Referencing your writing

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When writing an academic paper, it is important to reference the sources of your information properly to avoid plagiarism. I have included an example of my academic writing below (in italics) as an example of what referencing looks like in an academic essay:

This paper seeks to explore some government policies regarding Aboriginal people and education, and the way that history affects current learning in the classroom.

What is the connection between some key events in Aboriginal Australian history and official education policies? How have Aboriginal people responded to these policies?

In 1814 Governor Macquarie opened a school for ‘natives’ in an attempt to ‘civilise’ individuals (Nichol, 2005, p. 256), however “Aboriginal leaders opposed these endeavours” (Nichol, 2005, p. 256). This opposition is an example of Keeffe’s definition of ‘Aboriginality-as-Resistance’ (Keeffe, 1992, p. 52) which shows Aboriginal people actively resisting the demands of white society. Aboriginal people were unfairly stereotyped (Lippmann, 1994, p. 4) by settlers who regarded the traditional owners of the land as a dying race, useful as fodder for domestic work (Parbury, 2011, pp. 134-135). Aboriginal people did not appreciate this and to this day “look back on their white contact history with the bitterest indignation and resentment” (Lippman, 1994, p. 17).


As you can see, each idea is backed up by a reference to someone else’s idea. The referencing method in the above example is called APA style and it begins with the writer’s surname, the date the writing was published, and the page number that the information comes from.

Other referencing styles will include the references in a footnote instead, for example:

In 1814 Governor Macquarie opened a school for ‘natives’ in an attempt to ‘civilise’ individuals (1.), however “Aboriginal leaders opposed these endeavours” (2.).

  1. Nichol, 2005, p. 256
  2. Nichol, 2005, p. 256

While not everyone is writing an academic essay, the same principles apply to school projects and informal fact-writing where each information source needs to be recognised.

Let me know how you prefer to reference your work…



Keeffe, K. (1992). ‘Talking and Learning about Aboriginality-as-Persistence.’ In: From the centre to the city : Aboriginal education, culture and power / Kevin Keeffe. Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press, 1992, pp. 48-59.

Lippmann, L. (1994). ‘The history of oppression begins.’ In: Generations of resistance: Mabo and justice / 3rd ed. Melbourne : Longman Cheshire, 1994. Chapter 1, pp. 1-19.

Nichol, R. (2005). ‘Aboriginal Education in New South Wales : nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries.’ In: Socialization, land, and citizenship among aboriginal Australians : reconciling indigenous and Western forms of education / Raymond Matthew Nichol. Lewiston, N.Y. : Edwin Mellen Press, 2005. Chapter 7, pp. 253-276.