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Academic Integrity Toolkit

The tools you need to help you succeed in university study

"What does THIS mean?"

When you are reading your assignment brief, consulting your reading list, or doing your research, you are likely to come across a number of new terms. For instance, you may find that journal titles are abbreviated; organisations referred to by their initials; and terms like ibid, idem and op.cit. are used. You will soon get used to the abbreviations and terms used in your discipline. This page lists some common terms that you may encounter in your studies.

Note that, while it's important to know what these mean when you're reading, it's not always necessary to use them in your own writing. Check with your tutor to see what they prefer.

APA

A style of referencing developed by the American Psychological Association and used in Psychology, Education and English Language.

bibliography

A list of all the sources of information used in researching your assignment, in alphabetical order of author’s surname.

brief reference

An abbreviated citation placed in the body of the text or in a footnote/endnote, giving author’s surname, year of publication and page number if appropriate.

cf. (also cp.) Compare, from the Latin conferre.
Chicago Style of referencing which offers two options for citations: either to list brief citations in the body of the text as in Harvard referencing, or to list them in footnotes as in Oxford referencing. Check which format you are expected to use.

citation

The key details that uniquely identify a source of information, ordered accordingly to a format described by a referencing style.

copyright

The legal rights that belong to the creator of an original work to be given credit for its creation. You breach copyright if you fail to acknowledge the original author of a quote or idea that you use in your work.

direct quotation

When the exact words are copied from a source. A direct quotation should always be marked with single or double quotation marks (depending on the preferred style of your department), or by indenting and single spacing if the quote is longer than 40 words.

DOI

A string of characters used to identify an electronic document. Stands for Digital Object Identifier.

endnote

A note inserted at the end of a document which may include in-text citations.

EndNote

A commercial software program which manages your references, available on University PCs. There is also a free web-based version. The Library offer EndNote training.

et al

Latin term meaning ‘and the others’, used to indicate multiple authors in brief citations.

footnote

A note inserted in the footer of a page which may include in-text citations.

full reference

A citation including the full details of a source of information, ordered accordingly to a format described by a referencing style.

ibid.

Used in footnotes or endnotes to show that the source is the same as that cited in the previous footnote or endnote. Shortening of the Latin ibidem, meaning 'in the same place'.

idem.

Means 'the same' in Latin and is used in place of the author's name for more than one reference to works by the same author (eg Austen, Jane. Emma p. 96 ; Idem. Pride and prejudice, p. 135)

in-text reference

A citation located at the place in your writing where a source, or idea from a source, is referred to. Depending on the referencing style, this may be brief, full or designated by a number, and either in parentheses or in a footnote/endnote identified by a superscript number in the body of your writing at the appropriate place.

Harvard

A widely-used referencing style, also known as the ‘author-date’ system after the form of its in-text references.

MHRA

A style of referencing used in arts disciplines where there may be a need to refer extensively to primary texts (e.g. novels, poems, playscripts etc). Stands for Modern Humanities Research Association.

numeric referencing

A system of referencing in which each source is assigned a number in accordance with its first appearance in the text. This number is then used to identify the same text on subsequent appearances. The reference list is in numerical order, rather than alphabetical order of author.

op. cit. An abbreviation of the Latin opere citato, meaning 'in the work cited'. Look back in the reference list for full publication details which have already been given.

OSCOLA

A system of referencing used for academic writing in law. Stands for Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities. Provides standard formats for citing legal sources.

Oxford

A style of referencing which uses footnotes or endnotes. Full details are included on the first mention of a text, with an abbreviated form used for any subsequent mention of the same text. Used in humanities disciplines.

plagiarism

Passing off someone else’s work as your own. May be deliberate or unintentional.

poor academic practice

Producing derivative or incorrectly referenced work. Usually the result of a failure to learn how to practise correct referencing at university, or misunderstanding the importance of this.

reference

The use of a piece of information derived from a source to illustrate, expand, support or develop a piece of writing.

reference list

A list of all the sources referred to in the text. (Note that this is different to a bibliography.)

source

The original location of a piece of information e.g. a book, journal article, report, website, television programme, work of art etc.

superscript

The small raised number used in the text to indicate the footnote or endnote where you can find more details (e.g. the citation for that source in some systems).

Turnitin

Originality checking software which compares your work to other sources in a large database of publications, web pages, student papers, etc.

URL

The online address of a website (e.g. www.reading.ac.uk). Stands for Uniform Resource Locator.

Vancouver

A numeric referencing system used by scientific (especially medical) journals including the British Medical Journal.