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Referencing is a standardised way of acknowledging where you found any words, ideas, etc that are from other people’s work.

Source choice

Your work will have a mix of your own ideas and other people’s. If the ideas are not yours, you must either paraphrase and/or quote (called an in-text citation):

In text citations

The example above uses APA referencing, which is the most common referencing style at AUT. The first citation (in grey) is a quote, and the second citation (in purple) is a paraphrase. Information about each source (in yellow) is provided.

For each source that you cite, you include a full reference to it in a list at the end of your work:

Image of example referencing list showing alphabetical listing and indentations

You can see in the above examples that there are rules for the details you need to include and the formatting you need to use.

Getting started with referencing

If you're new to referencing:

Find out more about referencing in the examples, videos and links below.

The most common referencing style at AUT is APA, but you might need to use another one (check your study guides).


Other styles

Try this playlist for some quick examples of how to use in-text referencing and create a reference list using APA style:


Quoting means that you:

  • Copy the exact words of the original work
  • Position the quote in your own sentence
  • Use quotation marks around the copied words
  • State the surname(s) of the author(s), the year, and the page number

Example of quoting

Text example with highlighting to illustrate features of a direct quote in your work in relation to the original work


Paraphrasing means that you:

  • Rewrite something in your own words, and
  • Include the author’s surname and year of publication

Example of paraphrasing

Example text with highlighting to illustrate features of paraphrasing in your work in relation to the original work

Watch these two short videos to learn more about paraphrasing:

This video (1.55) shows you why you might include an author’s name in a sentence or in a citation:

Related workshops

Reference management software can help you store and manage information sources that you can then easily include in your writing. Find out about some of the different tools you can use:

Video (0.52)

How and why reference management tools can be useful:

Related workshop

EndNote X9 Essentials

You will submit most of your assessments through Turnitin, which is a text matching tool that shows the similarity between your work and the work of other people, including previously submitted assessments.

Depending on how your lecturer has set up Turnitin in your courses, you can use it to check your use of other people’s words and ideas before submitting the final version of your work. You can do this by looking at the originality report:

Example screen capture of a Turnitin originality report

The example above shows that 39% of one assessment matches wording in other texts. This is called the similarity score. Matches are shown in coloured boxes, and they correspond to sources listed on the right. You can use this information to work out what the similarity score actually means and identify how you can develop your academic writing skills.

The videos in the playlist below show you how to read the originality report, what getting a low or high score might mean, and what you can do about each one.

Academic integrity is “a commitment, even in the face of adversity, to six fundamental values:

  • Honesty,
  • Trust,
  • Fairness,
  • Respect,
  • Responsibility, and
  • Courage".

(International Center for Academic Integrity, 2017, para. 1)

At university, this means acting with integrity regarding:

  • Collaboration, which includes working on group assignments,
  • Acknowledging other people's research and intellectual property,
  • Avoiding plagiarism, and
  • Not cheating.

This applies to all assessments, including written assignments, visual and audio materials created for assessments, exams, and tests. If you do not maintain academic integrity, possible outcomes include an interview with academic integrity staff, warning penalties, changes of grades, or exclusion from the university.

Find out how you can maintain academic integrity at university:


International Center for Academic Integrity (2017). Fundamental values of academic integrity. https://academicintegrity.org/fundamental-values