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Sociology: Referencing & Writing

Referencing Styles

If you follow a citation style correctly, you will avoid plagiarism and help your reader find your information sources.  Ask your lecturer/supervisor if you are not sure which style you should use. Harvard and APA are the styles typically used in the Sociology program at Otago:



Reference Management Software

Reference management software imports documents and bibliographic data in order to store this information and generate references and bibliographies in their writing documents. This means that researchers save a lot of time as they do not have to write out citations or bibliographies manually.

The three most commonly used reference management software are:

See our Managing Your References guide for more information and tips for choosing which software is best for you.

Additional Help


Want to improve your paraphrasing and summarizing techniques?  You might find the following useful:

A practical guide to quoting and paraphrasing -  How to use your reading in your essays


Student Learning Centre PDF guide - Paraphrase and Summarise

Writing Your Research: places to find help

The University of Otago Student Learning Development services include: 

  • Study Guides
  • Tipsheets
  • Online Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Drop-in Thesis Clinic
  • Individual Consultations with a Learning Advisor

If you are an enrolled student, you are welcome to visit the Student Learning Centre in the south-west corner of the Central Library (ISB) Building to discuss any aspect of your study that is causing concern. You can also telephone (03) 479-8801 or e-mail to make an appointment with a Learning Adviser. 

If you are an off-campus student, the same service is available to you through e-mail or call toll-free: 0800 808 098 and ask for the Student Learning Centre.

The Māori Centre is a support service for Māori Students. They provide academic and social support for all Māori Students, regardless of their academic ability or tribal affiliations. 

Tutorials are available for all Māori students who are enrolled at the University of Otago.  Tutorial goals include ensuring students develop effective study and note taking skills, examination techniques, and improve academic excellence.


Otago's Pacific Islands Centre is a little bit of the Pacific right in the middle of campus!

It's a welcoming environment designed to help all students of Pacific descent to make the most of their time at University. Students use the Centre for advice on anything from academic assistance, scholarships and accommodation to legal and immigration matters and places to worship. The Centre also organises a variety of academic, cultural and social events throughout the year.

Extra tutorials held by the Pacific Islands Centre are free and use mainstream tutors from the academic departments. Tutorials are free for all Pacific Islands students, except NZAID sponsored students (however the NZAID students have funding to cover extra private tutorials). The Centre can also help organise and set up study groups.