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Defining Referencing

A reference is a “standardized method of acknowledging sources of information and ideas  that you have used in your assignment in a way that uniquely identified the source” (Curtin University of Technology 2006: [1]).

Forms of referencing

1. Parenthical referencing: the placement of “reference citation in parentheses at the end of the phrase containing the quoted language or borrowed concept” (Bryant 2004: 79). In other words, it is the “documentation format that inserts a brief parenthetical note into a sentence, with complete citation given at the end of an essay (George 2008: 177). This format is commonly used in the languages, arts and social sciences.

Parenthetical references are also synonymously referred to as in-text citations/references or author-date citations where the documentation format places the author and year of a source immediately following its mention in an argument, and provides the full reference at the end of the text (George 2008: 168). The reader is referred to the specific page(s) in a source from where facts, quotations are taken.

2. Numbered referencing: the placement of numerical references used in other referencing styles, e.g., the American Medical Association and Vancouver. In this format, the list of references is placed at the end of the page, chapter, or book in the order that a source has been cited in the paper.

a. Endnotes: the documentation for each point in a researcher’s argument is numbered and appear together at the end of the article, chapter, or volume. The same number is used for sources if qouted more than once throughout the paper. For example, if a source is the second source cited in a paper, it will be referred to [2] if referredto later in the same paper. Note that some researchers prefer to use superscript, e.g., 2 .
References for sources appearing at the same point are separated by a comma, e.g., [2,4,7].
Three or more consecutive numbers appearing at the same point are denoted by a range of numbers, e.g., [1-4].

b. Footnotes: the documentation for each point in a researcher’s arguments is numbered and appears at the bottom of each page (George 2008: 174, 175).

Citing of sources depends on:.

a. The type of work you are writing
b. Usage of the borrowed material
c. Supervisor / lecturer’s expectations


1. Bryant, M.T. 2004. The portable dissertation advisor. Thousand Oaks: Corwin Press.
2. Curtin University of Technology. 2006. Vancouver referencing 2007. Info Sheet 34, Sem 1.
3. George, M.W. 2008. The elements of library research: what every student needs to know. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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