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Anthropology: Referencing

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How to cite and write bibliographies

This section explains the importance of citations and why you need to use them in your essays. Please use the documentation below to improve your understanding of citations. The College has policies on plagiarism and your own department might provide advice on citations and bibliographies, so please check these as well.

The Basics

You should provide references when you are:

  • directly quoting from the text of another work
  • paraphrasing someone else's work, theories or ideas
  • using someone else's work when developing your own ideas and arguments
  • indirectly referring to the text of other works
  • using illustrations, diagrams, tables or figures from other sources

If a fact is regarded as common knowledge, e.g. dates, events, (The Battle of Hastings was in 1066), you would not be expected to provide a reference. If in doubt, provide a reference.

There are various citation styles, but they normally fall into two categories:

  • name and date, e.g. Harvard - use the author's name and date in your parentheses in your in-text citation (Smith, 1989), then provide a separate list of the sources cited alphabetically by author at the end of your work
  • numeric, e.g. Chicago - your in-text citation will comprise a number that links to your footnotes/endnotes, like this [1]. You will also need to provide a full bibliography.

The most important thing to remember when referencing is to be consistent

Your department or tutor may have a specific style they want you to use so it's good to check before starting your assignment.

Cite Them Right Online

The library subscribes to a resource called Cite Them Right Online which can teach you the basics of referencing and shows you how to cite a variety of sources in all major referencing styles.

Want to know how to cite some graffitti in MLA 9th edition? A Snapchat using Harvard referencing? A circus performance in Chicago style? Cite Them Right has the answers.

We recommend getting a firm grasp of the principles of a citation style before using any software to assist you with referencing.

Whilst you can keep notes of the sources you use by hand, there is software available that can make managing your references simpler. This is particularly time saving if you're dealing with large numbers of references. We recommend all postgraduate students use online referencing software.


Zotero is a piece of free open source software for storing your references, helping you with in-text citations and generating your bibliographies.

We have created this online tutorial to help you get started. It should take around 45 minutes to complete. We also run workshops on Zotero throughout the year. If you need any additional support with Zotero contact your Subject Librarian.

If you're looking for a more basic tool to help you do your citation manually, the ZoteroBib citation generator is good.


Other software includes EndNote Web and Mendeley, which are somewhat similar to Zotero and perform the same functions. However, we do not provide training for these.

How to Read a Reference

Being able to understand the structure of references is not only important in writing your own assignments, it's a crucial academic reading skill. Understanding the structure of a citation can help you locate it. This short quiz will show you some key features of commonly cited item types.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Plagiarism can initially be difficult to understand and many students might not realise what constitutes plagiarism and what doesn’t.

For your assignment you will have done plenty of background reading to help you formulate your own ideas.  When writing, you will discuss what you have learned from your background reading to show how this has influenced your views and arguments. 

To avoid plagiarism the sources you use and refer to must be correctly cited and referenced.  Although plagiarism is not just words (it includes ideas, images, etc), paraphrasing/summarising is an important area to consider. Substituting words in a quotation with synonyms, rearranging the words in a quotation and changing the order of sentences are all examples of plagiarism if references are not provided.

Using Turnitin self-check to avoid plagiarism

Turnit in self-check is a tool to help you detect plagiarism in your draft assignments. Turnitin checks your work against a database of academic texts and internet sources to give an originality score. It’s a good tool to help check you have cited your sources correctly and avoid accidental plagiarism.

To use self-check, go to Learn.Gold and search for Students Turnitin Induction. Join the course area for the current academic year and follow the steps to submit your draft. When you submit your work, it’s securely stored, anonymised and will be destroyed when you no longer need it.  

The check takes about as long as it takes to make yourself a cup of coffee, so use this opportunity to take a well-deserved study break. When you go back to the self-check page you’ll see a similarity score. Remember, Turnitin can only detect similarity, which isn’t quite the same thing as plagiarism. Certain types of assignment like literature reviews will inevitably produce a higher percentage similarity as you’re summarising all the published work on a topic.

If you click on the score you’ll get a detailed report. Use the report to check you’ve cited all your sources correctly. You can speak to your Subject Librarian, Academic Skills tutor or a Royal Literary fellow if you need help with this.


Copyright is an Intellectual Property Right along with Trade Marks, Patents and Designs.  For detailed information, see the IPO's website. UK copyright law is mainly set out in the Copyright, Design and Patents Act (1988), though this has been substantially amended by more recent Acts and European Copyright Directives that aim to harmonise copyright across the EU. 

Copyright gives economic and moral rights to the creators of works, and provides a legal framework for such works to be used fairly by others.

Copyright is infringed where a whole or ‘substantial part’ of a work has been used without permission and no exceptions to copyright apply.  A ‘substantial part’ of a work is not defined in law and may be quite small. 

Copyright for student work

Students at Goldsmiths own copyright in their own work.  Some colleges and universities do make a claim to copyright in student work and ask students to agree to this when they enrol.

MA course work held by the library is non-published work under the CPDA 1988 and no copying is permitted. They are also not available for use by members of the public. MA theses held by the library include a cover sheet which states that no copies can be made and is usually signed by the author. 

PhD theses are made available to both students and members of the public in both print and electronic format, held in the library and on the repositories, Goldsmiths Research Online (GRO) and EThOS. For information on the use of copyright material in PhD theses and the copyright itself of a PhD thesis, see here

Further advice on copyright

Advice can be requested from any organisations that represent copyright holders (many also collect royalties on behalf of members). For example, in the following areas:

Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) Books, journal articles, etc.
Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) Illegal recordings and use of film and broadcasts
Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC) Public broadcasts of films
Performing Rights Society Public performances of music
PPL/VPL Playing or broadcasting music or music videos in public



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