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Sociology: Referencing

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.

Your Department Style: Harvard


Harvard is a commonly used, flexible author-date style and which is the style adopted by your department. There is no prescribed form of Harvard used across institutions, rather different institutions and departments within institutions specifiy their own form. The differences between various Harvard styles relates to which parts of the reference are put into capitals, brackets, bold and italics and the punctuation used. The order in which you cite the different parts of the reference remains the same.
This means that there will be slight differences between your department's version of Harvard and those that you may find elsewhere, on the internet or in generic referencing tools.

There are some published guides to help you with referencing using the Warwick Harvard Style (Sociology):

The Department of Sociology Referencing Guide (PDF)

Quick Guide to Harvard Referencing (Library) (PDF)

Referencing ebooks

Referencing Moodle

Introduction to Referencing.

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


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 is available  from Warwick IT Services, and is supported by Warwick Library. Please see the EndNote LibGuide for further information.