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Help with Referencing: Referencing

Find out why referencing is important, how to create correct citations and bibliographies in the Harvard style and learn about some useful referencing software

What is referencing?

When you write an assignment you will be drawing constantly upon information you have read in books, journal articles and other sources. Your lecturers will want you to acknowledge these sources through referencing.

Accurate referencing is very important because

  • it demonstrates that you have researched or read around the subject which you are writing about
  • it provides evidence for your arguments
  • it allows any reader of your work to find the original sources you used
  • it shows that you are not passing off someone else's research as your own thoughts

You should reference whenever you use someone else's work in your own work; not only when you quote but also when you paraphrase or summarise someone's ideas.

Never copy and paste information into your work without referencing it. This is plagiarism.

RefWorks and referencing software

Referencing software can help you keep an accurate record of the resources you have used and can automatically create correctly formatted citations and bibliographies to insert into your work.

At SHU we recommend RefWorks and the Microsoft Word Citations & Bibliography tool.

For information on how to use these tools see

Harvard referencing help guide

The definitive guide!

The Sheffield Hallam University Guide to Harvard Referencing and Citations offers detailed and comprehensive guidance on the Harvard referencing style recommended at SHU, including

  • why you need to reference
  • how to cite in your work 
  • how to produce a bibliography

With examples of how to cite and reference a huge number of different types of material.

The guidelines for referencing in the Harvard-SHU style have changed. The guide above and the examples on this site follow the new recommendations published in September 2014.

Referencing quick guide

Image credit: Sheffield Hallam University

Pick up a Referencing leaflet from the Helpdesk for a quick guide to the SHU-Harvard style of referencing and some examples of the most common types of reference.