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Physiology: Referencing & Writing

Guides to academic writing

Help with writing

Writing your thesis

Referencing basics

Citing (in-text) and referencing (providing the full details of the source cited, usually at the end of your writing) is a standardised way of acknowledging materials used in your research. Ask your lecturer if you are unsure which style to use. 

For information and resources about the most popular styles, check out our Citation Styles Guide.

A reference is not only the way we identify a source of information we have used, it is also a way that we can locate a source of information.

While you are studying, you will need to find and use references, and cite and reference the information you use.

Parts of a reference include:

  • Author(s) or editor(s)
  • Title (of book, book chapter, article, webpage, documentary, etc.)
  • Date of publication
  • Publisher and place of publication (books)
  • Page numbers
  • Journal title, journal volume and issue (articles)
  • And, other elements that are specific to the type of source, e.g. edition of a book, or DOI or URL for online content.

References are formatted differently, depending on the referencing style used. Here is a break-down of an example of a journal article reference in the APA (American Psychological Association) style:

Jerrentrup, A., Mueller, T., Glowalla, U., Herder, M., Henrichs, N., Neubauer, A., & Schaefer, J. R. (2018). Teaching medicine with the help of “Dr. House”. PLoS ONE, 13(3), Article e0193972. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193972

  • Jerrentrup, A., Mueller, T., Glowalla, U., Herder, M., Henrichs, N., Neubauer, A., & Schaefer, J. R.

The authors are listed first, last name followed by initials.

  • (2018).

The year of publication is written after the authors, in brackets.

  • Teaching medicine with the help of “Dr. House”.

The title is next, e.g.; article title, book or book chapter, webpage, documentary, etc.

  • PLoS ONE,

Next is the name of the wider source if there is one (in APA it is written in italics), e.g.; this is where you would write the title of a journal that an article is found in, or the title of a book that a book chapter is in.

  • 13(3),

For journal articles, this is where you write the journal number (in italics), followed by the journal issue (in brackets). 

  • Article e0193972.

Next, the page numbers, or the article number is written; like it is in this example.

Finally, the DOI or an URL is included, because this is how we find the resource online.

NB: Full stops, commas, brackets and italics are all part of the referencing style, and will differ according to the particular style you are using or reading.

References will also differ depending on the source of your information, e.g., a webpage won’t have page numbers, or if you are citing a physical book, you would write the publisher last, instead of a DOI or URL.

Citing and referencing the ideas and research you use in your assignments is a critical part of all academic work because it:

  • Acknowledges how others' work has influenced your thinking.
  • Provides evidence for your arguments, and
  • Assists other researchers to locate the sources you used.

Citing and referencing avoids plagiarism by giving you a way to correctly attribute credit to other authors or researchers.

The University of Otago takes plagiarism seriously. These resources will help you understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.

Information about academic misconduct, including definitions.

Definition of plagiarism and information on how to avoid it.

Identifies a range of support services and resources.

It is a good idea to have a basic understanding of what copyright is and how it pertains to what we do at University.

For information, explore the following linked websites:

APA Referencing Style

APA Citation Style

APA is the citation style established by the American Psychological Association.

Journal of Physiology referencing style

The Journal of Physiology Citation Style can be downloaded using various citation/reference manager formats, including EndNote, Reference Manager, RefWorks and BibTeX. PLEASE NOTE: The Journal of Physiology citation style in EndNote is inconsistent with the Journal of Physiology citation style on the Journal's own homepage and in the articles published in the Journal of Physiology itself.

According to the preferences of the Physiology Department, students have the option of using either the abbreviated journal title (e.g. J Physiol) or full journal title (The Journal of Physiology) in their references - as long with whichever one they choose they remain consistent. Check this with your lecturer.

Journal of Physiology Citation Style 

The style is outlined on the journal's website.

Evaluate and assess information you find

Evaluating and thinking critically about sources of information are important skills to develop and apply while undertaking research.

Not all information is reliable and appropriate for academic work, and not all information is relevant to your particular topic.

You should challenge and reflect on information that you find; don’t just accept everything you read.

Work through this tutorial to develop your skills in evaluating information that you find online:

What the CRAPP Tutorial

Or apply these terms to assess if the information you have found answers your research question.

Currency

Reliability

Authority

Purpose/Point of view

Work through this tutorial to develop your skills in evaluating information that you find online:

SIFT - Evaluating Information Tutorial

Even though the library databases are good sources of information, we still need to evaluate that information before we decide to use it. You can do this by asking the following questions:

  • Is the information relevant to your topic?​
  • Who are the authors, are they experts in the field? Who do they work for? What else have they written?​
  • What evidence is given, what references are given, and what methodology is used?​
  • How is the study funded? Is there a bias?​
  • When was the information written, is it still relevant? Has it been updated or amended in light of new evidence?

 

For more information and resources, check out the ‘Evaluating information: additional resources’ box at the bottom of this page.

Citation databases

If you find a great article on your topic, you can use a citation database to track down related articles.

Reference management tools

Reference management software helps you store, organise, and correctly cite all your research information with ease.  They include EndNote, Mendeley, & Zotero, all of which you can currently access for free.

Check out the Managing Your References guide for  support with these different tools. There are also some good help resources for EndNote on this library guide web page.

The University endorses and supports the use of EndNote software, and provides it to you for free. For EndNote troubleshooting, contact your Subject Librarian or Student IT.

Managing your references with EndNote

EndNote is a reference management tool that the University of Otago supports via the Library and ITS.  Use it to organise your references, cite them in papers, upload and annotate PDFs, and automatically generate bibliographies - in the citation style of your choice.

NB: The Journal of Physiology citation style in EndNote is inconsistent with the Journal of Physiology citation style on the Journal's own homepage and in the articles published in the Journal of Physiology itself.

EndNote order form for current students

EndNote is free for students and staff at Otago. 

Managing Your References: EndNote

This LibGuide tab provides links to short instructional videos and more.

Online EndNote tutorials

Avoiding plagiarism

The University of Otago takes plagiarism seriously.  These resources will help you understand what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.