UTS site search
HELPS U Learn U Pass U Connect

Referencing and plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism


Correct referencing techniques require that you acknowledge the source of your information in two places:

  • in the text of your writing at the point where you use someone else's ideas or information (known as in-text referencing or 'citing') e.g. According to Smith (2013) information technology has rapidly......
  • in a list at the end of your assignment (known as a reference list).

In-Text Referencing Examples:

  • Research by Jones & Xiao (2014) shows that significant analysis has been carried out relating to these specific human resource management initiatives.  = (An example of 'author led' citing).
  • There has been a significant amount of data which has shown that these human resource management initiatives have been thoroughly analysed for effectiveness (Jones & Xiao  2014). = (An example of 'information led' citing).
  • It can be stated that 'there has been a significant amount of investigation into the effectiveness of these HR initiatives' (Jones & Xiao  2014, p19) and therefore it can be argued.....  = (An example of 'direct quoting from the original source' citing * note the page number included).

UTS resources

UTS provides several useful resources on avoiding plagiarism and referencing. 

Avoiding plagiarism including tutorials and quiz


There are a few referencing systems, including:

UTS library offers online resources on referencing methods including videos on referencing correctly.

You should always follow the referencing style specified by your subject co-ordinator, lecturer or tutor, or as indicated in your subject outline.


A guide to referencing

Source of informationshould you provide a reference?
Books, newspapers, journals, magazines, theses, conference papers, reports, pamphlets (published or online) Yes
Case law, legislation, parliamentary debates, treatiesYes
The internetYes. It is a common misunderstanding that information on the internet does not need acknowledgement. You should use material found on the internet with caution, as it may be unreliable or out of date.
TV, radio, scriptsYes. While you are listening, you should note the program name and the date of broadcast. Sometimes it is possible to obtain a transcript to check that you have heard correctly.
Videos, films, DVDsYes. There are specific conventions for referencing visual media. You can find out how to do this by consulting this reference guide.

It depends. There are three possibilities:

  1. If the lecturer mentions something which is general knowledge, there is no need for the lecturer, or you, to provide a reference.
  2. If the lecturer presents her/his own idea, you should reference this as the lecturer's idea.
  3. If the lecturer presents another author's idea, you should refer to both sources: the original author, and the lecturer who presents the idea. However, in most cases, instead of relying upon your lecturer's reference, it would be more valuable for you to read the original author yourself.
Illustrations, images, artwork, tables, graphs, programming codesYes. You need to acknowledge the source of drawings, photographs, graphs, designs, tables, programming codes and all other examples of non-verbal information that you use in your work.
QuotationsYes. In referencing quotes, be careful to use quotation marks, and be careful not to change any words.
Paraphrases, summariesYes. When expressing the information or ideas of someone else in different words or in a briefer form, you must still acknowledge the source of the information or ideas.
Common knowledge

You don't need to provide a reference for common knowledge - that is, information shared by many people. It is sometimes difficult to know what is and what is not common knowledge in your field of study. If you read or hear the same information many times from different sources, it is probably common knowledge. Common knowledge usually includes major historical events, famous people and geographic areas that are known about by educated people throughout the world, not just in the country in which they occurred.

If the information is not common knowledge, you should provide a reference. This shows your reader that the idea is held by an expert in the field. It also demonstrates to your lecturer that you have been reading academic texts.


For more help

For more help with this issue, there are many useful resources on the HELPS website, as well as in the UTS Library. You can also come and talk to the HELPS Advisors who can assist you.


Back to top


External online resources