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General referencing guidance for University of Exeter students
The new Cite them right platform is now available. Referencing guidance has not changed.


Referencing Guidance
Explore each tab on this page before selecting your College to find out which style(s) are in use in your department.

Explore each tab to learn the basics of referencing

This guide brings together all the key information on referencing and has links to information about all the referencing styles used at the University.  

You’ll need to know what referencing style your department is using. Your lecturer may have already told you this or it may be in your course handbook. If you’re not sure you can check your College and Department information from the menu to the left of this page. 

If you are already familiar with how to reference and how to incorporate references into your writing through paraphrasing and quoting, you might want to go straight to the Referencing Styles page. Here you can find your specific referencing style. 

You’ll see that for most styles the guidance is covered by Cite them right,  e.g. APA, Chicago, IEEE, MHRA, MLA, OSCOLA and Vancouver, for some styles such as Oxford, the university has produced it's own guide.

If you’re new to referencing or haven’t used a referencing system for a while, it’s important to familiarise yourself with all of the tabs on this page.

The University subscribes to Cite them right, an online resource designed to help you to reference correctly and avoid plagiarism. Here you’ll find guidance on how to use your referencing style* to cite a broad range of sources from books and journals to social media, software programs, media and arts, reviews and performances, among others.  

*The University has produced its own guidance for styles not covered by Cite them right. Visit the Referencing styles page for more information. 

You will need to log in to Cite them right using your university email and password. 
Explore the basics of referencing for your department's required style on Cite them Right.  Login with your university username and password for access. 


  • Cite them right includes a ‘basics of referencing’ section which is helpful for all students.  

  • Unless specifically stated, the examples in this section use the Harvard style. You will need to bear in mind that although the principles will be similar, you’ll need to check the details for your own referencing style. 
  • Once you have read through the basics you can access some specific style guides. If your style isn't mentioned in this section, please go to the Referencing Styles tab on the home page of this guide and find your referencing style.



Complete the Cite Them Right Tutorial to learn the principles of referencing.

  • The first time you use the tutorial you will need to register with an email address and a password (this does not need to be your university username and password).

  • A verification email will be sent to your chosen email.  Check your spam/junk folder for a message from Bloomsbury Digital Resources with an activation link.  You will need to move the message out of your spam/junk folder in order to activate the link

  • Once you launch the tutorial you can choose your referencing style in order to tailor the tutorial guidance and questions.

  • After you have finished exploring the various topics, you can choose to take an assessment to test and document your knowledge.


When writing at university you will use information from a range of different sources. Your tutors will direct you to some but others you will have to find for yourself. You need to select these sources carefully and acknowledge them in your work by providing in-text citations and a reference list, or in some disciplines, footnotes and a bibliography.

You need to evaluate your sources to assess their reliability, authority and validity before you decide to use them. As a general rule, you should not refer to sources such as book reviews, Wikipedia or lecture notes in your work. Do not use or refer to essays that you have found online as these may come from ‘essay mills’ and are therefore not reliable sources. For further guidance on evaluating sources, take a look at the Evaluating Sources LibGuide Tutorial.

A DOI is a unique alpha numeric string that provides a permanent link to the document’s location online. You can often find the DOI on the title page of the journal article. 

Use the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) if the source has one – it is preferable to a URL as it never changes; because of this you do not need to include a retrieval date for a reference that has a DOI (but check the rules of the style you are using just to make sure of the conventions of the style). 

Use the URL for sources that have no DOI and give the retrieval date (some styles such as APA don’t require a retrieval date, but you are advised to include one for a source that is not in a fixed, non-editable format). is a website that allows you to check whether a source has its own DOI and has a tool for locating a source that does have a DOI. You can turn a DOI into a URL by appending the DOI to 

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