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Referencing made easy

Understanding referencing and how it works is a very important part of studying and researching at University. Learn more about what referencing is, and how your Library can help.

Students using pc

Referencing is an important part of the academic writing process.

We reference to:

  • Acknowledge your debt to other authors' intellectual property.
  • Demonstrate the body of knowledge upon which your research is based (this is often an important assessment criteria).
  • Enable your reader to locate your sources easily.
  • Avoid accusations of plagiarism.

References are full details of all the sources you have used (cited) in your work, typically in a list at the end of your work.

Citations are partial references within the main body of your text. Citing a work commonly involves incorporating the author or creator of a work into your text. This links your reader to the full reference typically found in a list at the end of your text.

There are many different referencing styles. Your tutor will advise you which system is the preferred one for your course or module.

Referencing Styles

The University supports several different referencing styles.  You should follow any guidance given to you in your course or module handbooks.

Styles used at Nottingham Trent University include:


RefWorks is the reference management software available for NTU students and researchers. It will help you to gather, manage, store and share bibliographic information, as well as generates reference lists.

RefWorks is web-based, so you can use it both on and off campus. You need your University username and password to log in - select the Use login from my institution button to access RefWorks from the login screen.

The RefWorks User Guide contains introductory information for getting started with RefWorks, as well as step-by-step examples for using it with different databases. The software also provides a number of tutorials and help tools.

Existing users may have an account with Legacy RefWorks. You should continue to use this version if you are working on a long document (e.g. thesis or writing for publication) and are using the Write-N-Cite tool to manage your citations and bibliography. Please contact the Library, if you would like advice on upgrading to the new version of RefWorks.

Referencing Support

Your library provides a range of support options to help you to understand more about referencing

Further help and guidance is available via the Help link in NOW, including

Referencing queries should be directed to the Learning and Teaching Team, who can provide tailored help, support and training.

A range of workshops on different styles referencing, and RefWorks, are also available.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 848 2175