables, graphs, statistics, videos, music, formulae, laboratory data).
  • Paraphrasing or summarising someone else's thoughts or ideas without crediting and citing your source (even using someone else's ideas and rewriting it in your own words needs to be referenced).
  • Careless or incomplete referencing of your source.
  • Copying or buying an essay and handing it in as your own work.
  • Falsely creating a reference that doesn't exist.
  • Presenting another student's research data as your own.
  • Collusion - presenting an assignment as your own independent work when it has been produced in whole or part with other people (for example another student or tutor).

Avoiding plagiarism

The best way to avoid plagiarism is to recognise when you need to provide a reference.

  • If you have quoted directly from someone else's work you must place double quotation marks around the text and provide a reference.
  • If you have paraphrased someone else's work or used another persons idea or theory you must provide a reference.
  • If what you are writing is common knowledge or your own thought you don't need to provide a reference.

Other strategies to avoid plagiarism include:

  • Start early. Mistakes often occur when you are rushed and there are no short cuts for referencing. Remember, you may be penalised for incorrect referencing.
  • Always note all the details you need for your reference list, particularly when printing from the Internet or electronic journal databases. Consult the referencing style guides for these details.
  • Remember to check with your lecturer which referencing style they would prefer you to use.
  • Your lecturer may ask you to use Turnitin, a plagiarism detection software you can use to check your assignments.

How Do I Quote?

A direct quotation should be presented within quotation marks, followed by the author's surname, year of publication, and page number, inside curved brackets.


e.g. "as the drama draws to a close, its characters and events vanish into thin air, since, being fictions, there is nowhere for them to go" (Eagleton, 2013, p. 47).

e.g. Latimer (2016) states that "even if the contract is read, it may not be understood" (p. 400).

When should I quote?

  • to provide support from an expert
  • to present another's argument or perspective to analyse, critique or comment on
  • to include particularly interesting or historically important language

How Do I Paraphrase?

Even when using your own words to explain someone else's idea - you must reference the original author. To effectively paraphrase, read the paragraph several times to understand what it means, close the book or browser and then re-write it in your own words.


e.g. The second Vatican Council was a significant event in Australian and international Catholicism, which occurred over 45 years ago. (Black, 1991, p. 20).

e.g. Lichtheim (1970) argues that anarchism as a social movement is now only significant in historical context, as the social implications are no longer relevant in the current world (p. 228).

When should I paraphrase?

  • to provide support from an expert
  • to present another's argument or perspective to analyse, critique or comment on
  • what you want from the source is the idea, not the specific language used to communicate it
  • you can summarise the key point of the source