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Referencing your sources properly is an integral part of any assignment and for any academic work.  It forms part of good academic practice.  

Citing authoritative sources will: back up your argument; acknowledge your sources; help you to avoid plagiarism!

Your Programme tutors will provide direction on referencing styles and stipulations for your work: you should always refer to them in the first instance about referencing requirements.

This section indicates where you can learn more and find help with referencing in general.

Use Cite Them Right Online resource to find out about the principles, practice and details of referencing.  Look for the Tutorial, as well as sections on the Basics of referencing, understanding plagiarism and paraphrasing, amongst others.  Login off-campus as 'University of Birmingham'.  Note that the examples given are in a core of generic referencing styles such as Harvard and Vancouver, not for the variations which are used by individual journals.  If you are directed towards using a journal style, follow the information on the journal's pages and as directed by your tutors.


iCite Guide

The iCite Guide is the UoB Library Services' online reference source for referencing in different styles. 

Each main style - Harvard, Vancouver etc - has A-Z examples on-screen and summary information.

Remember to select the correct referencing style.  Always confirm with your Programme tutors regarding referencing requirements for your work including specific styles: particularly if the recommended style is not one of the generic styles on the iCite Guide (or Cite them right online).

If you cannot find exactly the example you are looking for, then think of general principles and which format might be closest.  For example, a PDF document which you found online could possibly be referenced in the same way as a book, if it has the same elements: author[s], title, publisher, date (and place) of publication.

Cite them right online

Cite them right by Pears and Shields (2019) is a standard text about the principles and practice of referencing.

This has been developed into an excellent online resource.  It is available to University staff and students on- and off-campus.  Login (top right) as University of Birmingham: you may be required to enter your personal Uni login details.

Choose different format such as journals, books, digital and internet to see how to reference specific items.  Remember to select the correct referencing style: if you have been given a specific style that is not one of these, then refer back to the information given by your Programme tutors.

Use the tutorial and other accompanying information too: for example on the Basics of referencing, or follow the Referencing Tutorial.  


Pears, R. and Shields, G.J. (2019) Cite them right: the essential referencing guide. London:Macmillan International Higher Education.  


Referencing software

Referencing software is available to help you with your referencing. 

  • It can be used to store references from different sources, such as databases or the FindIt@Bham site, and to create in-text citations and reference lists in or for your documents
  • However, you should always take great care to proof-read your citations and reference lists carefully, in case of any anomalies.  This is also part of good academic practice!

Endnote Online is a web-based resource which UoB members can set up from the Web of Science database.  It is recommended for undergraduate and taught postgraduate students.

  • See the EndNote Online guide for details of how to set up your Web of Science account to then activate Endnote Online
  • To select the required referencing style, go to your Endnote Online account and choose Format - Bibliography and then choose from the list of styles (this may be against 'Select Favourites')
  • See the lower section of 'Cite While You Write' in 'Using EndNote with Word' in the Endnote Online guide

For an overview of referencing software programmes, see the Library's iCite Guide pages.

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