False Bay College

Referencing Guide

Referencing is a standardised method used particularly in academic writing to acknowledge the sources used in an essay or paper. It serves as evidence from secondary sources to your research. All academic writing requires you to cite all the sources that you have read and consulted in the preparation of your work.

Where do you reference?

  • In the body of your paper. This is called textual or in-text citation
  • At the end of your paper. This is known as the reference list or a bibliography. You must always start your bibliography or your reference list in a new page. There is a difference between a bibliography and a reference list.
  • A bibliography is a list of all the sources you have consulted when preparing to write your paper, it doesn't matter whether you have cited them in the body of your paper or not. A reference list is a list of only the sources you have cited in the body of your paper. Normally in academic writing, students are required to give a reference list.

What must be referenced?

  • Direct quotation - this is when you use the direct words of the author as they exactly appear in the text. This must be cited and enclosed in the quotation marks.
  • Paraphrase - These is when you take a passage from a source and re-write it in your own words but the ideas or facts you are expressing are based on what you read.
  • Summary - A summary is similar to a paraphrase since you also re-write this piece of information in your own words. However with summary you select only the main ideas and supporting details. This also needs to be referenced but is also not enclosed in quotation marks.

Why do you need to give references to your work?

  • To validate and give credibility to your argument;
  • To distinguish between your own ideas and those of someone else's;
  • To demonstrate to your lecturers the amount of reading you have done;
  • To avoid being accused of plagiarism.
  • To direct readers of your paper to the original sources you have cited;


Harvard is an 'author/date' system, so your in-text citation consists of author(s) and year of publication.In-text citation of a book (the same format applies for a journal article)

If you quote directly from an author or to cite a specific idea or piece of information from the source you need to include the page number of the quote in your in-text citation.


All in-text citations should be listed in the reference list at the end of your document.
Reference list entry for a book

Reference list entry for a journal

Harvard System of Referencing