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October: Referencing Tips & Tricks

by Ashlee Simpson on 2023-10-02T10:57:00+11:00 | 0 Comments

(Pacheco-Vega 2021) 

Welcome to Term 4! As we return to the swing of studies—finalising those last assignments and neatening any loose ends before the summer break—now is a fantastic time to check in with your referencing skills!
            Referencing is an incredibly important task for not only your assignments but for any kind of work you write/publish in future. Providing the appropriate attribution to knowledge curated by others is essential to avoid plagiarism and to support your discussion, showing that your arguments have taken place in light of reliable and credible information.
            Anything you use in an assignment—facts, quotes, figures and diagrams, images and photos, books, journal articles, and more—must be appropriately cited in in-text citations and an overall reference list. In-text citations occur within the body of your assignment after quoting or paraphrasing information. By placing the author’s surname, the year of publication, and a page number, if applicable, in the body of your discussion, your assessors will be able to differentiate between credible knowledge and your arguments. Furthermore, a reference list, ordered by author surnames, at the end of your assignment provides your assessor with a comprehensive database of the information you have used. 
            At The Gordon, we follow the Deakin Harvard Referencing guide: an approachable, yet still in-depth, guide that provides students with all the ins and outs of the Harvard referencing style. For a complete overview of how to reference, check out the Library’s Referencing page and the Deakin Harvard Guide.

So! Here are some tips and tricks to help you when referencing!


1. Use reputable sources

            It is important to remember that not everything found online is reliable and that ‘some information may be inaccurate, biased, misleading, outdated, or irrelevant’ (Gordon Library 2023a). Whilst most sources provide quality information—books, journal articles, and peer-reviewed source searches through our library search usually being credible—some websites may have false or misleading information.
            We recommend you use the CRAAP test to evaluate your sources: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose. The Learning Lounge has a fantastic activity that explains the CRAAP method and a range of activities for you to practice evaluating web sources: check it out!


2. Record source details as you go

            There is nothing worse than coming to the end of your assignment, preparing your reference list, and realising that you are unsure of where your sources came from! Keeping track of any sources you use as you go in a document—noting important information such as the author, publication date, link to the website or the publisher—will save time come the conclusion of your assignment. Better yet, why not complete the references as you go!


3. Keep the guide on-hand

            The Deakin Harvard Guide is an incredibly valuable tool with explanations, formulas, and examples on referencing absolutely everything. From books, websites, and journal articles to governmental legal papers, construction regulations, artworks, and songs, keeping the site in your favourites bar or by printing out the PDF will allow you to continue cross-checking your references. 


4. Don’t always trust the computer

            There are a range of tools available for quick, easy referencing such as EndNote, ChatGPT, Mendeley, Zotero, and more. However, even these programs can get it wrong (and they often aren’t able to complete the Deakin Harvard style exactly!), so it is incredibly important to thoroughly cross-check your references.
            Furthermore, generative AI tools such as ChatGPT are often unreliable when both providing and citing sources. Make sure you use your own work and cite only credible information. For more on the use of AI in your assignments, check out our blog post on the rise of AI (Simpson 2023).


5. Ask for help where needed

            Sometimes, there are sources that may be missing information, may appear as credible but you are unsure, or even a source that seems “too good to be true”. Our team of Librarians are experts in referencing and are more than happy to help whenever needed. Feel free to drop in anytime!


Recommended Reads: 

The Complete Guide to Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism by Colin Neville

Demystifying the referencing process and providing essential guidance on referencing to avoid plagiarism, Neville’s second edition guide is an excellent source in understanding referencing for generic Harvard, APA, MLA and Numerical referencing styles.
Available from the City Campus library. 





Cite Them Right: The Essential Referencing Guide by Richard Pears and Graham Shields

This referencing guide provides detailed examples of new media referencing. Including web, text messages, and VR sources. With the addition of Oxford Standard referencing for legal sources, this guide provides yet another comprehensive overview of referencing.
Available from the East Campus library.





The Night Before Essay Planner: A Workbook to Plan, Research and Write Your Essay by Bronwyn Hall

Covering the essential steps towards writing your essay—from planning, using an essay topic or question, and undertaking research through books, libraries, reading strategies, and taking notes to starting the essay and referencing—this text has all the tips and tricks for getting through an essay in no time!
Available from the City Campus Library.




Words by Ashlee Simpson, Library Officer.

Back to library homepage.  

Reference List:

Deakin University (25 February 2023) Deakin guide to Australian Harvard, Deakin University, accessed 02 October 2023.

Gordon Learning Support (n.d.) How can I tell if a website is reliable?, Learning Lounge, accessed 02 October 2023.

Gordon Library (September 2023a) Research & Referencing: How can I tell if information is reliable?, Gordon Library, accessed 02 October 2023.

Gordon Library (September 2023b) Research & Referencing: How do I reference information?, Gordon Library, accessed 02 October 2023.

Pachego-Vega P (23 March 2023) ‘Note-taking’ [photo], Flickr, accessed 02 October 2023. Available under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NonDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED).

Simpson A (05 May 2023) May Special Edition: The Rise of AI: It’s not all that bad!, Gordon Library, accessed 02 October 2023.

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