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Top Mistakes Made In Academic Practice


Referencing; one of the most asked questions by students in the run up to their assignment deadlines. Luckily, this blog has you covered! First thing you should do is check out the Study Skills page which will help give you a basic idea of how to Harvard reference correctly.

If you are still wondering how to go about referencing then this blog has you covered for the main areas. One of the biggest problems students have with Harvard referencing tends to be they are often unsure as to where the brackets go in citations. So here’s a question for you: which of these is correct?

According to (Khan, 20019), consumers trust brands more if they show their green credentials.


According to Khan (2019), consumers trust brands more if they show their green credentials.

Yes, it is of course the SECOND option - if you use a verb such as “believes”, “states”, “questions”, etc, then the author’s name doesn’t go in brackets.

However, if your writing focuses on an author’s idea, as opposed to their name, then their name does go in brackets:

Consumers trust brands more if they show their green credentials (Khan, 2019).

OK, so far so good. But now I have another question for you - if you read a journal and they quote another author’s idea, how can you reference that second author’s idea?

For example, you read Khan’s book, and she mentions a journal article by Ngaum. How would you refer to Ngaum?

It’s OK, I’ll let you in on the answer - this is called secondary referencing, and the key phrase you need here is “cited in”. Your citation will look like this:

In a 2017 survey, brands with proven sustainability targets were rated 15% more trustworthy than those without (Ngaum, 2017, cited in Khan, 2019).

So you can see that you put in both authors’ surnames and the years. But because you found Ngaum’s information in Khan’s book, you include Khan’s book in your reference list ONLY.

Is that clear? Hope I haven’t confused you ;)

“OK Piers - I’ve got that. But why don’t you explain to me about et al? I’ve never really understood when to use that”.

You’re right - this one often confuses people. Here’s an example:

Brand Loyalty in Gen Zs is more fluid than in other groups (Richardson et al., 2021).

If you are still feeling confused about referencing then speak up in class and ask your tutor or even take a second look at the study skills page! Get referencing...


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