Referencing Guide

Referencing is the process of citing or documenting the sources of quotes, theories, ideas, illustrations and diagrams that you have used in writing your university assignments. When we acknowledge sources in this way, we give credit to another person’s words, ideas or opinions in the form of a note and/or bibliographic reference or citation.

On this page:

Why Reference?

There are a number of reasons why you need to reference your work:

  • To show that relevant sources have been investigated
  • To enable the person reading our work to trace the original sources we have used
  • To provide documentary support for an argument
  • To give differing points of view of an argument
  • To indicate that we have not used someone else's ideas and claimed them as our own

To Avoid Plagiarism

Referencing your work adequately will ensure that you are not accused of plagiarism. You must acknowledge (reference or cite) any work, or part of any work, that you quote, paraphrase, summarise or copy. You do not have to reference information that is considered general knowledge (e.g. that Wellington is the capital of New Zealand).

ChatGPT & other Generative AI Tools

Before engaging with any generative artificial intelligence (AI) tool for assessment, it is advised that you clearly understand the expectations of the paper and whether the use of generative AI tools are:

  • Permitted: If so, whether use is restricted to specific purposes such as brainstorming or generating material for reflection, or
  • Required: to complete a particular learning task, or
  • Not permitted: for all or any tasks in a paper.

Each referencing style should have guidance around citing and referencing AI generated content.

As the use of AI tools in academia is a quickly evolving environment, it is advisable to check back on guide updates frequently to ensure accuracy. If you require further assistance or advice in this area, don't hesitate to reach out to the library.

The University’s Academic Integrity webpage provides further, broader information and guidelines for student use of ChatGPT and other AI tools.

Referencing Styles

Different disciplines and subject areas have preferred formatting conventions for citing works and formatting references. These are referred to as citation styles or referencing styles.

Referencing styles fit into three main categories:

  • note system
  • author/date system
  • author/page system

Each style organises and formats citation components slightly differently. The style you should use depends on the subject you are working in. Check your Subject Portal or Paper Outline for the recommended referencing style. If no specific style is recommended, choose one and maintain consistency throughout your work.

The University of Waikato Hamilton Campus Library provides both physical style manuals and online guides for various referencing styles. Some manuals are available for borrowing, while others are reference books to be used within the library.

Here are some available referencing guides:

Referencing Management Tools

There is quite a range of referencing management available to help you manage and format your references. Most of the more extensive applications require some form of installation on your computer or device.

The Library supports EndNote referencing software and offers workshops to help you get started, see:

Book into an EndNote workshop to learn how to get started, or contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for assistance using EndNote.

There are a number of free tools available to help format individual references. However, some will do a better job than others so it's up to you to make sure your references are formatted correctly before handing in your assignment. Here are some examples:

If you are missing important reference information you may be able to find this by searching for the item in Library Search or WorldCat.

Referencing Help

There are a number of ways you can ask for help with any referencing style. You can: