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3 ways to make referencing easier

By Joy 10 Apr 2019
2 students studying together for their exams.

Referencing is so much fun ... said no one ever! It doesn't matter who you talk to but I can almost guarantee that you will never find referencing on anyone's list of top 10 awesome ways to fill in the hours.

It is extremely important as a Uni student to make sure you master this skill, because it is often worth a significant amount of marks in assignments. So, how can we make this one word with plenty of meaning behind it which leaves most students cringing, sighing and moaning all at the same time easier? 

Even though I had already become pretty familiar with the joys (okay pun and sarcasm all at once) of referencing APA style when I landed on USQ's doorstep as a first year nursing student, what really helped me when I started my first uni assignment was talking to Library staff. They were able to provide me with referencing tips and tricks and are so patient and willing to help. They may even become some of your best friends at uni! They are there to turn to when you are stuck or void of inspiration when it comes to finding information and they also have awesome referencing tips. They are so patient and willing to help! (And no they are not bribing me to say this... well, maybe just a little?! lol.) Not sure where to start when it comes to referencing?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

1. Use EndNote software

 One of the best inventions is the computer software Endnote, which is actually available for free through the USQ Library website. If you are interested in making the most of the software, make sure you also check out Endnote Web – (the online version). It does take some getting used to if you are trying to figure out how to use this software all on your own, but this is where the librarians can help.

Image of Joy's study space.

The Library runs classes specifically to help students learn all the tips and tricks to using Endnote. I am very much a fan of the software because it saves an awful lot of time!

2. Use a referencing guide

I would also be lost without a referencing guide! At the end of the day, referencing correctly depends highly on the accuracy of formatting. All those italics, commas, dots and dashes all have a special place. Even though I use Endnote to help me with the majority of the formatting of my references, I still double check all the punctuation is consistent with the specified style and matches the Reference List (or Bibliography) for an assignment just before I submit it just to be sure it is all on point. Your references can be easy marks on an assignment if you just take those few extra minutes to double check they’re done right!

Image of Joy's study notes.

3. Make use of the Library resources

The USQ Library search and databases also have functions that are huge time savers when it comes to referencing. There are options to export citations for journal articles and library books directly to Endnote, and if you are not up to using Endnote, there is also an option to view the citation for your source pre-formatted to your selected style. Amazing! It’s a bit hard to explain it all to you properly here in a blog, but it really is worthwhile checking out.

Image of Joy's study notes.

So as I’m sure you have already discovered, referencing is an art in itself, but it is an art that will become a lot easier with practice and will be a skill that holds you in good stead throughout your USQ journey.

Follow these tips and make sure if you have any questions about referencing or style guides, chat to a Librarian on-campus or online. Happy referencing!

Author profile image of Joy