Proper referencing is very important.

Writing at university and working in research require you to study the work and ideas of other people and then bring those together to generate your own ideas and conclusions.

In-text citations and referencing is a way to acknowledge the work of other people and distinguish the work that is your own. It is vital for academic honesty and avoiding plagiarism.


Reasons for referencing

Referencing correctly is important for several reasons:

  • To show respect for the original source. Using someone else's work as your own without properly acknowledging it is considered intellectual theft.
  • To demonstrate that you have done the research. Your teacher wants to see that you have considered the experts when forming the basis of your arguments.
  • To show what research you've done. Your teacher must assess the quality of your research. Accurate referencing following a specific style will enable the reader to easily locate and verify your research.
  • To avoid plagiarism. Failure to properly acknowledge the work of others means you are implying that the idea or words are yours. This is plagiarism and the consequences may affect your academic progress at university.

Read the VU Academic Integrity and Preventing Plagiarism Policy for more details.


Plagiarism is the act of taking someone else's work or idea and passing it off as your own.

The consequences for plagiarism apply even for unintentional plagiarism.

Style guides

We have provided guides for each of the referencing styles used at VU.

Before you write your reference list or bibliography, ask your unit teaching staff which style they prefer you to use and refer to the instructions included with your assessment.

VU EasyRef

VU EasyRef is an easy-to-use, interactive referencing tool with examples on how to reference using APA, IEEE, Oxford and AGLC4 referencing styles.

For comprehensive examples, use our style guides tailored for each referencing style.


EndNote can be used by all current VU students (onshore) and VU staff. It's suitable for researchers and students who need to manage large amounts of bibliographic data.

The EndNote software can be downloaded from the MyVU portal. For instructions on how to download and use EndNote, please refer to our guide to using EndNote.

EndNote Online

EndNote Online is the web-based version of EndNote. It's easy to use and suitable for short-term research projects, making it a great alternative for undergraduate students. Access to EndNote Online is also available to Offshore VU students.

When you log in to access EndNote Online for the first time, you'll need to create an EndNote Online account.

Refer to our guide to accessing and using EndNote Online.