Skip to main content

Biological & Environmental Sciences: Writing References

Writing References

Proper referencing is critical. Your writing should always include accurate references to:

  • acknowledge the sources you have used to establish your arguments and criticisms and inform your ideas
  • enable other people to identify and trace the sources you have used
  • demonstrate the breadth of your reading and research
  • help to avoid charges of plagiarism because it makes clear when you are using someone else's ideas and words.

There are three components to citing references

  1. The Citation. This is the way you acknowledge i.e.cite the source in your text. Depending on the referencing style you are using this may appear as the author name and year in brackets e.g. (Jones 2016) as a number e.g. [1] or as a footnote. (See below for more about styles)
  2. The Reference. This comprises the details of the source that you have cited.
  3. The Reference List or Bibliography. This is a list of the references you have used or consulted and appears at the end of your work.

There is a preferred referencing style for most subject areas within the University. Please see below for details.

The Harvard Referencing Style

Harvard is a commonly used author name and date referencing style and is adopted widely in the University including all areas of Aquaculture, Biological & Environmental Sciences and Geography.The  Harvard Stirling University style has been developed to provide guidance to students and for use within RefWorks.

See the documents below for guidance on using the Harvard Stirling University style and examples of what reference lists might look like.

You may find Harvard Stirling University Examples (including guidance for RefWorks) especially helpful as this provides a list of document types e.g. Book chapters, Journal Articles, Blogs, Web Pages, TV programmes etc. with details of what information you need for the reference as well as and example of how to cite it in your text and enter it in your reference list (bibliography).

Look for more books on referencing in the Library Catalogue or check the shelves at class mark K 8.135.

See the Referencing and avoiding plagiarism module in Canvas for more guidance about plagiarism and more help with referencing. This is brought to you by Student Learning Services 

NEW RefWorks

If you have never used RefWorks before you should use NEW RefWorks (this one requires a personal user name and password). Register or login at http://refworks.proquest.com.

If you have always used legacy RefWorks (this is the version where you login from Portal > Resources tab), you may continue to use that version (see Referencing Software below). However if you would like to change to NEW RefWorks, make sure you finish any work or assignments before making the switch. Contact your librarian if you would like help. 

Referencing Software

Referencing software helps you to collect and organise references and automatically generate a reference list (bibliography). The University provides RefWorks and EndNote. EndNote is mostly used by staff and PhD students.