Citing evidence & referencing

Learn how to correctly use sources as evidence, integrate sources within your writing and understand the basic elements of referencing.

Learning outcomes

This topic will help you learn the basics of correctly and effectively using sources in assessments, including how to:


For your University assessments, you are required to identify reputable information sources (evidence) that support your ideas and arguments, acknowledge those sources, and include the correct referencing formats for them.

This means correctly and effectively citing the work of others, in the form of paraphrases, summaries or quotes in your text, and including a list of references at the end of your document.

This topic offers key information and easy strategies that will help you to correctly and effectively use information from others’ sources in your writing. Always carefully check assessment requirements.

Southern Cross University students must complete the mandatory Academic Integrity Module within their first session, term or study period. Set yourself up for study success by completing the module early.

Correctly and effectively using sources

It is important to understand the difference between correct and effective source use in assessments. Given you need to use sources in all assessments, understanding this distinction will set you up for study success.

  • Correctly using sources entails practising academic integrity, and is the minimum requirement you need to meet in all assessments.
  • Effectively using sources will improve the quality of your informed responses, and your grades.

Your first priority must always be correctly using paraphrases, quotes and referencing so that you practise academic integrity. It is a simple way to clearly acknowledge every time you use information, words, or images from outside sources.

Effectively using these sources is the next step that will improve the quality of your assessments and your grades. It involves turning sources into evidence that illustrates, elaborates, and supports your response to the task.

Evidence takes different forms depending on the subject and the task. Common types of evidence include: definitions, expert opinion, statistics, figures, examples, experiment results, and research findings. Sources used as evidence need to credible, current, and reliable. The Writing at university topic further explains evidence.

Essential referencing information

The Library’s referencing guides provide comprehensive help with formatting citations and references for different sources. There are four different types of referencing styles used at Southern Cross University, they are:

Note: a new SCU Harvard Referencing Guide has been introduced by the SCU Library (June 2022). It is based on the Australian Government style manual. There are many style changes that have been incorporated into this guide. Take the time to become familiar with these changes. This comparative summary document of the main changes may be helpful initially. The pre-June 2022 SCU Harvard Referencing Guide remains accessible until 31 October 2022. Check your task information or with your unit assessor or lecturer for which version of the SCU Harvard Referencing Guide you should be using.

APA 7th and Harvard use author date referencing and AGLC4 and Chicago use footnotes and bibliography. To find out what referencing style you should be using, check your study guide or ask your unit assessor.

Take the short interactive modules below to better understand the Harvard and APA 7th referencing styles.

To understand the Harvard and APA referencing styles in more detail, and how to reference commonly used sources, watch the referencing How to videos from the Learning Zone.

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