Manuals and software
Referencing style manuals
Four main referencing styles are supported for use at QUT. Generally, your lecturer or tutor will recommend a particular style. Always check the requirements for your unit on Blackboard. Whichever style you use, it is essential to use it consistently throughout your assignment.
- APA: The American Psychological Association (APA) style uses an author-date system and is an important and common style of referencing. It is also the most widely used style at QUT. Complete guidelines can be found in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association or from the official APA style page.
- Harvard: Harvard is another common author-date style of referencing. While there are different versions of Harvard, that used at QUT and detailed on QUT cite|write is based on the Chicago Manual of Style.
- AGLC: The Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 4th edition (AGLC4) is a specialised referencing style for use by QUT Law students. It is designed specifically for use when citing legal materials, including legislation and case law.
- Vancouver: Vancouver style is largely based on the standard style adopted by the US National Library of Medicine for Medline and other databases. Unlike Harvard and APA, a number is used to locate each source in the reference list.
Many search tools and databases provide a citation option which allows you to simply copy and paste a pre-generated citation into your assignment.
While these tools can certainly be a good way of saving you time when putting together a reference list, they are not always accurate and can commonly include errors. Make sure that you always check these against QUT cite|write before using them.
Example of tool accuracy
Here is an example of how the same article shows in Library Search and in the EbscoHost database. Note the error in the EbscoHost reference, where the title information has been entered incorrectly.
Google Scholar also provides an option to generate a citation. Exercise extreme caution when using these, as they are often full of inaccuracies and may not match your required referencing style.
In Module 3 Evaluate we discussed reference management software for organising and storing your information sources. These tools can also be used to assist with referencing by using imported or manually added bibliographic information to create an in-text citation and a reference list entry. These products vary in their level of complexity and accuracy, and while some are free, others come with a cost. Find out more about reference management tools, and their advantages and disadvantages.
It is important to use these tools with caution. While they can save you time when referencing, the accuracy of the references is dependent on the accuracy of the bibliographic details entered, or those you may have imported from a database. Always check your references against QUT cite|write, no matter what tool you use!
A note on Microsoft Word References. You may have noticed that MS Word provides the option to insert references directly into a word document via the References tab. Keep these in mind if you are considering using this option:
- referencing styles within Word cannot be updated, and therefore may not accurately reflect the version of the style you need to use (for example, while APA 7th edition is now being widely used at QUT, the latest version of Word only includes the 6th edition of APA)
- you are required to manually enter the bibliographic details into Word, so you need to ensure they are correct and free of typos!