When to reference?

When should you reference?

Every time you refer to someone else's ideas or writing you must reference this in your academic work.

See Referencite for more information.

For example:

  • Quotations- ‘word for word' copies of a written source.
  • Diagramsgraphs, charts, images- any representation that you copy from another source.  
  • Paraphrasing- when you rewrite all or part of another person's ideas in your own words.
  • Summary- when you summarise another person's ideas or research.
  • Facts- when you repeat or rewrite other researcher's findings, data or information.
  • Revisions- when you re-work or modify any
    part of someone else's research/ideas/images,
    while maintaining the key idea or design.


Academic integrity signpost

To find out how to paraphrase and summarise correctly visit the Academic Integrity Course

When shouldn't you reference?

  • You don't need to reference your own original ideas, opinions, findings, writing or images. However, if you reuse these in another piece of work, you may need to reference the original source.
  • You don't usually need to reference
    information which is common knowledge.

Examples of common knowledge may include:

  • Penguins are flightless birds.
  • Kangaroos are native to Australia.
  • The capital of England is London.

Always be guided by your department regarding referencing common knowledge. If you are unsure whether the information you are using is common knowledge or not, reference it.

Academic integrity signpost

For more information on when you should reference, see the Academic Integrity Course

Test yourself

1. True or False? If you rewrite a definition from an encyclopaedia in your own words, you need to reference it.

2. True or False? You need to reference a graph that you have found on a government website.

3. True or False? If you include someone else's data within your own findings, you need to reference it.

Extra for experts

Aroha is writing an essay about Facebook. Which of the following does not need to be referenced?

1. Facebook is online.

2. Patterson's 2012 study revealed that Facebook’s primary function was social interaction.

3. In 1995, 56% of digital interaction was between strangers; by 2012 this figure has dropped to only 12%

4. Mark Zuckerberg states that: “I'm committed to making Facebook the leader in transparency and control around privacy.”

5. Online social networking sites allow users to interact and share content.

6. Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook in 2004 while he was attending Harvard University.

7. From Aroha's introduction: This essay will argue that users of social networks are aware of the importance of privacy settings.

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