Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Introduction to Citing and Referencing

  • Why should I cite and reference?

    Citing and referencing are essential to the academic integrity of your research and writing. They demonstrate that you have read widely and understood your topic; enable readers to verify your sources and find out more; and importantly, avoid plagiarism by acknowledging when you have used the ideas and words of others.

    Explore the Academic Integrity website to understand the University of Melbourne's expectations and requirements for citing and referencing ideas and materials used in your work.

    Permalink: https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/why-should-i-reference

  • When do I need to reference?

    You need to reference when you express an author’s ideas in your own words (paraphrasing), or when you directly quote their words. You also need to reference data and images you find in your sources.

    You do not need to reference when you introduce, analyse, synthesise or conclude your ideas in your own words or refer to common knowledge in your area of study.

    For more information, have a look at the Academic Skills Using Sources page

    Permalink:  https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/when-do-i-need-to-reference

  • What happens if I do not reference properly or do not reference at all?

    You should always reference sources correctly and consistently, according to the referencing style rules. Whilst accurate referencing may help with your marks, it is important regardless, to ensure you always maintain academic integrity.

    Permalink:   https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/what-happens-if-i-do-not-reference-properly-or-do-not-reference-at-all

  • How do I reference Indigenous Knowledges?

    There are a number of approaches to citation and acknowledgement practices when working with Indigenous knowledges.  When working closely with Indigenous knowledge holders, you should always recognise the expertise provided by those knowledge holders including by listing them as co-researchers or co-authors in applications and publications.

    Have a look at the advice on citation in the Indigenous Knowledges Research Guide

    Permalink:  https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/how-do-i-reference-indigenous-knowledges

Choosing a referencing style

  • Which reference style should I use?

    The Library provides referencing styles guides for the most commonly used styles.

    If your lecturer doesn’t specify a style, APA is a good choice if you need to use in-text citations and if you need to use a footnoting style, we recommend Chicago A .

    Permalink:  https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/which-reference-style-should-i-use

  • I can't find an exact example for the item I need to reference. What should I do?

    This often happens when looking at online references, but can occur with other reference types, too.  You will usually have to piece together a reference using a few reference types for your selected style.  It's important to stick with the style requirements, so have a look at the general style notes for clarification.

    For more help,  you can ask Library Chat during library opening hours.

    Permalink: https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/I-cant-find-an-exact-match

  • What is the difference between an in-text citation and a footnote?

    Footnote

    Footnote citation styles require individually numbered footnotes at the bottom of the page for each citation and a bibliography at the end of the document. Referencing styles which use footnote citations include AGLC and Chicago A (Footnote and Bibliography).

    In-text citation

    In-text citation styles place citations within the text in brackets, with a reference list of all the sources you cited included at the end of your assessment item. Referencing styles which use in-text citations include APAChicago B and MLA.

    Once you have selected your preferred reference style we recommend you review the General style notes section, to develop your understanding of the requirements of the style.

    Permalink: https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/what-is-the-difference-between-an-in-text-citation-and-a-footnote

  • What is the difference between a reference list and a bibliography?

    A reference list is used with in-text referencing styles (e.g. APA). It includes the details of all the cited sources in alphabetical order by family name.

    A bibliography is used with footnote referencing styles (Eg. Chicago A). It includes all the sources referred to and particularly relevant sources, even if they haven’t been referred to in your work, listed in alphabetical order by family name.

    Once you have selected your preferred reference style we recommend you review the General style notes section, to develop your understanding of the requirements of the style.

    Permalink: https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/what-is-the-difference-between-a-reference-list-and-a-bibliography

  • What are in-text referencing styles?

    In-text referencing styles use citations throughout the text, usually in brackets at the end of, or within the sentence, where it is appropriate. They include the author's family name(s), year of publication, and a page number when directly quoting or pinpointing a source.

    The full details of each source referred to are included in the reference list at the end of the work.

    In-text styles include APAChicago B and MLA.

    Once you have selected your preferred reference style we recommend you review the General style notes section, to develop your understanding of the requirements of the style.

    Permalink: https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/what-are-intext-referencing-styles

  • What are footnote/ bibliographic referencing styles?

    Footnote/bibliographic referencing styles have information identified by placing a superscript number at the end of the sentence that includes the direct quote or paraphrase. The number refers the reader to a footnote at the bottom of the page, which contains the details of the source. Chicago A is an example of  a footnoting style with a bibliography.

    Chicago A requires a bibliography arranged alphabetically by family name including all works cited, plus any other works consulted but not cited.

    Once you have selected your preferred reference style we recommend you review the General style notes section, to develop your understanding of the requirements of the style.

    Permalink: https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/what-are-footnote-bibliographic-referencing-styles

  • What is a numbered referencing style?

    Numbered referencing styles are characterised by references indicated in-text by superscript numbers, or numbers in brackets.

    Each number corresponds to a particular source and refers to a list at the end of the paper. This list provides full details of the sources used, arranged in the order they first appear in the text. Vancouver style is the most widely used example of this style.

    We recommend you review the General style notes to develop your understanding of the requirements of the style.

    Permalink: https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/what-is-a-number-referencing-style

Creating your references

  • What is a DOI and how do I locate them?

    Some citation styles require or encourage the inclusion of a DOI in your reference entry.

    A DOI® (digital object identifier) is a unique number, that is assigned to identify a journal article, book chapter or data set, and provides a persistent link to its location on the Internet. Not all journal articles have DOIs, particularly older journal articles and articles from lesser-known journals. However, more and more articles are now assigned a DOI.

    DOIs usually appear on the first page of the article, or they can appear on the page of the database which has the full text article linked.

    To find out if an article has a DOI, you can use a Metadata search engine like CrossRef https://search.crossref.org/

    Permalink: https://library.unimelb.edu.au/recite/help/faqs/how-do-i-find-a-doi

Reference management software and tools

  • Should I manually do my references or use reference management software?

    Using a citation generator or reference management software will make the process of creating references faster but it is not essential.

    If you only need to reference a few sources, or you need to focus on writing an assignment, it could be more time efficient to create them manually. Have a look at the Options for managing references guide to determine which approach is right for you.

    If you do decide you want to use a citation generator or reference management software, you can access all of the tools we support from the Reference management software page.

Writing with references

Further help