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Researching and Referencing: Referencing Skills

This guide provides support to staff and students on research skills, referencing, study and writing skills and digital literacy

Bibliographies and Referencing

Several referencing styles have been developed over the years to record details of the sources you have used for your work. Examples include Harvard and American Psychology Association (APA) which are known as author date systems. Other styles include Chicago, MLA, Oxford and Vancouver.

Different subject areas tend to use different styles. For instance, sociology subjects tend to use APA, business based courses tend to use Harvard, and some arts courses use Chicago.

Even within these styles you will find different versions. APA follows an official manual and will be fairly consistent around the world. Harvard, however has no such rule book and you will find different versions at every university.

TAFE NSW has made the decision we will only use TAFE NSW Harvard or APA 7 and we have provided a consistent version of the styles to use across TAFE NSW. An exception is AGLC for Legal Studies courses.

Check with your teacher which style is the correct one for your course.

It's important that you check any citations that you might find via a citation generator or from a database against the TAFE NSW guidelines versions.

If you go on to study at other educational institutions or universities, you will need to make sure you follow the exact referencing style for your teaching department (again, check with your teacher when you start your course). The principles will be the same, but the format will probably be different from what you are used to in TAFE NSW!

For help with using the Harvard and APA 7 referencing guides, please contact your local library.

Information or ideas from other people's work used in the writing of your essays or reports must be acknowledged.

Why should I reference my work?

  • It demonstrates that you have researched and considered the ideas of others in developing your argument.
  • It provides the person marking the work with the specific names, dates and location of the information sources that you have used.
  • It ensures that you are not guilty of plagiarising.

bibliography or reference list is a complete list of all the books, articles, and other information sources you have read or used to help you write your essay or assignment. It should be arranged alphabetically by the author's surname.

What's the difference between a bibliography and a reference list?
A bibliography is a list of all the resources that have been read in the research of your assignment, but not necessarily used.  A reference list includes only the resources that have been used and cited in your assignment.

Note that APA does not use bibliographies, only reference lists

  • Record details as you take notes (e.g. author, title, year)
  • Record the URL or web address for websites.
  • Use the library catalogue to get details of books and DVDs. 
  • Write down the page number where you found useful information.
  • When quoting - use " " to show exact wording for in-text citations.

Learn more about referencing in the following tutorials.

Referencing Resources

There are many citation generators available for APA 7 and Harvard, but caution should be taken as they will not exactly match the TAFE NSW referencing guidelines.

Oxford referencing system
Also known as the documentary-note method.

The Vancouver system was first published by the Vancouver Group and was named after it. This style of referencing is mainly used in medicine and was further developed by the National Library of Medicine (US).





Annotated Bibliographies

Other Relevant LibGuides

How to do Bibliographies and Referencing in TAFE NSW

TAFE NSW citation generator

Fill in the details of the sources you use in your work and the citation generator will give you a citation that matches the TAFE NSW guidelines.
Start by clicking a link below to enter your own item and make a citation.


TAFE NSW print guides

Use the links below for a full text printable guide to the referencing standards of TAFE NSW.

Referencing Generative AI Tools

There are currently no confirmed guidelines to acknowledge these tools in Harvard or APA style. However, until these guidelines are developed, you may use the following formatting :

APA in-text citation
  • Formula: (Author, Year)
  • The author is the creator/publisher of the tool, ie Open AI, Google
  • Examples:

When prompted with “[your prompts]” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that “[generated content]” (OpenAI, 2023).

OpenAI (2023) indicated that "[generated content]"

Based on content provided by ChatGPT (OpenAI, 2023), [summary in your words]

Image label:  Image generated by OpenAI (2023)

APA  reference
  • Formula: Author. (Year). Title of software or model (Version date if known) [Format]. URL
  • Format is the description of the type of model as provided by the publishers
  • Example:

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].

OpenAI. (2023). DALL-E  [AI image generator].

  • APA ChatGPT guidelines are based on this 7 April 2023 APA style blog post: How to cite ChatGPT
Harvard in-text citation

As the source of information is not recoverable by the reader, describe the prompt (the question you asked) and/or content generated by AI in your writing and follow the reference format for personal communication by providing all the details in-text. Include the name of the communicator/program (e.g. OpenAI ChatGPT) as the author and be as precise as you can with the date that you created it. Do not include an entry in the reference list.

  • Formula: (Communicator, personal communication, Day Month Year)
  • Examples:
    • (OpenAI ChatGPT, personal communication, 7 February 2023)
    • In an online chat with OpenAI ChatGPT (7 February 2023) ...
  • Images and other media generated also needed to be attributed, for example: 
    • Image generated by OpenAI DALL-E, 7 February 2022
Related content, not included in the reference list
  • Where you are unable to export a shareable link, it is recommended that you save screenshots of your prompts and generated content to provide to your teacher as part of your assessment. You can include a link to your chat in assessments to indicate how you have used it, or export chats as files.

upload icon

Each chat can be exported and shared as a link. Anyone with a link can access your chat. However, any further prompts and responses with this chat will not be visible via the shared link. Therefore, you need to export it only at the end of your session. If you have turned your chat history off for privacy concerns, sharing a link is not possible.

Bing Chat

You can export as a word, PDF, or text file

Further information on using AI tools in TAFE assessments is available on the Generative AI tab of this guide         

Last updated 14.4.23