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How do you reference?

Visit Quick©ite for fast references.

Make sure that you gather all of the information required to construct the reference at the time you gather the information or ideas. Here's a pocket guide on what to record for different sources.

  • This is particularly important when referencing an electronic source such as a website where the address or content may change at any time.
  • Similarly if you have borrowed books from a library or other resource it is prudent to record the reference details while you have the book out on loan as it may be unavailable at a later date. If the book is a key resource for a course assignment it is increasingly likely that it will be on loan as the submission deadline approaches.

Remember — you need to reference sources according to how you accessed or read the original e.g. print, website, library database.

Example: If a lecturer asked the class to read an article on effective team work that appeared in yesterdays New Zealand Herald and include it in the reference list of a report, the lecturer may receive 3 different responses, all of which are correct:

Walker, K. (2009, January 24). Effective work teams. The New Zealand Herald, p A5. Retrieved 25 January 2009 from Newztext Database


Walker, K. (2009, January 24). Effective work teams. The New Zealand Herald, p. A5. Retrieved 25 January 2009 from


Walker, K. (2009, January 24). Effective work teams. The New Zealand Herald, p. A5.

Make sure that you keep the reference details with the information from that source throughout your research.

  • If the information becomes separated from the reference details it may take a very long time to sort out the confusion.
  • It can be a good idea to give each source a code, which can be written on information from that source. If the code is retained throughout the writing process it then becomes a simple process of replacing the codes with the correct referencing details in the final writing stages.
  • Remember that quotations in particular also require a page number so that they can be validated or sourced by another person.

Make sure that you know which referencing style your department or lecturer requires you to use.

  • The style required may vary between institutions, publications, departments and even between different lecturers within a department.
  • Often marks are allocated purely for the accuracy of the referencing on an assignment.
  • Journal articles and conference papers will only be accepted for publication if the correct referencing style has been used.

Reference styles used at the University of Auckland

Make sure that you know how to correctly apply the referencing style required.

  • The punctuation and font used (italic, normal, bold) is highly important, as is the order of the details within the reference.
  • The information required in different parts of the document, and the placement of this information, varies between styles.
  • See Quick©ite or tools to find out how to correctly reference different sources.

Allow plenty of time to integrate the references into your work.

  • It takes a surprising amount of time to integrate the references so that the text flows smoothly, and to check and double check the accuracy of the information and the format of the references.
  • Alternatively you can use a software package to integrate the referencing into your work.
  • There are other useful tools that can help you construct the references in your document.

    See the tools page to find out more.
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