1. Introduction

Why should we reference?

1. Because that’s what professional writers do.

Every profession has its professional practice and a number of writing professions follow style guides to ensure that the high standards of the profession are kept up. Proper referencing helps to make the difference between a rough draft and a finished work.


2. Because your work forms part of the critical, or secondary, literature.

In academic writing we quote and reference work properly in order to engage with academics that precede us and so that the reader can find what we are referencing and continue the conversation. Your references should allow the reader to find your sources as quickly and easily as possible. 


3. Because there are consequences if you don’t.

For your degree assessment, references indicate to your markers and examiners the extent to which you have mastered the scholarly practices of your discipline.

They also show that you are referencing other writers’ work and ideas (which is really good), and not plagiarising them (which is to be avoided). The Student Handbook states that 

Plagiarism means copying something that somebody else has written, or taking their ideas, and trying to pass them off as your own work. Plagiarism is a serious offence and carries severe penalties, which can in some circumstances lead to a student being dismissed from the College. You can also commit plagiarism by using most or part of one of your own essays for a module and simply copying it into an essay for another module.  

The full wording of the policy on plagiarism, including the penalties, can be found here


SED style

In the School of English and Drama we use a version of the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) Style Guide. You can download the complete MHRA Style Guide from the MHRA website but, for ease of reference, we encourage you to work from the SED Quick Reference Style Sheet, the SED Quick Reference Guide for theatre, television, social media etc. and this Expanded SED Reference Guide.

SED's COLT (Citation On-Line Tutorial)

If you want to test your knowledge of referencing, the School of English and Drama has developed an interactive tutorial. A basic and an advanced tutorial are available and these can be accessed here.