How Is Referencing Done?

There are many styles of referencing seen in academic sources that you may be using, but all have at least two components:

  1. An indication in the main text when the words or ideas of another have been used.
  2. A list of references, giving complete publication details of the sources of borrowed information.

There are basically two systems of referencing: Author-date systems and Note systems.

Author-date systems

  • give the family name of the author(s), the year of publication and page numbers if necessary, after the relevant text in the main body of the document
  • provide a reference list with full publication details of every source cited in the document.

Example using American Psychological Association (APA) author-date system:

Collins (2002, p. 2) refers to this as “the inevitable conflict”.


This has been referred to as “the inevitable conflict” (Collins, 2002, p. 2).

Reference list
Collins, P. (2002). The cost of war, New York, NY: Prentice Hall.

Note systems:

  • use a superscript number in the main text to indicate where information has been used from another source
  • provide footnotes at the bottom of each page, or a list of endnotes at the end of the document, giving full publication details of every source cited in the document
  • often also include a bibliography in alphabetical order according to the author's family name.

Example using Turabian (notes-bibliography) system:

Collins refers to this as 'the inevitable conflict'.1

Footnote or endnote
1P. Collins, The Cost of War (Sydney: Prentice Hall, 2002), 2.

Collins, P. The Cost of War. Sydney: Prentice Hall, 2002.