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First Year Experience: Referencing & Tools


This video  provides a brief introduction on how to use the Harvard UL style of referencing to reference your assignment. Topics covered include rules surrounding citations, rules for the reference list, and when and how to quote in your paper.

Reference management software such as Endnote can help you:

  • Gather references automatically from databases;
  • Format  documents & citations instantly in a variety of styles;
  • Generate bibliographies;
  • Create a personal database of references & PDFs.

Referencing: An Introduction

Referencing acknowledges the books, articles, websites, and any other material used in the writing of a paper, essay or thesis.

1. Essential Elements of Referencing

  • Citing: referring to sources you quote within your document. This brief citation refers the reader to the exact place in your reference list or bibliography where you will provide the extended details of the source.
  • Reference list: the detailed list of sources that have been cited within the text. Every reference must have enough information for the reader to find the source again.
  • Bibliography: a list of all references consulted in preparing the document, whether cited or not.

This is an example of in-text citing (citations are in bold for demonstration only):

The early 21st century has seen the development of a global epidemic of obesity, as emphasised by a growing body of articles, popular books, and most recently the movie Supersize Me (Spurlock 2004). To prevent obesity, habits need to be changed and dietary education as part of the school curriculum is key (MacDonald 1997, p.78). It is clear that to decrease obesity levels in populations, significant sociological changes will need to take place.

This is how the entries would look in your reference list:

Macdonald, G. (1997) ‘Innovation diffusion and health education in schools’, in Sidell, M., Jones, L., Katz, J. and Peberdy, A., eds., Debates and dilemmas in promoting health, London: Open University, 55-83.

Spurlock, M. (2004) Supersize me: a film of epic proportions [film], Beverly Hills: Roadside Attractions.


2. Plagiarism

Passing off another scholar’s work as your own is plagiarism and is considered a major disciplinary offence. Read more about plagiarism in Chapter 6 and Appendix 3 of the UL Student Handbook. is used at the University of Limerick to check for instances of plagiarism in students’ work. Check with your department with any questions about the use of Turnitin.


3. Harvard (Name-Date) referencing style

Many departments in the University of Limerick recommend a style based on the Harvard (Name-Date) referencing style. There are variations and interpretations within the Harvard referencing style. This guide gives you a version of Harvard based on ISO 690:2010 and BS 5605:1990 approved by UL, hereafter called Harvard UL. However, you should check which style or variation your department or thesis supervisor recommends. Whatever referencing style you are required to follow you must ensure:

  • Consistent application of the rules of whatever variation you are following;
  • Acknowledgement of all sources;
  • Sufficient bibliographic detail to enable your reader to locate the item to which you are referring.


4. Referencing styles by discipline or subject

In addition to the Harvard UL style, there are several other styles used in the University of Limerick as other styles are more appropriate to specific disciplines or subjects such as:

  • History – The Irish Historical Society (IHS). See the Rules for Contributors on
  • Law – OSCOLA Ireland based on the OSCOLA (Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities) standard. See for more information.
  • Culture and communication – MLA Style (Modern Language Association)
  • Psychology – APA Style (American Psychological Association)

There are thousands of other referencing styles including:

  • ASME Citation Style (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)
  • Chicago Manual of Style / Turabian Citation Style
  • IEEE Citation Style (Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers)
  • Vancouver Citation Style

If submitting a paper to a publisher, you should check with them to see if there is a particular style that they would like you to use.

The Glucksman Library’s Referencing & EndNote LibGuide provides more information on the different referencing styles and EndNote bibliographic management software at

You can direct referencing queries or comments to the Information Desk, your Faculty Librarian or via Ask Us – Tell Us on the library website:

For further information on how to cite and sample references see Cite It Right.

Referencing Guides

In addition to Cite It Right there are several other referencing guides available in the Library and these can be found at shelfmark 808+. Some examples are shown below:

Reference Management Software

Reference management software can help you:

  • Gather references automatically from databases;
  • Format  documents & citations instantly in a variety of styles;
  • Generate bibliographies;
  • Create a personal database of references & PDFs.
Software options include:

Online Referencing Tools

In addition to referencing software such as Endnote and Mendeley, there are also many tools available online. These tools allow you to select your preferred referencing style, choose the type of source you are using (e.g. book, article, website), and will generate a citation for you automatically.

I would recommend these online tools if you are looking for a fast and easy solution to referencing an assignment and creating a bibliography. Most of these tools are free to use, but may require you to pay a fee if you hope to save a library. So they are ideal if you simply wish to generate your citations and then copy-and-paste into your assignments.

A simple search in Google for "online citation generator" will provide you with plenty of options to choose from but if you want some specific examples try out:

Citation Machine



EasyBib's MLA guide

EasyBib's APA guide

Tip: If you want to use the University of Limerick - Harvard style of referencing, search for "University of Limerick", not Harvard UL.

Cite It Right 4th Edition

The Glucksman Library wrote a guide called Cite it Right: Guide to Harvard Referencing Style. To access the 4th edition of Cite It Right go to A PDF version of the 4th edition can be accessed below: