Skip to Main Content
+27 21 959

ukwazi 2   

Referencing Styles Guide @ UWC: Home

Referencing resources

About this guide

A warm welcome to our guide to the three major referencing styles used at the UWC.

This guide will provide our students with examples on how to do in-text citation and creating a reference list or a biliography.

If you need any help, contact your faculty librarian.

About referencing

What is referencing?

Referencing is a standardized method used particularly in academic writing to acknowledge the sources used in an essay or paper. "It serves as evidence from secondary sources to your research" (Badenhorst 2007, p. 21).

Where do you reference in your paper?

  • In the body of your paper. This is called textual or in-text citation (examples are given on each referencing style in this guide).
  • At the end of your paper. This is known as the reference list or a bibliography. You must always start your bibliography or your reference list in a new page. There is a difference between a bibliography and a reference list. A bibliography is a list of all the sources you have consulted when preparing to write your paper, it doesn't matter whether you have cited them in the body of your paper or not. A reference list is a list of only the sources you have cited in the body of your paper. Normally in academic writing, students are required to give a reference list.

What must be referenced?

  • Direct quotation - this is when you use the direct words of the author as they exactly appear in the text. This must be cited and enclosed in the quotation marks.
  • Paraphrase - This is when you take a passage from a source and re-write it in your own words but the ideas or facts you are expressing are based on what you read. This must be cited as well but is not enclosed in quotation marks.
  • Summary - A summary is similar to a paraphrase since you also re-write this piece of information in your own words. However with summary you select only the main ideas and and supporting details. This also needs to be referenced but is also not enclosed in quotation marks. 

Why do you need to give references to your work?

  • To redirect the readers of your paper to the original sources you have cited;
  • To validate and give credibility to your argument;
  • To distinguish between your own ideas and those of someone else's;
  • To demonstrate to your lecturers the amount of reading you have done;
  • To avoid being accused of plagiarism.


What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the act of using somebody else's ideas or words without giving credits to the originator. It is treated as an academic crime and can result in failing the whole course or being expelled from the institution. There are two kinds of plagiarism (i) Accidental plagiarism = this type of plagiarism happens when you did not intend to plagiarize but you still failed to acknowledge the sources. (ii) Blatant plagiarism = this is when you commit plagiarism deliberately - e.g. you copy and paste a passage from somebody else's assignment without acknowledging the source.

Accidental Plagiarism:

  • Failing to give citation after paraphrasing or summarising;
  • Referencing sources incorrectly;
  • Forgetting to put a direct quote in the quotation marks;
  • Using too many direct quotations constitutes plagiarism, as it indicates that you have contributed very little;
  • Failing to paraphrase correctly and keep the original meaning of the passage.

Blatant Plagiarism:

  • Asking somebody else to write your essay for you;
  • Copy and pasting a passage from somebody else's essay without acknowledging the source;
  • Stealing another person's essay and submit it as if it is yours;
  • Buying somebody else's paper and submit it as if it is yours.


University of the Western Cape,

Robert Sobukwe Road,



Tel: 021 959 2946