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Boost your research skills for your Built Environment dissertation

You will find out:

  • Information about the APA referencing style.
  • Why we reference and how to find out how to reference specific types of information.
  • What specific key terms mean when discussing referencing.
  • That you have options! You can manual write your references or use online referencing tools.

1. Make sure you know what referencing style you are required to use!

In September 2021, the university adopted APA 7 as the standard referencing style.

If in any doubt, check what referencing style you are expected to use before you begin your dissertation! You can check by looking in your module handbook, the dissertation brief, the module site or with one of your teaching team.

2. Lets check our referencing understanding!

This is a picture of a light bulb.                      Activity 1: Answer these poll based questions to check your understanding about referencing.

All the answers are in Box 4: Answers on the Support section!

Question 1: Accurate referencing is important because...
It provides evidence for your arguments.: 0 votes (0%)
It demonstrates that you have researched or read around the subject which you are writing about.: 0 votes (0%)
It allows any reader of your work to find the sources you used.: 0 votes (0%)
It shows that you are not passing off someone else's work as your own thoughts.: 0 votes (0%)
You get marks for it in assignments.: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0
Question 2: Which referencing style should I be using for my work?
APA 7: 0 votes (0%)
Harvard: 0 votes (0%)
I can choose my own approach: 0 votes (0%)
I am unsure: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0
Question 3: Citing is...
Is referring to someone else’s work or ideas in the text of your work.: 13 votes (65%)
Is when you quote a persons work word by word.: 4 votes (20%)
When you paraphrase another persons work.: 3 votes (15%)
Total Votes: 20
Question 4: References to the information I use are put...
At the end of my work.: 20 votes (86.96%)
In footnotes.: 2 votes (8.7%)
In the citation.: 1 votes (4.35%)
Total Votes: 23
Question 5: I create my citations and references by...
Typing them into word processing software: 0 votes (0%)
Using a website to create my references: 0 votes (0%)
References option in MS Word: 0 votes (0%)
Copy and paste references in from Library Search: 0 votes (0%)
Use Refworks: 0 votes (0%)
Total Votes: 0

The answers to the questions should help you understand where you can develop your referencing skills.

If answered any of the questions incorrectly then you may want to refresh your understanding about how to and when to reference. There are a range of guides below to help you find out more about citations and referencing.

If you got all the questions correct then you may want to take a look at using online tools to help you cite and reference information.

3. Online tools that can help with referencing and citing information

There are a range of online options and tools that you could choose to use instead of typing your references out yourself.

Whichever approach you choose, you still need to know what an APA citation and reference should look like. Ultimately, all referencing apps and software are only as good as the metadata they draw on; and if that metadata is flawed or incompatible, then the apps and software can omit or duplicate information.

You need to have the referencing knowledge to spot if your citation and reference is correct or you may lose marks in your assignment!

Reference tools in resources

Many online resources like Library Search and other databases have a reference tool. You can use the tool to create a reference to the piece of information you are using in your work. All resources are slightly different and you will need to look around the screen for the reference function. 

Does Library Search have a reference tool?

The good news is that, yes, it does! You can see an example of the tool in Library Search below. 

The screenshot below shows how you can select APA 7. Once selected, you can copy and paste the reference into your reference list.

A screenshot of the citation tool in Library Search with APA 7 selected.


This is a green box with the text - I want to use RefWorks or other tools.

There are many tools available to help you keep track of your references and format references and citations in your work.  They can capture reference details from Library Search, subject databases and Google Scholar saving you time and effort. 

Referencing tools can help you manage resources you use and format citations and references in your work.  Everyone at Hallam is entitled to a ProQuest RefWorks account which you can continue to use after you complete your studies.

The Library recommends and supports students using ProQuest RefWorks, however, this does not mean that you cannot use other reference management software.

This is an orange box with the text - I would like to book onto a workshop.

Take a break

Congratulations you have completed seven sections! 

Time to take a break - maybe try some mindfulness!