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Help with Referencing: APA Referencing

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What is referencing?

When you write an assignment or create any piece of academic work, you will be drawing upon information you have read in books, journal articles and other sources. You will be expected to acknowledge these sources through referencing.

Accurate referencing is very important because

  • it provides evidence for your arguments
  • it demonstrates that you have researched or read around the subject which you are writing about
  • 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 work 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

You should reference any kind of source of information that you use; books, journal articles, information on the internet, lecture notes, images, TV broadcasts, etc.

Whenever you use work by someone else, you must acknowledge it in two places:

  • by citation in the main body of your text.  Citations should enable a reader of your work to find the full details of your sources in your reference list.
  • by reference in a list at the end of your work.  References should enable a reader of your work to find your sources.

You are strongly advised to keep detailed records of all the sources you use. APA 6th ed is the most common referencing style used at Sheffield Hallam University.  However, not all students at SHU are expected to use APA for referencing. Please follow the guidance you are given by your tutors. Click on the Other referencing styles tab at the top of this page for more information,. 


APA referencing guides

You can find out more about APA in the APA Referencing: a quick guide leaflet produced by SHU Library. 

You should try the quick guide first to find out how to cite sources and create your reference list.  However, if you can't find the answer to your question try the APA referencing guide from the University of Huddersfield - A clear guide with reference building tools

If you still can't find an answer try looking in the Your APA reference list tab which has more details about creating references with APA, or try the APA FAQs tab.

Always check your references

Think of yourself as the quality controller of your reference list.  Make sure that your citations and references are as good as they can be by checking that all the details are correct and that you have followed the guidance provided.

Update news: the guide was last updated on 24th January 2017

What changed? 

  • 10/2/2017 The Online tools and apps tab has been updated with guidance about the changes to RefME and the introduction of New RefWorks. 
  • 24/01/2017 The online learning resource for referencing has been updated and is now called "An introduction to referencing" it still includes the same content
  • 05/01/2017  We have amalgamated the two tabs "Referencing" and "APA Referencing" into one tab "APA Referencing" We have moved the APA blog information to the FAQ tab. 
  • 11/11/2016   There is conflicting advice on using italics when referencing websites, depending on the referencing guidance you use. We have changed the electronic version of  APA Referencing: A quick guide to reflect best practice, which is NOT to use italics.

Try our interactive resource

Referencing at SHU - students and staff share their views on referencing

Watch this short video to see what students and staff at SHU have to say about referencing, why it is important and their top referencing  tips.

Bite-size training sessions for APA

Come along to a drop-in where you can ask any questions you have about APA referencing. To book a place go to The Bridge booking page