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Referencing and Plagiarism: FAQs

Referencing in the APA style.

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Dear Librarian,

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I am still confused with referencing? What should I do?

Ask for help!  If you are not sure what to do, you should contact your lecturer or your Campus library for assistance. We are able to conduct group training sessions in the library by arrangement. 

You can also do our Self-paced Referencing course.


 I can't find the example reference I need in this guide. What should I do?
In general, a reference should contain the author's name (Who), date of publication (When), title of the work (What), and publisher (How).
You want your reader to be able to retrieve and use the source, therefore, APA states that when in doubt, provide more information rather than less.
When you cannot find the example reference you need, choose the example that is most like your source and follow that format. Sometimes you will need to combine elements of more than one reference format. 
For more information contact your Campus Library. Library staff will be happy to help. 
What happens if I can't find all the bibliographic information I need for referencing?

The other place to look for bibliographic information for referencing is the library's catalogue. Alternatively, you can search the National Library of Australia catalogue (called Trove), or ask at your Campus Library for assistance.


What is plagiarism?

Copying the words and ideas of others without acknowledging correct ownership is called plagiarism.  The solution is learning to correctly reference words or ideas that you have copied within your report or essay. Bear in mind that cutting and pasting from several sources to create a paper (even when correctly referenced) is considered plagiarism. Refer to In-text Citations for more information on proper use of quotes, paraphrases or summaries.  Remember that quotes should be used sparingly.

To avoid plagiarism, take careful notes as you do your research/gather information to keep track of sources. Use your own words as much as possible and get someone to proof-read your work to check for grammar, sentence structures, spelling, etc.


When do I reference?

  • Reference the work of individuals whose ideas, theories, research have directly influenced your work.  
  • Reference whenever providing evidence/information to support what you are writing about or when providing critical definitions or key background information.
  • In addition, you must reference when providing facts and figures that are not common knowledge. (i.e. statistics) 


What is the difference between a reference list and a bibliography?

A Bibliography is listed after the Reference List. This list refers to all the resources read in preparation of your assignment, whereas, the Reference List refers to resources you have read and used/referenced/cited in your assignment.


How many sources should I have in my assignment?

The number of sources you reference in your work will vary, depending on your lecturer and the type of assignment.  Aim to cite/reference one or two sources for each key point in your assignment. 


Can I copy/quote several paragraphs from the internet, place them in quotation marks and reference them in my assignment? 

Direct quotations should be limited because numerous or lengthy quotes give the impression that you are taking a less well-researched approach to presenting the subject topic. Your lecturer is more interested in what you have to say in your own words and whether you understand the topic.  


When do I italicise a title?

For more information, read To Italicise or Not to Italicise?


Do I reference within PowerPoint presentations?

Yes. You should reference within PowerPoint presentations where possible. This is the same as referencing within reports and essays.

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Short Quote : Information copied word-for-word from another author's work, being less than 40 words in length.

Long Quote : Information copied word-for-word from another author's work, being more than 40 words in length.

Paraphrasing : Expressing another author's ideas in your own words.

In-text Citation : A reference that is listed within your document,referring to an entry in your Reference List.  The In-text citation identifies the source of the information you are using in your document.

End-text Reference : A reference that is listed at the conclusion of your work, in the Reference List.

Reference List : A list of all the references you have used in your document, and which you have cited using an in-text citation.

Plagiarism : Copying another author's words or ideas with acknowledging them.

DOI : Digital Object Identifier, a unique string of numbers and letters, used to idenitfy a specific digital thing (like an electronic article).

Referencing System : A group of rules and principles that is used to acknowledge the contribution of other authors that have directly influenced your work.


The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumerical string assigned to any entity for use on digital networks. The DOI provides current information on where the digital object can be found on the Internet.

All DOIs begin with a 10 and contain a prefix and a suffix separated by a slash. The prefix is a unique number of 4 or more digits assigned to organisations while the suffix is assigned by the publisher. Example of a DOI is: 10.1017/S0022109011000123.

When a DOI is used, no further retrieval information is needed to identify or locate the content. Where available, the DOI should be included in your reference list.

An example of a journal citation with a DOI is as follows:

 Smith, F.P., Arts, H.W. & Thomas, C.R. (2003). The influence of individual beliefs
       and values in financial decision making process, Journal of Finance15(4).
       doi: 10.1017/S0022109011000123 

Not all digital resources come with a DOI. If the DOI is not available, you should provide the URL information in the reference.