My experience with referencing

If you’re completely hopeless at referencing and you desperately need some help, here are some great tips I’ve acquired over my time at University.

Go to the Library

Honestly, it’s basic, but the paper referencing books are a lot more manageable than the online PDFs that you can find on the library website. I personally hate having to swap between my essay window and the PDF and I much prefer a paper copy. They’re really easy to use as well. Just look at the contents page, find the referencing guide for the type of text you need, and voila; you’re on your way. It even tells you the difference between a footnote and a bibliography reference (or the equivalent for your referencing system); super handy!

If you find that you can’t navigate your way through the guides, make sure you ask one of the library staff members. After all, it’s literally what they’re there for and they’ll always be happy to help – they’re lovely.

My Own Experience

Referencing can honestly be a massive pain in the backside; especially for joint honours, who sometimes have to use two different referencing styles. I really struggled to understand the different methods and styles of referencing, so imagine my horror when I discovered I had to do it a different way entirely the second time (just when I’d gotten used to the first one as well!)

Resolving my inability to follow the guides was really easy though, as I noticed each section of the guide had a clear, step by step set of instructions that explained exactly where to put my commas, brackets, and information. Also, when I felt particularly lazy (not that I’m promoting this, it’s always better to D.I.Y.), I found a very handy reference generator online. They’re super easy to use, just fill in the information that’s required, and it will generate a reference for you to use. I absolutely do not recommend that you copy and paste it, that’s an awful idea! Instead, double check it, make sure it’s accurate and then type it out word for word, comma for comma, just so you know it’s right.

It saves a lot of time trying to work out where to put things and how to put them, but make sure the website you use isn’t weird or dodgy! The one I used was one on a university website, so I found it pretty trustworthy. They only support a few referencing styles, but I used MHRA.

Ask your course mates!

You’re bound to have made some companions during your first year at uni, or, if you’re in the later years, you may well be living with them. That’s amazing. Use it. If you’re struggling with your course’s referencing style, the best thing to do is talk to someone who also uses that referencing style. There’s no shame in asking, it’s a very meticulous process and you need to make sure it’s right. Just send them a quick message and you should be on your way to referencing perfection in no time!

Accept it

In my opinion, referencing sucks. Seriously it’s the worst bit about any essay or theoretical work. However, it’s important and has to be carefully applied, so if you’re struggling to figure out how to reference, use this information to give you a good clue!


Meet the author

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Hi! I'm a Second year Drama and English student, and I'm from Manchester. Manchester is known for its high standard theatre, so that's where my passion for Drama came from, but I also love to write. I really enjoy Musical Theatre and reading, and hope my blogs help others to get through Uni life and enjoy it as much as I do!

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