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UHCW Library and Knowledge Services

Referencing and Reference Management

This guide provides an basic overview of what referencing is, why it is important and what main elements you need to reference correctly.

We also signpost library users to a variety of reference management tools, as well as information on academic library support for staff/students studying locally.

Referencing is the process of acknowledging other people's ideas in your work, whether your intend to write for publication or are completing a piece of academic work.

Correctly citing and referencing the ideas of others not only helps you to avoid plagiarism, but it contributes to the overall dissemination of knowledge.

Why is referencing important?

  • Shows you have read widely around your topic; adding weight and authority to your work
  • Helps the reader distinguish between your ideas and others
  • Gives credit to authors whose work has contributed to your own and helps the reader locate these sources
  • Can help boost your marks/grades in academic assignments

When should I reference?

You should reference whenever your use information from someone else's work, regardless of whether you quote the source directly, or paraphrase/summarise the original author.

  • Sources might include traditional academic sources such as journal articles, research papers and textbooks.
  • You might also need to reference websites, newspapers, government / legal documents, or audiovisual sources, such as YouTube videos.

What should my references look like?

How your references are formatted will depend on the referencing style used at your academic institution, or the journal in which you intend to publish. However, all referencing styles comprise of two key elements:

  • In-text citation: citations indicate places in your work where you have used an idea from someone else work. 
  • Reference list (or bibliography): in-text citations alone do not provide enough information for the reader to locate the original source, so you must also provide full bibliographic details in a reference lists at the end of your work.

If you are writing an academic assignment, your marking scheme will usually assess the strength of your citing and referencing. Therefore, making sure you have accurately paraphrased, synthesised and recorded your sources is important.

We don't have an institutional referencing style at UHCW, so we haven't produced our own referencing guidance. Instead, we would refer you to your relevant institution for specific support.

Many of the students we support at UHCW are studying locally. Here are some quick links to the appropriate support materials:

Coventry University
APA LibGuide:
APA Style Blog: 

University of Warwick
Library referencing advice: 
Students should check with their department for their preferred style.

If you are studying at a different university, please make sure you check your institution's guidance to ensure you are citing and referencing in the correct style. If you are not sure where to find this information, try your course handbook, library or VLE.

If you are writing for publication, you will need to check the formatting guidelines for the journal to which you intend to submit your paper.

The referencing process can feel daunting, particularly when you are handling large volumes of papers and other sources in your work. Thankfully there are a variety of tools available to help save you time, improve the consistency of your referencing and keep your research organised.

There are several popular reference management software options available, but their most common features will allow you to:

  • collect, store and organise your references
  • add notes, links and documents to your database of references
  • de-duplicate references from multiple sources
  • create reference lists in your required referencing style
  • insert in-text citations into Word documents, as you write
  • share references with others

We do not currently have institutional access to a subscription-based reference management software, but there are several free options available:

Basic: Cite This for Me
Suitable for basic referencing; or short pieces of academic work.

Intermediate: Zotero, Mendeley, Endnote Online
Suitable for longer pieces of academic work, dissertations and theses.

Researchers may prefer more powerful tools in order to support larger research projects like Systematic Reviews, and may want to investigate paid-for options such as EndNote. If you are affiliated with a university, you may be able to access their institutional subscriptions: speak to your University Library to find out more.

Locally, students and researchers have access to:

Coventry University
RefWorks and EndNote. See their helpguide here: 

University of Warwick
EndNote. See their help guide here:

If you are studying at a different university, please make sure you check your institution's guidance to ensure you are citing and referencing in the correct style. If you are not sure where to find this information, try your course handbook, library or VLE.

As we do not have an institutional reference management software or referencing style, the guidance and troubleshooting support we can provide is limited. 

However, please do email your query to and we will do our best to help. Please note that we won't check or review entire bibliographies, but we can offer solutions to any common errors we may find in your reference lists/citations to the best of our knowledge. 

If you are studying at, or affiliated with, local universities and are using their reference management software, please contact their Library team in the first instance:

Coventry University

University of