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Creative Writing: Referencing

Library subject guide for creative writing

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Why reference?

It is important to learn the scholarly practice of citing other people’s research, and referencing the material you have used. 


  • Enables your reader to find the material you have referred to  

  • Demonstrates your breadth of reading about the subject 

  • Supports and/or develops your argument

  • Avoids plagiarism: using somebody else’s work without acknowledging the fact is plagiarism. It is important to always reference when quoting or paraphrasing another person’s work 

What is Referencing?

Referencing is the academic practice of acknowledging the sources you have used in your work. Sources may be other people's words and ideas.

Plagiarism is the use of another person's work without proper acknowledgment. Most plagiarism is unintentional and the result of poor academic practice. It's is important to reference when directly quoting or paraphrasing another person's work. 

Referencing styles are sets of rules governing referencing practice. They prescribe the type, order and format of information in a reference. There are 3 main types of referencing style: in-text, footnote and endnote. Always check what referencing style is required by your department or assessment, as there may be local interpretations.

Referencing ebooks

Your Department Style : MLA

MLA referencing style

The Warwick Writing Programme requires most students to use the MLA referencing style (currently in its 9th edition). The following resources will help you:

OWL Purdue MLA Formatting and Style Guide

A clear, easy to follow web guide to the MLA style, covering all main reference types.

MLA Style Center

Guidance and resources for the MLA style and a good place to look for answers to more obscure referencing questions!

MLA Handbook

The definitive guide to the MLA style, available in print through the Library.

Your Department Style : MHRA

MHRA referencing style

Many joint degree students will use the MHRA referencing style in your home departments and this style is also acceptable to the English department. (You may just want to mention to your tutors that you are using this style). The following resources will help you:

The MHRA have a comprehensive PDF guide, covering all main reference types (referencing is in chapter 11).

MHRA Style Guide PDF

MHRA style guide: a handbook for authors, editors, and writers of theses (available in print in the Library)


Referencing Moodle

Introduction to Referencing.

Learn what referencing is, why it is important and when you need to use it.

Note that this course uses examples in the Harvard referencing style, not your departmental style.

Avoiding Plagiarism

This course will help you understand how plagiarism is defined, identified and its potential consequences. It will also provide you with clear tips on how to avoid plagiarism and build good academic practice.

Referencing Software

Referencing software allows you to manage references, insert citations and create a bibliography, in your referencing style. It is particularly useful for students writing  dissertations and theses.

EndNote icon


EndNote is referencing software from Clarivate. EndNote Desktop supports the OSCOLA legal referencing style. EndNote is available  from Warwick IT Services, and is supported by Warwick Library. Please see the EndNote LibGuide for further information.