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English: Referencing & Writing

What's a CITATION / REFERENCING Style and which one should I use?

A citation or referencing style is a standardised way of referencing research you use in your academic work. In English papers, Chicago B (Author-Date) is commonly used.

Check with your lecturer, tutor or supervisor if you are unsure which style to follow:

WHY do I need to Reference?

Referencing the ideas and research you use in your essays is a vital part of all academic work because it:

  • acknowledges how others' work has influenced your thinking;
  • provides evidence for and adds weight to your arguments; and
  • assists other researchers to locate the sources you use

Referencing is an important part of acting with academic integrity, which OU requires from all its students and staff, and a handy side effect of referencing properly is that you avoid plagiarism.

Check out the resources below to find out more about academic integrity, the whys and wherefores of referencing, and some more about plagiarism and why its a really bad idea:

Citation Generators & Reference Managers

Citation Generators automatically format reference details you provide into a specific citation style. These are great time-savers, but they are only as good as the data you put in (they won't fix spelign erroars like this one for example)! 

Reference managers are apps that help you gather and store, organise and annotate, and then cite and share the books, chapters, articles and other stuff you use in your study and research. Check out the options available here: 

Help with WRITING

Want to improve your writing skills?

Consider taking one of the English 100-level Writing papers.

Student Learning Development also has helpful Writing and Language Development advice, online resources and workshops to support you in developing your writing.

Other tools you can explore include:


Guides to Academic Writing