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Citations and Referencing

The most important thing when citing and referencing is to be consistent.

Different subject areas have different requirements when it comes to referencing, and so it is essential that you consult your programme handbook to see which referencing system is used within your discipline.

The Harvard system is the system adopted by many (but not all) departments in the University. It is important that you check which referencing system is used by your subject area, as it is likely that it will be the only system that is acceptable for any work submitted within the subject area.


where you refer to a particular piece of work within the main body of your text.

Any statements, opinions, ideas, or conclusions that are taken from another person’s work must be acknowledged, whether the work is directly quoted, paraphrased, or summarized. For example,

‘The dissertation has been shown to provide students with a wealth of skills (Smith, 2001)’.

If you quote directly from a particular text then you must include the page number after the date separated by either a comma or a colon.

‘(Smith and Jones, 1999: 12)'


the process of creating a consolidated bibliography at the end of your dissertation. Your dissertation must be set in the context of previous research and will, no doubt, be informed by ideas that you have read or heard about. Referencing is the way that you acknowledge work that is not your own, and ideas that have been informed from elsewhere.

At the end of your dissertation, you should have a single alphabetical list of all the items that you have cited. It should not include any texts that you have not cited within your dissertation. The purpose of the bibliography is to enable readers to access the material that you have used and, therefore, the reference list includes all the information that the reader will need to find the texts that you have cited.

Copying of material without acknowledgement is plagiarism and is regarded extremely seriously by the University. It may lead to a zero mark for the plagiarised work that is submitted and could lead to disciplinary action by the University.

For more information on plagiarism, see Avoiding Plagiarism

For more information on referencing, see How to Reference


Material adapted from School of Environment and Development's Geography Dissertation Handbook (2006)