UCD Library : An Leabharlann, An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath

A Citing Tutorial

This page provides information on why you need to cite your sources, the different citation styles and how to get started.

In the preparation of assignments, we continually engage with other people's ideas: we read them in books, hear them in lectures. When writing essays, we incorporate these ideas into our own writing, and it is important that we give credit where it is due.


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What is a citation style?

Citing or referencing is the standardised method of acknowledging the information you use in your assignments. There are various ways of citing references within your assignments. These are called citation (or referencing) styles.

When should I cite?

Any time direct quotations, facts, ideas or theories from both published and unpublished works are used they must be cited.

Why should I cite?
  • To acknowledge the work of others
  • To avoid plagiarism
  • To support an argument you want to make
  • To enhance the credibility of your work.
Which style should I use?

Some schools require a specific citation style. Check with your lecturer or tutor for the style you are required to use, or check a list of some of the citation styles in use at UCD.

Getting Started

At the end of your assignment you will create a reference list of all the sources of information you have quoted from, or referred to, in your assignment.

To create a reference list you need the following information for each item you include:

Book author or editor; year of publication; title; edition; place of publication and publisher
Journal article author; year of publication; title of article; journal title; volume/issue number; page numbers of article
Electronic information author/editor; year of publication; article title; journal title; web URL/name of database; date accessed


  • Arrange reference lists in alphabetical order, by author/editor surname.
  • If no author is given, start with the title.
  • If there is more than one reference for an author, list by date of publication.

Annotated Bibliographies

A reference list (or bibliography) is a list of sources used, quoted or read in the writing of an academic paper.

An annotated bibliography provides a very brief summary (or annotation) for each reference which assesses and adds value to each source.

Take a look at this example from Cornell University Library to see how to prepare an annotated bibliography.

Referencing Software

You can organise your references by using reference management (or bibliographic) software. UCD Library provides training in EndNote and EndNote Web. These applications allow you to store and manage your references, as well as to create your bibliography electronically within MS Word in  the required referencing/citation style.

What you can do next...