Referencing in your writing

R19–0553 OPTO31252

Supporting materials

  • Slides/materials: Slides
  • Online session materials: N/A
  • Other materials used: Handout


  • Group: 70
  • Length: 50 minutes
  • Room: flat classroom or small lecture theatre
  • Discipline: any (examples tailored for optometry)
  • Level: UG

Learning outcomes

After engaging with this support, you will be able to:

  • Distinguish between types of reading for different purposes
  • Assess how a particular source fits within the wider context of literature and existing knowledge
  • Critically analyse arguments within sources to identify strengths and weaknesses
  • Understand the conventions for citation styles and bibliographies required for your assignment
  • Evaluate reference management tools, identify one to use if appropriate and learn how to use it effectively

Suggested online resources

Session content

During this session students will explore the purpose of academic referencing and the different ways in which secondary sources can be incorporated into your writing. The session is designed to prepare the group to produce their 3rd year final project (a literature review).

Introduction (slides 1–2)

Outline what will be covered during the session:

  1. Why we reference
  2. How we reference
  3. Your voice and their voice

Why we reference — activity (slide 3)

Students discuss the following questions with the person next to them (5 minutes)

  • What is the purpose of referencing for the writer?
  • What is the purpose of referencing for the reader?
why reference

The facilitator asks for ideas from the group and highlights anything which they don’t mention using slide 4:

Why reference

How we reference — activity (slide 5)

In their pairs students review the first extract from an example essay provided on the handout. Together they should find examples of the different ways in which the author has incorporated references/the work of others in their writing (7 minutes).

Once the time is up ask students to feedback the different examples they found, the technique and why it was used.

Show students an example of a citation, quote and a paraphrased idea from the essay on slide 7:

Referencing examples

Incorporating sources in your writing (slide 8)

Consolidate learning from the last activity by explaining in more detail the different methods which students can use to incorporate the ideas of others in their work, including in which situations these methods are most appropriate.

Cite, quote or paraphrase.

It says, I see and so (slide 29)

Introduce students to the “It says, I see and so” model, which can help them to balance the views of others with their own ideas in a piece of academic writing.

  • It says — This is the information, data or idea which you have found in another source.
  • I see — This is where you provide your analysis of the information you have found. What is your take on the evidence? What does it suggest to you — do you agree with the original authors interpretation?
  • And so — This is the point where you connect the evidence/your analysis with the wider question or debate. What is the significance of the evidence? How does it support your argument or contribute to the wider discipline? How could insight gained be applied?

Activity — ways to be critical (slides 10–12)

In pairs students review the second extract from the example essay (provided on the handout). Ask them to highlight the different ways in which the author has been critical in their writing.

Synthesising information (slides 13–14)

Introduce mind maps and tables as two ways in which students can synthesise the information which they find as they carry out their literature search. Demonstrate, using the example mind map created in Mindview, how collating information in this way can help you to see the bigger picture and develop your critical understand of the topic as a whole.

Next steps and further help (Slides 15–19)
Highlight support which is available via drop ins and provide guidance on useful next steps following the presentation. Highlight the most relevant online resources which are available in Blackboard e.g. Start to finish: referencing and the referencing guide.

Internal ID: R19–0553



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Library for Educators

Library for Educators

Sharing resources for educators, from The University of Manchester Library