Some of the information, figures and graphics included below were sourced from Referencing Handbook for the Further Education and Training (FET) Sector published in 2019. This handbook was developed by the Further Education Support Services (FESS) and Education Training Boards Ireland (ETBI). A copy of this full handbook is available on Moodle under 'Academic Support' - 'Research and Harvard Referencing'.

Commonly Used Terms


A complete list of sources of information and data  used in the planning and completion of your written assessment work. This includes sources that you read/engaged with, but did not cite in the work. 


 A citation is the reference to where you got your information from.


To refer to a source of information. 


Saying the same thing that another author or source says but using different words. 

Quotation marks

These are used to indicate the beginning and end of a “quoted phrase” or “quoted passage” from a particular source.  


Where the actual words, text or speech of another person/author is used. 


The person who will be reading and assessing your written assessment work. These could include the tutor/teacher/trainer, external authenticator, appeals examiner and other key personnel involved in the quality assured assessment process. 


Mentioning or alluding to something such as the source of a piece of information. 

Reference list 

A list of all the sources that you have referred to within the main body of your written assessment work that have been compiled in alphabetical order at the back of your written assessment work.  

Secondary reference 

When you paraphrase or quote from a source mentioned in another text without going back to the original text that the source was quoted from, this is called a secondary reference. 


The place from where the information originates. 


Including the main points from a source in a brief statement. 


Refers to the content of a book or other written, printed or electronically available work. 

Written assessment work

Written assessment work includes assignments, projects, essays, collection of work, presentations, etc. that a learner is submitting for assessment purposes.

What is referencing?

Referencing is a standard method of acknowledging the sources of information you have consulted in preparing your written assessment work. Written assessment work includes assignments, projects, essays, collection of work, presentations, etc. 

Why do we need to reference?

Regardless of the type of written assessment work you are doing, you must acknowledge and reference all of the sources of your information. Anything you use as information, for example, facts, figures, graphs, ideas, images, music, photographs, research, statistics, suggestions, theories, thoughts or words that you read, viewed or heard must be acknowledged and referenced.

What is plagiarism?

DCFE defines it as…

“The act of taking and using another person’s work as your own. It includes failure to insert references which acknowledges another person’s work, reproducing the work of others, including making even small changes without permission. This also includes material which can be taken from books, journals, articles, TV programmes, the internet, class notes, copying another learner’s work, with or without his/her consent”

Plagiarism may be accidental or deliberate. You may fall into the trap of plagiarism by not knowing how or when to cite and reference properly. 

All of the following are cases of plagiarism too:

Sanctions may include any or all of the following:

Moodle's plagiarism detection

Your teacher’s will be able to recognise if you’ve copied or have just slightly changed what someone else has said.

Moodle has plagiarism software Turn-It-In that detects similarities in words and phrases that are on the internet, as well as assignments that have been already handed up for correction (from previous years!)

How can I avoid plagiarism?

In order to avoid plagiarism, you must give credit by saying whose idea or work it was and where you got it from.

As a learner you will have to undertake some research in order to be able to write your assessment work. You will find that it is almost impossible to come up with completely new ideas. Many of the ideas, arguments and other facts and figures that you will use in your written work will be based on other people’s work.  

A good rule of thumb is to reference anything that you did not know previously.

How do I reference?

You can break down the process of referencing into three easy steps. Below is a summary of each step. Each step will be examined in more detail.

Step One: Source

Source or find relevant material or information and record the details while researching to make sure that you have all of the information you need to create citations and then the final bibliography.

Step Two: Making an in-text citation

Making an in-text citation in your written work every time that you use or refer to another work.

Step Three: Building your bibliography

You can use Microsoft Word for Steps Two and Three (preferred way) or an online reference creator, such as

Referencing - Step One - Source and Record

The amount of information available can be overwhelming, particularly when you're just starting your research. 

There is so much information available – in books, in the media, and especially on the internet. However, not all information is reliable, and for academic writing you need to be confident that your sources are credible and that the information is of a high quality. 

As the writer, you will want to support your arguments and statements with accurate figures, and relevant, up-to-date information and ideas, all from reputable sources. Learning how to evaluate information sources is a key skill for writing your assessments (Dublin Institute of Technology, 2018; Dundalk Institute of Technology, 2016). 


The image below, known as the CRAAP test is a handy test for you to use to evaluate whether or not the information that you're reading is appropriate to use as a source in your own work.


It's important to keep track of what sources you've researched as part of your assignment work. Keeping track of the sources by jotting down where you found the information will save you a lot of heartache and stress trying to remember later on where you saw it. It saves time in the long run to make notes as you go.  If you can’t find the source, you can’t use it. This could mean that you have to re-write part of your assessment work. 

You can make notes on a piece of paper or even on the document that you're working on by typing in the key information as you go along.

Referencing - Step Two - In-text Citations

What is citation or in-text citation?

Citing, citation and in-text citation are all terms used for referring to another source of information used in your written assignment work to support a point or argument that you are trying to make. 

You might refer by quoting, paraphrasing or summarising. Whichever way you choose to refer to this other source of information, you make your citation by including short details of the source: 

author’s surname, the date of publication and for quotes, the page number(s)

Every time you refer to this source in your written work, you must cite it. There are different ways of citing which will depend on whether you are paraphrasing, summarising or quoting the source. 

Citing when paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is when you take an author’s information, idea or suggestion and put it into your own words. You are still copying someone’s work so you must reference it. 

You don't need to use quotation marks ('....' or "....") when you paraphrase, but you need to show the reader the original source of your information. You must be very careful to indicate which part of your writing is a paraphrase of the original source so that the reader is clear on the source used. These are examples of paraphrasing parts of the extract: 

Employers are ultimately responsible for health and safety in the workplace (Nifast, 2015) or According to Nifast (2015) responsibility for health and safety is often delegated to key employees within the organisation. or Nifast (2015) found that most of the participants in their research rated the use of a variety of teaching strategies and making an effort to enhance their teaching as being very important. 

Citing when summarising

Summarising is providing a short summary/recap of the main points of a piece of work. This is a way of referring to someone else’s information, idea or suggestion without using direct quotations. You still need to cite and reference the source. This is an example of summarising what is said in the extract: 

While health and safety is primarily the responsibility of the employer, it is often delegated to personnel in roles of authority and responsibility (Nifast, 2015). They also say that it is essential that each person’s responsibility is clearly defined and included in the safety statement. (Nifast, 2015). 

Citing when quoting

Quoting is when you take the exact words that someone else used and insert them into your own work. You need to use quotation marks (“ ”) to show the quotation, and you must include the page number of the source where there is one. 

The reason for using quotes is to strengthen the point you are making. Be advised, that it's good practice to not over use quotations and you should only use a large chunk of text if you have a good reason for it. 

There are two ways of quoting depending on whether you use a short quote or a longer quote. 

Short quotations 

Short quotations are generally one word to two/three lines of text. In addition to the author’s name and the year of publication, you need to include the page number(s) so that readers can easily look up the source if they wish to check it or do further reading. Below is an example of citing with a short quotation: 

Employers are ultimately responsible for health and safety but they frequently delegate this responsibility to “executive directors, senior managers, line managers, supervisors and employees”  (Nifast, 2015, p.3).  

Longer quotes 

Longer direct quotations are generally two/three lines of text or more. You need to make a longer quotation stand out by indenting it and making it single-line spaced. You will still need to use quotation marks (“ ”) and include the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number(s). Here is an example of a longer quote within a text: 


While employers are primarily responsible for health and safety, they frequently delegate responsibility to  “...executive directors, senior managers, line managers, supervisors andemployees. Each person’s authority and duties should be clearly defined, documented and communicated to them. The organisational and reporting structure for implementing these duties should be illustrated in an in-house organisational chart which should be included in thecompany’s safety statement.”(Nifast, 2015, p.3) It is important that each individual in an organisation takes their health and safety responsibilities seriously in order to ensure their own safety and the safety of others. 

Referring to work that was cited in another source you have read

When you refer to something that was cited in one of your sources but you didn’t read or see the original, this is called a secondary reference. This is common where a text book cites the work of the major authors in this area and you want to cite the book but not the original publication. 

The original publication is called the primary source. It could also be the case that the original source is not available and so you have to rely on a secondary reference. You should cite both the primary source and the source you have read. Both works should appear in the reference list. Here is an example of how you would cite a secondary reference within your writing:   

According to Gleeson (2012), as cited by Devine et al. (2013), the patterns emerging reflect those from other research.  

You should try to locate the original reference and use secondary references only if you find it difficult to access the original work. This is because in a secondary reference you are seeing the original author’s work from someone else’s perspective. 

Referencing - Step Three - Bibliography

Build your list of references as you go along. Every source that you cite in your written work needs to be listed in the reference list and bibliography, if you have been asked to complete both. You need to list each reference fully, in the correct format and in alphabetical order.  

Difference between a Reference List and a Bibliography 

A reference list only includes sources that have been cited within your written assessment work, whereas a bibliography contains the sources that are listed in the reference list as well as any additional sources of information that you used for your research but did not cite.

See a guide below on how to reference using Microsoft Word. In Microsoft Word, you'll be able to select the source that your citing from and then it will be automatically generate and save this citation in your word file.  You can create your bibliography or reference list as you go by inserting it on the last page of your word document.

Referencing in Microsoft Word

1. Choose Harvard reference style

To do this, click the References tab, then select the desired style in the Citations & Bibliography group.

2. Add citations and sources

If you use information from any source you need to acknowledge the source - cite them.

This is called making a citation. Use citations whenever and wherever you use information from any source.

Click where you want the citation to go, click Insert Citation on the References Tab and select Add New Source

3. Inserting the Bibliography

Once you have added all your sources, go to the very end of your document and insert your Bibliography. The bibliography will appear at the very end of your document, in alphabetical order and in the correct format.

How to reference different sources

Click on the button below to access the complete Harvard Referencing Handbook for FET students and staff.

Go to the following pages to learn how to reference the following:

Page 40 - Advertisements (Online, print and broadcasts)

Page 42 - Art (Art and art in books)

Page 44 - Books (Book with single author, two authors etc. and Ebooks)

Page 52 - Case Studies (Case studies and reports)

Page 54 - Conferences (Conference papers, posters and presentations)

Page 56 - Correspondence (Emails and letters)

Page 58 - Diagrams, figures, images and tables

Page 60 - Film, radio and television (programmes, series or online archives)

Page 62 - Interviews (radio, television and personal interviews)

Page 64 - Journals (print journals, online journals with one or more authors)

Page 68 - Law (cases - law reports and unreported cases)

Page 70 - Lectures and seminars (lectures, seminars and class handouts)

Page 71 - Live Performances

Page 72 - Maps (online)

Page 73 - Music (contemporary tracks, albums and scores)

Page 77 - Newspapers (online and print)

Page 79 - Official Publications (Acts of the Oireachtas, directives and regulations etc.)

Page 82 - Social Media (Blog, vlog, image sharing websites, podcasts, Twitter etc.)

Page 87 - Software

Page 88 - Standards and patents (National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)  etc.)

Page 91 - Theses and Dissertations

Page 92 - Translations

Page 93 - Verbal Communications (Speech, telephone, Skype, video etc.)

Page 95 - Websites (company, organisations, personal authors etc.)