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SBL Harvard Referencing Style: Introduction to Referencing and Plagiarism

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The Graduate School of Business Leadership (SBL) at Unisa uses the Harvard referencing method. This method has been internationally accepted and standardised, and is a widely accepted referencing method in many higher education institutions worldwide.

It is very important that you use the contents of this guide when writing your assignments, research proposals and research reports to add in-text citations where you use another author’s work or idea, and to compile a list of cited references at the end of your document. You will be penalised if you do not use the correct referencing technique and if your list of references is not of a high academic standard.

An author’s idea is acknowledged by adding an in-text citation where you refer to such author’s work and by including the complete reference in the list of references at the end of your document. Sources are acknowledged whether you quote directly from it, summarise ideas from it, or base an argument on it.

Works are cited for the following reasons:

  • to indicate the source of any statements made;
  • to acknowledge authors’ work;
  • to enable the reader to locate and consult your sources. The reader must be able to go to the sources you have consulted to judge whether each source is credible and whether you have interpreted and transmitted the facts and ideas correctly;
  • to add weight to your argument by citing authoritative sources; and
  • most students do not intend to commit plagiarism but may do so unintentionally due to ignorance, because they are in a hurry, or they might have careless study habits. Failure to provide references discredits the integrity of your research and exposes you to a charge of plagiarism.


The acknowledgement of another author's work is called a reference, and the failure to provide references discredits the integrity of the research and exposes the writer to a charge of plagiarism.

Plagiarism is when you present another person’s ideas as your own, without properly acknowledging the source of the ideas. It is regarded as a criminal offense.

You are plagiarising if you are:

  • Turning is someone else's work as your own
  • Copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, irrespective of the fact that you gave credit or whether you used quotation marks
  • Copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
  • Failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
  • Giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
  • Changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit


  • Whenever you use a fact, phrase, chart or quotation from someone else in your work, you must acknowledge the original source

  • Keep careful notes of every source you consult, so that no sources are used without proper acknowledgment

  • Never copy and paste anything from the Internet without also copying the URL where you found it to ensure that you can provide a full citation for the source

  • Do not use the work of fellow students

  • Consider using Mendeley as a personal database  for all your references


Be wise-... don't plagiarise


Please refer to these guidelines on Writing for Academic Integrity

Please refer to the following Unisa policy document:


A bibliography is far more comprehensive than a list of references, as it is an alphabetical list of all materials consulted, in addition to those cited in the text


A line that identifies the source of a statement, and occurs in the body of a paper. It is also called an in-text citation, for example

(Author(s), publication year:pages)

(Palmer, 2010:12)


​A citation style shows the format you need to use when presenting your in-text citations and bibliographies  There are a number of citation styles, e.g. APA, Harvard, Chicago etc. and which one is used can depend on the academic discipline. They all convey the same information,  but they present it differently. 


This method involves name-and-date references in the text, with an alphabetically arranged list of sources

  • Unisa uses the Augmented Harvard Reference Style

  • It is the prerogative of the promoter/ supervisor to prescribe the style to be used

  • Always consult with your supervisor first

  • This presentation is based on the Bibliographic Style & Reference Techniques by Marlene Burger


A list of references is an alphabetical list of all the sources that you cited in the text of your paper. This means that all the publications cited in your work must be contained in the list of references.

The SBL requires a single list of references at the end of the written work that provides accurate details of all the sources cited. It should provide enough information to allow your reader to identify and locate the source that you used and distinguish it from other versions of the same material. An example of a List of References has been included at the end of this guide.


  • Paraphrasing is when you make use of someone else’s ideas, but put them into your own words, and according to your personal style of writing (thus avoiding plagiarism)

  • Generally, it is better to paraphrase than to quote

  • Ensure that you formulate others’ ideas in such a way that it blends in nicely with your own writing style

  • Do not misrepresent the other person’s ideas in order to suit your purposes

  • As with quotations, acknowledge the source of your ideas using the prescribed referencing method



Refers to a specific source that an author has written


When you quote the exact words of an author

  • Use inverted commas (“ “) directly before and after the quoted text

  • Acknowledge the source of the quotation in line with the referencing method prescribed by your department or subject field

           "... describes how services marketing works in practice"  (Palmer, 1998: 23)

Quotations can not be an entire paragraph that was copied and pasted word for word. A quotation is a short excerpt surrounded by your own words.


This refers to a document consulted in your research. It should include all the bibliographic details needed to trace the document, for example   

 Author’s Surname, Initials. Year of publication. Title of book (in italics). Edition. Place of  publication: Publisher.

 Palmer,  A. 1998. Principles of services marketing. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw- Hill


Refers to material which is written as an interpretation, criticism or research about an author or subject

  • Read the original passages from more than one quality source carefully to ensure that you understand the concepts clearly
  • Ensure that you understand all the concepts clearly by looking up synonyms for words in the passage that you are reading
  • Take notes by writing down each idea presented in the passage in a few words, not in a complete sentence
  • If you have to paraphrase a long passage, it might be helpful for you to make a brief outline
  • Write your paraphrased section from your notes without consulting the original sources
  • Compare your paraphrased section with the original and ensure that you didn't copy words or sentence structures too similarly
  • Ensure that you present the original meaning accurately and that you neither add new ideas nor remove any important parts from the original
  • Finally, add a reference at the end of the paraphrased section, and don't forget to include the sources in your reference list.


A list of references is an alphabetical list of all the sources that you have cited in the text of your work. This means that all the publications cited in your work must be contained in the list of references.

A bibliography, on the other hand, is far more comprehensive, as it is an alphabetical list of all materials consulted, in addition to those cited in the text.

CEMS requires a single list of references at the end of the written work that provides accurate details of all the sources cited. It should provide enough information to allow your reader to identify and locate the source that you have used and to distinguish it from other versions of the same material. An example of a list of references is included at the end of this guide.

General rules of referencing


  • Be consistent throughout your list of references!
  • The reference list is always arranged in alphabetical order by the author’s surname.
  • References must not be numbered.
  • The layout, punctuation and capitalisation of all references should be consistent throughout the list of references.
  • Capitalise the first letter of all personal names, corporate authors and place names.
  • Only capitalise the first letter of the first word in the title of a book or journal article, e.g. Cases in services marketing. In the case of a book, the title should be in italics. The title of an article is neither in italics nor in inverted commas (see examples in the list at the end of this guide).
  • Capitalise the first letter of all the words other than conjunctions (and, or, of, etc.) for names of journals, e.g. Management Review Quarterly (name of journal in italics).
  • Use italics as shown in this guide when using a word processor and underlining when you are writing or using a typewriter. The titles of unpublished works are not italicised.
  • For in-text citations, use round brackets ().
  • Do not use brackets around the date in your list of references, but use square brackets [ ] for the date on which you accessed an online resource.
  • If there is no date, use (n.d.). If no place of publication is given, use (s.l.) and if no author is given, use Anon.
  • Always use the ampersand, i.e. & instead of ‘and’, except in cases where the author is cited as part of a sentence, e.g. According to Wiid and Cant (2021) …
  • Page ranges must be written as: 78–80.
  • The year of publication always follows the author(s).
  • Editions of books are always written in full, e.g., 2nd edition. A first edition is never referred to as such in the reference list.

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You may wish to quote a piece of work that has been referred to in something you have read. This is called ‘secondary referencing’ because you have not read the original piece of work. In other words, you are relying on the author you are reading to give a fair reflection of the contents of the original work. Wherever possible, it is important to read the original work, but this may be difficult in some instances. If you must refer to a secondary reference, your text should make it clear that you have not read the original.

This is only acceptable under extreme circumstances. It is important to consult the original material to ensure that you understand the context of what was discussed.


Research used by Smith (2000) regarding services marketing, shows that the indicators formulated by Grant (1994) in his PhD thesis entitled   Services marketing in transportation (Dunhill University) are applicable to the airline industry.

The work by Smith (2000) will be included in your bibliography, as this is where you read about Grant’s research.  However, the work by Grant (1994) is not included. You cannot include details about the original study, as you have not consulted it.

Another example:

A process project might consist of a number of stages including experimentation and production (Rondinelli 1983, cited in Potts, 2002:37). List the source you actually read, i.e. Potts.

Turnitin - Plagiarism Detection Software - for staff and students

Please consult your research supervisor with regard to the plagiarism detection tools at the University

 At Unisa, Turnitin is used.

Turnitin is an internet based anti-plagiarism detection software that is aimed at promoting quality academic writing within learning Institutions. This allows students to develop quality writing skills as it facilitates rich, significant feedback on their submitted work. Hence in this process, they are able to improve their academic writing.

Instructors/Lecturers require students to submit their written assignments to Turnitin. The system then checks the submitted document for non-originality (possible plagiarism) by comparing submitted papers to several databases/repositories on the world wide web. Instructors/Lecturers are then able to monitor a student's similarity index.

Make use of the Turnitin website for more information.

Queries regarding Turnitin

All queries regarding the use of Turnitin can also be emailed to

Please find the attached Turnitin guide and the Turnitin form for your information. 

The completed form must be sent to: if you are not able to access the Turnitin. 

Kindly note that the University does not support private email addresses.  You may ONLY use your myLife email account for Turnitin at Unisa. You can claim your myLife e-mail at :