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Transcript - The why and how of referencing

Welcome to this video from the Open University Library, which is all about The Why and How of Referencing. The slides from this video and an accompanying handout are available to download. You'll find the links to these in the video description on YouTube or on The Why and How of Referencing training session page on the Open University Library website. You'll need to be a current Open University student or member of staff to be able to download these.

This video will help you to understand why referencing is important, know what to reference when writing your assignments, know how to construct references, and know where to find referencing guidance.

Why do you need to include references when you're writing your assignments?

First, referencing is about giving credit to the ideas of other people that you've used to inform your own work. Referencing also shows that you've read around the subject. And you strengthen your argument by providing supporting evidence. Referencing also acts as a signpost, allowing your reader to find the sources that you've used in your work and then evaluate your interpretations.

By referencing, you also avoid plagiarism by clearly showing when you've used another person's ideas in your own work. Plagiarism is a term that describes the unacknowledged use of someone's work. Using the words or ideas of others without referencing your sources would be construed as plagiarism.

We've thought about why you need to reference. So let's move on to when you need to reference. You need to provide a reference whenever you use someone else's ideas or words, whether you're using a direct quote, whether you're summarising or paraphrasing a section, or whether you're just mentioning something that came from someone else.

The exception to this is what is known as common knowledge. Common knowledge is facts, dates, events, and information widely known to the general public or by someone studying or working in a particular subject. For example, stating the name of the current prime minister would be considered common knowledge. If you're unsure whether something is common knowledge, it is always advisable to cite and reference it.

I'm now going to go over how you reference. Most styles of referencing have two parts, the in-text marker or citation and the full reference. And I'm going to go over both in more detail now.

The in-text citation, or in-text marker, acts like a flag to your reader that in this part of your writing, you're referring to someone else's work.

In-text citations are brief details about a source.

In the Harvard style, this is the author and the date of publication and sometimes page numbers if you're using a direct quote or referring to specific sections in a source. The full details of your source aren't included here. They go into the full reference, which I'm going to talk about next.

There are different ways of incorporating in-text citations into your work, and there is no absolute right way. You could include in-text citations at the beginning, end, or middle of a sentence. Other referencing styles might use footnote numbers instead of in-text citations. The important thing to remember when including in-text citations is to make it clear which part of your work includes ideas from other people.

A full reference is where you put all the details of the resource you're quoting from or talking about. And in the Harvard style, this goes at the end of your work in your reference list. And it matches up with your in-text citation. Every in-text citation must also be fully referenced in your reference list.

How your full reference looks will be dependent on the type of source you're referencing and the referencing style you're using. Other referencing styles may use footnotes instead of reference lists.

Here's an example reference list in the Cite Them Right Harvard style. It's a complete list of all the sources that you've referred to in your assignment. And it's in alphabetical order by author name. Each source should only appear once in your reference list, no matter how many times you've referred to it in your assignment.

The main referencing style in use of the Open University is Cite Them Right Harvard. And it's used in most modules. Other referencing styles are used at the OU, but these are limited to specific subject areas, for example, law. It's a good idea to check the assessment information on your module website to confirm which referencing style you should be using. If you can't find the information on your module website, please speak to your tutor who'll be able to advise you about which referencing style you should be using.

I'm now going to show you how to access the online guides for Cite Them Right Harvard.

I'm going to start my demonstration on the library home page. There is a link to the library home page on your student home page and in the Resources section of your module website. You can also navigate directly to the library using the web address

This is the home page for the Open University Library, where you can find a wealth of information to help during your studies. I'm going to click onto the tab called Help and Support. This opens up the Help and Support page. I'm going to go to the left hand side of the page. And under the Help and Support title, there's a section called Referencing Guidelines.

I'm going to click onto the first link in this section, which is called Referencing and Plagiarism. The Referencing and Plagiarism page is now open. This page has advice about referencing and links to referencing guides. It also includes information about other referencing styles used at the Open University.

Most modules use Cite Them Right Harvard. So I'm going to scroll down the page to this heading, Cite Them Right. Here, you can find the link to the Cite Them Right online referencing guide, which I shall open in a moment. The Quick Guide to Harvard referencing (Cite Them Right) contains some basic referencing advice and some templates for the more common source types. There's also a page that contains links to suggested templates for referencing OU module materials.

OU Law Undergraduate students and Classical Studies students should also note that there is additional guidance that they need to be familiar with.

I'm now going to open the Cite Them Right online guide by clicking on the link to Cite Them Right.

The Cite Them Right website has many referencing styles. So the first thing you'll need to do is choose your referencing style by clicking on the Choose Your Referencing Style link. This will open a page with the different referencing styles. I'm going to choose Harvard, which is the first option on the page.

You can use the Quick Links along the middle of the page to select the type of information or use the more detailed menu underneath the quick links. There is also a search box at the top of the page if you wanted to search for a particular type of source. I'm going to click on Journals from the quick links and then click on the link to Journal Articles.

This takes me to a page with guidance about how to reference journal articles using Cite Them Right Harvard. It includes a template of the citation order, including showing what information to include in the full reference and in what format. It also includes examples of in-text citations and references.

There is also a you try feature, which can be used to create a reference in this format for copying and pasting in Word. Or there is an option to email it later.

Lots of other help and support is available on the Cite Them Right website, principally in the Basics of Referencing section. The Basics of Referencing section contains help and support in the form of short articles, videos, and covers a lot of topics such as common knowledge, secondary referencing, and what to include in your reference list.

Cite Them Right is an incredibly comprehensive resource. The important thing to remember is that you do not need to memorise the entire guide. It is available online 24/7 for you to consult as you need.

I'm now going to have a look at an ejournal article and show you how to create a reference for it using the Cite Them Right Harvard referencing style.

When you've found an article that you want to reference or you think you'll want to find again later, there are several bits of information that you would want to take note of. It's important when taking notes about a source that you include as much information as possible, not just a URL or link. Web pages can change or disappear. Just having a link or URL is not enough. You may need to add the date that you accessed it as well.

I have opened the article "Decolonizing Southern Criminology: What Can The Decolonial Option Tell Us About Challenging The Modern/Colonial Foundations of Criminology?" on the Springerlink platform.

The first thing I would take a note of is the title, "Decolonizing Southern Criminology: What Can The Decolonial Option Tell Us About Challenging The Modern/Colonial Foundations Of Criminology?" I would also take note of the author, Eleni Dimou. This article was published in a journal, so I'd also need to take note of the journal name, which is Critical Criminology, the volume number, which is 29, the page numbers of the article, which are 431-450, and the year that the article was published, which is 2021.

I would also take note of the URL of the article, which includes the DOI number, which is the unique identifying number for this article.

Sometimes finding information about a source is not always straightforward and requires a little detective work. While most of the information I'd need to reference this article was very easy to find, this page doesn't give an issue number for the journal alongside the volume number. As well as a volume number, journal articles do normally also have an issue number. Although sometimes this is not given if, for example, the journal is only published once a year. And increasingly, some journal articles do not have traditional page numbers and may instead have an online reference number.

If you can't find information about an article on the article web page, you can double check the details by going to the journal home page by clicking on the journal title and then tracking down the issue information for the article. I've already done this for this article and have determined that the issue number is 3. So I would add that to my notes.

Using the different elements that I identified and the Cite Them Right guidance for journal articles, I can now create an in-text citation and a full reference for the Critical Criminology article. The in-text citation is made up of the author's surname and the year the article was published. A journal article reference is made up of the author, the year it was published, the article title, the journal name and issue information, the page reference of the article, and the doi number.

Sometimes, you may find that you simply can't find all the information that you need to complete the template for your source. In that case, you can simply leave this out, as you can't include information that doesn't exist. So long as there is enough other information to allow your reader to identify the source, it doesn't matter. You can also follow the guidance on the library website on what to do if you have a web page with no author, date, or publisher.

You might find that the Cite Them Right guide doesn't always have specific guidance for the type of source that you want to reference. If this happens, identify as much information as you can about your source.

A good tip is to think about what information others would need to be able to locate the source that you've used. For example, who produced it? What year was it produced or last updated? What is its title? And what type of source is it? For example, is it an online source or a print one? Is it part of a larger publication, for example, a newspaper? Or part of a series, like a journal article? How did you access it? And when did you access it? Make a note of the URL if it's a web source and the date that you accessed it.

Once you've got all the relevant details for your source, you can use similar examples from the Cite Them Right guide to help you create your reference. Don't be afraid to merge different examples if that would suit your reference better. The key thing here is applying the Cite Them Right Harvard style, so that your references are consistent and providing enough information about a source so that other people could find it again if they wanted to. Remember, you can always contact the Library Helpdesk if you're unsure and need some further advice.

I'm now going to go over something called secondary referencing. This is where you refer to something that's been mentioned or quoted in the source that you're reading. You haven't read the original. But you've discovered it through a secondary source. This is known as secondary referencing.

On screen is an extract from the Critical Criminology article written by Dimou that we looked at previously. And it includes a reference to a work by Quijano written in the year 2000. Let's imagine I wanted to use the idea by Quijano for my assignment. I haven't actually read the work of Quijano. So how would I reference this source in my assignment using Cite Them Right Harvard?

I use the in-text citation to signal that I'm using secondary referencing. I need to include the original author and the author of the thing that I have read - in this case the article by Dimou - in the in-text citation. I would use either the phrase quoted in or the phrase cited in, depending on whether the author of the secondary source is directly quoting from or summarising from the primary source.

For the full reference, I only use the details of the item I have actually read. In this example, that would be the article by Dimou. I would not include a full reference to Quijano.

I'm now going to ask you to try and create a reference for yourself using what you've learned in this video.

I'd like you to pause the video and try the following task. Using the information provided on screen or via the link and the template for ebook references, which is also on screen, I'd like you to construct the in-text citation and the full reference for the ebook, Myth: A Very Short Introduction. When you've completed the task, come back and start the video again.

Hopefully you were able to identify the different elements that you needed to create the in-text citation and the full reference for the ebook, either from the information on screen or from the link to the book. The only piece of information that wasn't on the main page of the book was the place of publication. But I was able to find this by opening the copyright page of the book. But if I hadn't been able to locate it, I could have simply left it out instead.

I'm now going to go over where you can access help and support with referencing. Your module website will have details of how you should reference, including which referencing style you should be using. If you can't find any information about referencing in the assessment area on your module website, please speak to your tutor, who'll be able to advise you about which referencing style you should be using.

The library website has a section on referencing and plagiarism, which includes a link to the Quick Guide to Cite Them Right Harvard and the full Cite Them Right online guide. If you have a disability, you may find that the software or converted format of a document that you're using means that you're unable to exactly follow the referencing style required by your module. There's guidance on referencing accessible formats available on the library website.

And if you have any problems with referencing, you can contact the library and we can help. Details of how to contact the library can be found on every page of the library website.

If you'd like to learn more about referencing, on the screen now, there are details about some library activities that you can work through at any time and visit as many times as you need.

These activities are:

Unpicking a reference, which will help you decide the format of your references, and An introduction to referencing and Cite Them Right, which covers the basics of referencing and how to construct references in the Cite Them Right Harvard style. These activities are only accessible to current OU staff and students.

Thank you for watching.

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