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Citing and managing your sources

Read through the guide below and consult the in-text citation and reference list guides. Once you have done this, try the PLATO interactive tutorial at the end of the page.

Why do I need to reference?

  • To verify the ideas and theories you present in your work
  • To demonstrate that you have researched the existing literature on your topic
  • To demonstrate the scope of your reading
  • To allow others to consult the original source


  • Citation – a reference included within the text of your assignment to support an argument.
  • References List – this comes at the end of the document and lists all the items cited in the text.
  • Bibliography – this also comes at the end of the document and lists all the items which have been consulted (not just those cited in the text).

Referencing style

There are different styles of referencing, but these should never be mixed within one document. The Department of Film and Television Studies uses a variation of the MLA style of referencing. For examples of how to reference different sources and for guidelines on how to quote sources in your text, and include titles of films, see your course handbook. Details on how to present your dissertation can also be found there, and in Rachel's powerpoint presentation on the Facebook group.

Note: Sometimes you will notice small variations in presentation within a style. However, the golden rule to remember is to BE CONSISTENT.

Avoiding plagiarism

Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person's words or ideas as your own. All work you submit for assessment must be entirely your own. Where you do want to refer to other people's work whether through a direct quotation or your own words you must be sure to reference them correctly.

The following tips will help you to ensure that your work is free from plagiarism:

  • keep references for everything you read in case you want to refer to it later
  • record full references as you go along rather than trying to compile a list after you have completed your assignment
  • when copying direct quotations make sure that you clearly mark them in your notes
  • ensure that anyone reading your work can use your references to locate the original source

PLATO interactive tutorial

The University of Derby have created this tutorial covering the topics of referencing and plagiarism.

Managing your references

Managing the list of sources as you consult them will save you time at the end of your assignment and help you to avoid plagiarism.

  • You might try listing them in a list or table in Word or and Excel spreadsheet
  • You can also print or photocopy the first page of the source you are consulting, noting any relevant details, and filing these together

Reference management software

EndNote Online is a reference management tool which can help you to:

  • Store and organise the references you will collect during your research
  • Automatically format citations, reference lists and bibliographies in your document

See EndNote for step-by-step video and print guides on how to:

  • Set up your EndNote Online account
  • Import references into EndNote Online
  • Use Cite While You Write