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Business Management: Referencing & Plagiarism

Introduction to Referencing

Referencing is the systematic and standardized method of acknowledging the sources of information used in academic or scholarly work. It involves citing the references or sources of information within the text and creating a detailed bibliography or works cited page at the end of a document. This can be done manually or by making use of a reference management tool.

Different academic fields require following specific citation styles, like Harvard, APA, MLA, or Chicago. Reference management tools automate the use of in-text citations and the list of references in your chosen citation style and helps your adherence to the necessary citation style.

The College of Economic and Management Sciences uses Harvard and APA 7th edition. Consult your supervisor or lecturer to find out which reference style you must use.

Referencing is important for the following reasons:

Academic Integrity Referencing is a cornerstone of academic integrity. By citing sources accurately, scholars and students demonstrate honesty, giving credit to the original authors for their ideas, research, and intellectual contributions. It establishes a foundation of trust and accountability in the academic community. Facilitating Verification Referencing allows readers to verify and build upon the cited information. It enables researchers to trace the evolution of ideas, follow the development of a field of study, and engage in a scholarly conversation. The transparent citation of sources promotes transparency and encourages intellectual dialogue.
Avoiding Plagiarism Plagiarism, the act of presenting someone else's work or ideas as one's own, is a serious ethical violation in academia. Referencing serves as a safeguard against plagiarism by clearly attributing information to its rightful origin. It distinguishes between the author's original contributions and borrowed material. Acknowledging Diverse Perspectives Inclusive and thorough referencing acknowledges the contributions of a diverse range of authors and perspectives. It helps avoid biases and ensures that credit is given to individuals from various backgrounds and disciplines, enriching the overall quality and diversity of academic discourse.
Building Credibility Accurate referencing enhances the credibility of academic work. Properly citing sources demonstrates that the information presented is well-researched and supported by authoritative references. This, in turn, adds weight to the arguments and conclusions presented in the work.    

How to Paraphrase


Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else's ideas, words, or work as one's own without proper attribution or acknowledgment. It involves the unauthorized use of intellectual property, intentionally or unintentionally, and is considered a breach of academic and ethical standards. Understanding these various types of plagiarism is crucial for maintaining academic integrity and promoting honest and original scholarship. Educational institutions typically have strict policies and consequences for instances of plagiarism to ensure the ethical and fair assessment of students' work.

COPY-AND-PASTE Directly lifting passages, sentences, or paragraphs from a source and inserting them into one's own work without quotation marks or proper citation.
VERBATIM Directly quoting a source without using quotation marks or proper citation. Verbatim plagiarism involves reproducing the original text word-for-word.
PATCHWRITING Combining original and copied text by making superficial changes without proper citation. Patchwriting often involves rearranging words or phrases while retaining the structure of the original.
INCORRECT PARAPHRASING Rewriting someone else's ideas or content in one's own words without giving credit to the original source. This type of plagiarism occurs when the structure and meaning remain too similar to the original.
SOURCE MISREPRESENTATION Falsifying or misrepresenting the source of information, either by attributing it to a non-existent or incorrect source or by manipulating citations to give a false impression of the depth of research.
GHOSTWRITING Submitting work that was entirely or partially created by someone else without proper acknowledgment. This often occurs when someone else writes a paper or assignment on behalf of the student. Collaborating with others to produce work that is then submitted as an individual effort. This form of plagiarism involves sharing or submitting work that is not solely one's own.
INACCURATE CITATIONS Incorrectly citing sources, either by providing inaccurate information or by citing a source that was not consulted. This form of plagiarism misleads readers about the actual sources used in the work.
SELF-PLAGIARISM Submitting one's own previously submitted work, or a substantial portion of it, without proper citation.

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Introduction To Reference Management Tools

Academic research involves dealing with a variety of sources,and managing them can be challenging and time consuming. A reference management tool makes this process easier by helping you to capture the bibliographic information of research publications and provides functionality to systematically organise you references to ensure that you can find and use your references to reference accurately.

Different academic fields require following specific citation styles, like Harvard, APA, MLA, or Chicago and reference management tools automate the use of in-text citations and the list of references in your chosen citation style and helps you adherence to the necessary citation style.

The College of Economic and Management Sciences use Harvard and APA 7th edition. Consult your supervisor or lecturer to find out which reference style you must use.

In addition to giving credit, referencing acts as a safeguard against unintentional plagiarism and reference management tools provide an easy way of accurately attributing ideas.


  • REFWORKS is a subscription-based web-based reference management tool designed to assist researchers, students, and academics in the organization, citation, and collaboration aspects of their scholarly work. Developed by ProQuest, RefWorks offers a user-friendly platform with features that facilitate the entire research process.
    Create your account with your myLife or unisa email address to gain access to RefWorks.

  • ENDNOTE is a comprehensive subscription-based reference management software developed by Clarivate Analytics, designed to facilitate the organization, storage, and citation of bibliographic references for researchers, students, and academics. EndNote is widely used in academic and scientific circles and offers a range of features to enhance the research process. Unisa has a limited amount of licenses. Please contact your personal librarian to arrange a license to access EndNote.
  • MENDELEY is a free widely used reference management and academic social networking tool that assists researchers, students, and academics in organizing, sharing, and discovering scholarly research. Developed by Elsevier, Mendeley offers a range of features designed to streamline the research process and foster collaboration within the academic community.
  • ZOTERO is a free, open-source reference management tool designed to assist researchers, scholars, and students in organizing, collecting, citing, and sharing research materials. Developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, Zotero offers a user-friendly interface and a suite of features tailored to academic needs.

What is plagiarism?


RefWorks is the preferred reference management tool for College of Economic and Management Science as it contains a template for CEMS Harvard and CEMS APA 7th edition referencing styles.

Register your RefWorks account by going to Click on 'Create Account' and sign up using your myLife or Unisa e-mail address.

You can learn how to use RefWorks by using the Proquest RefWorks library guide.


Make use of folders to keep your references structured according to the stage of your research, e.g. a folder for your Research Proposal, Research Design, Research Methodology, Chapters and themes.

Make use of Tags to link publications according to keywords or variables.


Turnitin is an online plagiarism detection service and academic integrity tool widely used by educational institutions, and is the official plagiarism detection tool used at Unisa and is integrated within myUnisa. The platform is designed to promote originality in academic writing by identifying and preventing plagiarism. Here are key features and aspects of Turnitin:

Turnitin's primary function is to scan submitted documents, including essays, papers, and assignments, to detect instances of plagiarism. It compares the text against a vast database of academic content, internet sources, and other students' submissions.

After scanning a document, Turnitin generates an Originality Report that highlights any matching or similar text found in the database. This report assists you and your supervisor to identifying and address potential instances of plagiarism.

Turnitin queries can be directed to the Turnitin staff at

The following documents were provided to the library by the Turnitin staff: