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History: Referencing

What is referencing?

Academic writing requires that you acknowledge other peoples works, ideas, sources used in a paper, assignment, report and conference papers. This is called referencing or citing.

What is plagiarism?

 Plagiarism is not just about copying a classmate's assignment but also taking someone else's ideas and writings from books, journals and websites and pretending they are your own.

In the academic environment it is essential to indicate where you got your information and ideas from - your lecturers want to see what you have read.


Turnit in is an internet based tool used to check and detect plagiarism in an essay or any kind of academic related document. Its a licensed based software which universities and school obtain through subscription. Register at

There are many user guides on the Turnitin site eg an instructor guide and a  Student user guide; 

Why should I reference my work?

  • to acknowledge the work and ideas of others

  • to avoid plagiarism. Not referencing another person's work is a serious offence.

  • to indicate the range of sources you used; how up-to-date your sources are and whether you used relevant material.

  • to make it possible for readers to locate your sources either out of interest or to verify your information.


EndNote is a software package designed to help you to organise citations and create a bibliography. The software can be downloaded from the University software library. EndNote allows you to:

  • Search for citations in databases and library catalogs
  • Retrieve relevant citations from databases and import them into EndNote
  • Build your bibliography and organize your citations according to a range of styles
  • Import references into a Word document.

UKZN EndNote guide to X9

What is a Referencing Style?

A referencing style is the preferred format for creating references to sources of information. Format includes the order of elements of a reference as well as punctuation.


 There are many different styles, and you must not mix and match them. It is important to follow a single style. Your department will have a policy on which style you should use. Ask your lecturer or consult your course outline to find out which style to use.


Below are some of the most popular referencing styles:


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