Skip to Main Content
site header image

Research Skills

Information to help students find, write, evaluate and reference information for their assignments.


Why do I need to reference?

You need to reference or cite any material you have used to compile the assignments you hand in as part of your course work at Box Hill Institute. By doing this you acknowledge that the words or ideas have come from another source (e.g  a book, e-book,  journal, website, DVD, or online journal article), and you also enable your teacher to check the sources you have used.

If you claim the work of others as your own (by copying and pasting from books or websites, rephrasing text or ideas without acknowledgement, or copying and handing in work produced by other students) this is a breach of copyright law called plagiarism. (See the box below for more information)

How do I reference?

There are usually two parts to a reference: a marker in the main text of your document that shows where an idea or quote has come from (this is called an In-text citation), and a list of all the resources you have used at  the end of your document (called a reference list or bibliography). The in-text citations relate directly to items in your reference list.

Assignments will often require you to use a combination of resources. Every item used, regardless of the format must be acknowledged and referenced.

Referencing styles

There are a number of different referencing styles. Most teaching centres at Box Hill Institute use the Harvard Referencing style, but some may use IEEE, MLA or APA. Check with your teachers to determine which style you should use.

Whatever style you use, it is important to be consistent with your formatting and the presentation of your reference list or bibliography. The guides in the left hand column will help you use specific referencing styles.

If you need further information, please contact us in the Library and ask for assistance.


What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism occurs when you make intentional or unintentional use of the work of someone else without proper acknowledgment. It includes:

  • copying any material from books, periodicals, study notes or tapes, the web, CDs, the work of other students, or any other source without acknowledgment
  • rephrasing ideas from books, periodicals, study notes or tapes, the web, CDs, the work of other students, or any other source without acknowledgment
  • collaborating without authority with other students in producing an assessment task.

Consequences of plagiarism.

Box Hill Institute treats plagiarism very seriously, with penalties that range from resubmission of assignments to termination of enrolment. To find out more refer to the following documents:

Plagiarism, Collusion and Cheating Policy

How can you avoid plagiarism?

  • Be aware of the style of acknowledgment that is recommended for use in your course, including the referencing techniques required for information sourced from the internet.
  • Write down the source of  any notes or copies you make from any document or electronic sources such as the Internet. Copying or 'cutting and pasting' from a source as you read is very risky. It is easy to forget that the notes and excerpts you have cut and pasted are not your own work.
  • Acknowledge all sources from which you have extracted or developed ideas for your assessment material even if you put those ideas into your own words.
  • Always use quotation marks when quoting directly from a work. It is not enough merely to acknowledge the source.
  • Avoid excessive paraphrasing and quoting, even where you acknowledge the source. Use what you have read as a basis, develop your own ideas, and go beyond what others have said on the topic.


Referencing and plagiarism resources in the Library

Annotated bibliographies

An annotated bibliography includes a brief critique of each item in the list. Typically, the critique should be no more than 150 words, and includes a brief summary of the resource, and an evaluation of its quality.

For more information, refer to the following information: