How do I cite and reference?

Two elements are essential to correctly using others' work in yours. These are:

  1. an in-text citation
  2. a reference list at the end of your work.

Note, the examples shown in this module use the APA style of referencing. See QUT cite|write or Module 4.2.1 for more information about how to reference using different styles.

In-text citations

An in-text citation must be provided for every direct quotation, paraphrase or summary of another's work or idea.


Quoting is using the exact words of another author. If you use a quotation, the in-text citation should include the page (or paragraph) in which the words were found. Short quotations should be enclosed with single (' ') or double quotation marks (" ").

"Kind and new acts, performed daily over as little as 10 days, can increase life satisfaction" (Buchanan & Bardi 2010, p. 236).

Long quotations should be indented. Quotation marks are not necessary.

Some of the difficulties in carrying out competitor analysis are described by Hussey (2001):

Without sound analysis and creative strategic thinking companies are unlikely to produce world-beating strategies. Creativity is about insight and the use of imagination and adaptability. It is also about harnessing personal creativity to corporate ends (p. 212).


Paraphrasing is writing the ideas of another author in your own words. If you paraphrase another author, or authors, you still need to provide an in-text citation.

Paraphrasing is a skill that takes time to perfect. Use the activity below for more information about how develop your paraphrasing skills.

Activity – Which is an acceptable way of paraphrasing?


Summarising involves condensing a large amount of text, or an author's work as a whole, into a few sentences. This is often an entire book, book chapter or journal article. An in-text citation is still required for summaries, but a page number is not, unless you can identify a specific page or passage that the idea has come from.

Quick tip: In-text citations can be formatted differently depending on the referencing style. For example, APA is an author-date style, which means that the in-text citation includes the author and date of publication within the body of the text. In Numbered styles, such as Vancouver, the in-text citation consists of a number (either in brackets or superscript) which corresponds with the same number in the reference list.

Reference lists and bibliographies

In addition to the in-text citation, you must also provide an accurate list of references for everything you use to write your assignment. A reference provides the reader with all the information needed to accurately identify the original source of the authors you have cited in-text.

Activity - Elements of a reference

Activity transcript

Quick tip: Did you know that Reference Lists and Bibliographies are different? Reference Lists are a list of the sources you have cited within a piece of writing and are a requirement of correct referencing. Bibliographies will also list these sources, but in addition will include details of any other information sources you may have read or consulted during the research process, but haven't cited. Always check with your tutor or lecturer to determine which is required.