How to Reference PDF

Plagiarism and Referencing


Why do I need to reference my academic work?

College writing often involves integrating information from different sources such as books, journal articles, recordings and web sites into your own writing.  Therefore, you need to acknowledge the source of your information, ideas or arguments.  This is called a ‘reference’ or a ‘citation’.  How to ‘reference’ or ‘cite’ sources is explained in this booklet, using the most common method, known as the Harvard style.


What is Plagiarism?

To plagiarise is to use the writings of another, either their expressions or their ideas, without acknowledging the original author.


This type of intellectual dishonesty is considered a very serious academic offence, so it is important that you are aware of the various types of actions that may be construed

as plagiarism.  Another writer’s material should never be presented without acknowledging the source.


Ravensbourne College tutors have access to electronic software that checks for evidence of plagiarism.

For information about this software go to:


How can I avoid plagiarising?

Types of Plagiarism Description of Plagiarism
Sham Paraphrasing Quoting word for word from another text with acknowledgement to the source within your text, representing the quotation as a paraphrase
Illicit paraphrasing Paraphrasing from another text without acknowledgement of source within your text
Other plagiarism Copying another student’s assignment with the knowledge of the other student
Verbatim copying Quoting word for word from another text without acknowledgement of the source within your text
Recycling Submitting the same assignment more than once for different courses
Ghostwriting Submitting an assignment written by a third party as your own work
Purloining / passing off as your own Copying from another person’ assignment without that person’s knowledge

Plagiarism Continuum (Walker 1998 p.89)


Note: It is important that you learn how to quote, paraphrase and acknowledge all sources of information used when submitting assignments at college.


When writing an essay or dissertation, you must:


  • Reference all information derived from other people’s work within the text of your work and


  • Compile a complete list of all the sources you used while researching and writing the assignment, which will allow others to trace these references if they wish.



How do I reference sources in the text of my work?

There are two usual ways to refer to other people’s work when writing your assignment.  You can:


  • quote an author’s words exactly or


  • paraphrase their work by expressing their ideas using your own words.


You will also need to reference your work when referring directly to another source e.g. a statistic.


At the end of each quotation or paraphrase, you must put in brackets:

  • the author’s surname,
  • the year of publication
  • the page number the reference is on.


EXAMPLE (Matthews 2002, p.67)


Readers can then use this information to refer to your bibliography to find out more about the source you are referring to.




‘The great strength of the crafts rests in their common visual language of familiar shapes, forms and functions.’ (Dormer, 1990 p.32)

You will write the full details of this reference in your bibliography as follows:

Dormer, Peter. (1990) The Meaning of Modern Design.
London, Thames & Hudson.


How you compile a bibliography will be explained later.


























How do I quote other people’s work correctly?

1. Brief quotations, from one word up to 3 lines, should be indicated by using single inverted commas (‘ ’), followed by the source information in brackets (author’s surname, year of publication and page number).



‘If Gaudi is seen as the chief agent in transforming Barcelona, he was also utterly a product of the city, the region and his era.’ (Gill, 2000 p.10)


2. Longer quotations (more than 3 lines):

  • should be indented as a separate paragraph
  • single line spacing should be used (this shows up clearly when the rest of the dissertation is 1.5 or double spacing)
  • no inverted commas (‘ ’) are used at the beginning or end of the quote
  • speech marks (“) should only be used to indicate a quotation within a quotation.



If, as Charles Harrison has claimed, minimalist theory was “the most coherent and the most powerful avant-garde discourse of the mid-60s”, this was merely because of its “cultural adjacency to the discourse of Abstractionism”.               (Osbourne, 2002 pp 23, 24)

3. Words added by you to quotations for clarification should be set in square brackets.



‘The first observable effect of this event [the Paris 1925 exhibition] was upon the furniture trade.’

(Author, year, page)


4. Words omitted by you from the quotation, should be indicated by the use of 3 dots (…)



‘Comfort is paramount …Cox does not believe in the agonies of fashion’ (Cox 1998 p.13).


5. Titles of books and articles mentioned in your text should be typed in bold or in italics and not placed in quotation marks.

It doesn’t matter which way you choose, but keep it the same throughout your piece of work.


What are Footnotes?

Footnotes are used to make additional comment, which is not easily assimilated in the main flow of the text.  They should be numbered sequentially in your text:



In your text you may write a sentence,

‘According to Peter Dormer (1), there is no reason to believe that….’

and at the bottom (foot) of the page, you could add:

(1) Peter Dormer has written widely on craft, its history and conceptual basis.

How do I paraphrase other people’s work correctly?

When you are paraphrasing a passage from source, you should completely rewrite the passage using your own carefully composed sentences.  A paraphrase accurately expresses all the essential information contained in the original passage in a new form.


Your paraphrase will echo the meaning and tone of the original source, but the actual sentences structures and words will be different.


Quotation marks (‘ ’) should be used round any unique term of phrase that is taken directly from the source.


At the end of your paraphrase, you reference the source in brackets as usual (author, year, page number).


How do I write Numbers and Dates?

Numbers up to nine in the text should be given in words; 10 and above in figures:



The model was four metres long.   866 workers were employed.


Dates in the text should be written as follows:

20 September 1949.


Decades should be written thus: 1770s 1960s 1990s
Note: no apostrophe (’).  This would also apply when writing words consisting of initials, for example, DVDs, CDs.
What are Appendices?

If you have any detailed data, e.g. statistics, technical information, a questionnaire or the text of an interview, you want to include, then head them each in a separate Appendix and place them in the Appendices section at the end of your work, before your Bibliography.

In your text, you refer to your Appendix like this: (see Appendix).


If you have more than one Appendix, then you identify them by capital letters like this: (see Appendix C)


What is a bibliography?

  • At the end of your written work, you must give more details of the quotations or paraphrases you have used in your text by giving a full reference.  This is often called a Reference List.


  • You will also have researched information, which you may not have quoted from in your text, yet has helped you build up the background knowledge for your work.  These sources can also be listed.


In the Harvard style of referencing, both the above lists can be combined into one, known as a bibliography.


This is also where you can list places/exhibitions you have visited in connection with your research and the details of the people you have interviewed (not the transcripts of the interviews; they go in your Appendices), which you may or may not have referred to directly in your work.



See ‘How to compile a bibliography’


A Helpful Hint:

Make sure you record full bibliographic details of sources at the time you use them.  This overcomes the problem of trying to find them when you have completed your work!


Both the electronic databases BHI and DAAI have a function called ‘Quick Bib’, whereby you can generate an instant bibliography from your marked references.


How to use the electronic databases:

  • Select your references
  • Select ‘Save, Print, Email’
  • Under ‘Choose a Bibliographic style’ select ‘Chicago style’ as this is the nearest to the Harvard style
  • Select ‘Create’
    How do I compile a bibliography?

Your bibliography should be organised into sections according to the source of the material, with appropriate headings, as follows:



Journal and magazines

Newspaper articles

Anthology (a collection of chapters by different authors)

Conference papers

Electronic sources

Internet documents


Electronic journals

Films, videos, DVDs

Lectures/speeches/interviews/telephone calls

Exhibitions/ visits/conference attendance

Interview/s details (not the transcript/s)


  • Use single spacing for the bibliography, leaving a line between each entry.



All the details should be put in the exact order, with identical punctuation as shown in the examples given.

It seems tedious to follow at first, but you will soon get used to it!


1. Books

The list should be used organised in alphabetical order according to authors’ surnames.  Put the author’s last name first, e.g. Evans B.J.W.



Author surname/s, author first name/s or initials. (Year of publication in brackets) Title [in bold or italics]. Place of publication. Publisher.



Book with one author

Spiller, Neil. (1998) Digital Dreams. London. Ellipsis.


Book with one editor

King, L.E., ed. (2003) Game On. The History and Culture of Video Games.

London. Whurr.


2. Journal and magazine articles


Author surname/s, author first name/s of article. (year of publication in brackets) Title of Article. Journal Name [or in italics], volume number, page number/s.



Burgoyne, Patrick. (May 2002) The Chosen Ones. Creative Review. Vol.22, no.5, p.7.


3. Newspaper articles


Author surname, author first name/s. Title of Article. Newspaper Name [or in italics], (Location). Date, page number/s.



Donachy,Jacqueline. Mix Retro Furniture with Modern Design.  Evening Times (Glasgow). 20 March 2002, p.32.


4. Anthology/book chapters

Treat similarly to journal articles, but add in editor or book/anthology.



Kadinsky, Wassily. (1968) Concrete Art, in Cill, H.B. Theories of Modern Art. University of California Press, pp. 329 – 348.


5. Published reports


Author surname/s, author first name/s. Title of Report [or in italics]. Publication location. Publisher/Institute, date of publication.



Hewson,Tim., McKnight, C.E. Clarke, Anne. Marsh, Peter.  Desktop Video: a Report to the Advisory Group on Computer Graphics. Loughborough. HUSAT Research Institute, 1994.


6. Conference paper in published proceedings.


Author surname/s, author first name/s, (Year). Title of Article.  Title of the Conference, date of conference. Place of publication, publisher’s name, page numbers.



Matlow, Erica. (1997) Can Anyone Speak Binary: the impact of new technologies on graphic design education.  Digital Creativity.  The CADE Conference, April 1- 4 1997. Derby. University of Derby,

p. 65-73.


7. Electronic sources

For all electronic information you need to note the date you accessed the information and include the database name or web address.


a) Internet document


Author surname, author first name/s or initials. (Year) Title. online. Place of publication, publisher. Available from: URL. [accessed date].



Buchannan, Val. (2002) Web Guides: Fashion. [online] London. London College of Fashion.  Available from:

http:/ [accessed 21/03/05]

b) Articles and newspaper articles in an electronic format


Author’s surname/s, first name/s/initials. (Year) Document title. Journal Title, Volume, [online]. Available from: URL [accessed date]



Robertson, Alec. (1997) 4D Product Design, Mechatronics and Multimedia Technologies: some conceptual challenges. 4th National Conference on Product Design Education 7-8 July 1997.Brunel University.  Available from:http:/  [accessed 30/11/2004]

c) E-mail (Personal electronic communications)


Sender, date. Subject of Message.  Recipient’s name.

8. Films, videos, DVDs.


Title [or in italics].  Producer/director name. Length of time. Production company, date. Format.



Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.  Directed by Ang Lee. 115 mins.  Columbia Tri-Star Home Entertainment, 2001. Motion picture.


N.B When you list a film you input the original year the film was released in the country of production, and the original place and organisation that produced the movie.


9. Television programme (off-air recording)


Series title [if available].  Programme Title [or in italics]. Channel. Date of broadcast. Length of time. Format.



Modern Times. Skin. BBC2. 12 May 1996. 40mins. Video.

10. Interviews

List in alphabetical order of surname, followed by first name, position/organisation, date of interview.  You can also add a brief description of the person for clarification.



Antoine, Karl and Brissett, Delaro .Dancers. Holland. 11 August 2004.

They are both leaders of the Nubian Step Dancers.


Davies, Wyn. Architect and Designer. Chislehurst, Kent. 25 November 2004.


Ellard, P. Lecturer. New Ash Green, 13 October 2004. (Patrick is the author of the Span-Kent website and an expert on the history of Span housing).


11. Exhibitions/Visits.

List in alphabetical order with the date of visit.


How do I reference illustrations?

You may want to include illustrations in your work.  This includes photographs, which may be your own or from books, line drawings, maps, models, statistical graphs etc. You need to think about the way you want to present them, for example, whether situated on the page with the text of the chapter, or placed all together on a separate page.


You will need to:

1.  reference the actual illustrations you use

2.  reference them within the text

3.  make a list to give the full details

4.  know where to place the list.


These points are explained next.

What do I write next to my illustrations?

Above/below/beside the insert of your illustration you write:

1.  The figure number

2.  The caption relating to the illustration

3.  In brackets put the author, year and page number of the book or journal, like you do with quotations in the text.

Fig. 1 Chair and ‘Dinner’ by Kate Millett. Examples to show mixed media . (Simpson 1968 p.86)











Students often take their own photographs, so the reference can be ‘author’s own’ and the date it was taken.



Fig. 2  Distinctive profile of the mono-pitched roofs.( Author’s own April 2004)

How do I reference illustrations within the text?

You must also make reference to your illustration within the text.  Reference within the text should just be the figure number in brackets.



The Span homes are mono-pitched, meaning they are pitched at one end and gives the homes a unique side profile (see Fig.2).







How do I make a list for my illustrations?

You list your figures in

  • numerical order, with the caption
  • the author and year
  • the title, place of publication and publisher
  • the page number on which the illustrations appear in your work.



Figure 1.  Chair and ‘Dinner’ by Kate Millett.

Simpson, Thomas. (1968)  Fantasy Furniture. Design and Decoration. New York. Reinhold Book Co……………….        19


Figure 2. Distinctive profile of the mono-pitched roofs.

Author’s own photograph. April 2004…………………………..      28


Figure 3. Pie chart showing how much television news is watched.  Results of Audience Survey. Author’s own.

January 2004………………………………………………….       47


Figure 4. Bethnal Green Slum, Colingwood Street, 1919.

[accessed 24/03/04]…………………………………………       56


Where do I include my reference list of illustrations?

The list of illustrations goes at the front of your Advanced Research/dissertation, after the ‘CONTENTS’ page.


Thanks to Phil Inchley, Naomi Melbourne, Dave Missen and James Newton, students of Ravensbourne, for allowing us to use examples of referencing from their Advanced Researches, 2005.



Walker’s Plagiarism Continuum. Walker, John. Student Plagiarism in Universities: what are we doing about it?

Higher Education Research and Development,

Vol.17, No.1 (1998), p.89 -106………………….      Page 5



Sussex University Library Harvard Style Referencing [accessed 08/04/05]














































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