Diploma of Nursing: Referencing & plagiarism

Why reference?

Writing at university may involve researching the ideas of other people, which you can combine with your own ideas and conclusions. Learning to acknowledge other people’s work through in-text citing  in addition to providing a reference list will help differentiate between their ideas and your own. 

So why reference?

To show respect for the original source. Using someone else’s work as your own without properly acknowledging it is considered intellectual theft.

To demonstrate that you have done the research. Your teachers want to see that you have considered the experts when forming the basis of your arguments.

To show what research you've done. Your teacher must assess the quality of your research. Accurate referencing following a specific style will enable the reader to easily locate and verify your research.

To avoid plagiarism. Failure to properly acknowledge when you have used the work of others means you are implying that the idea or words are yours. This is plagiarism and the consequences may affect your academic progress at university. 

Read the VU Academic Integrity Policy for more details.

Referencing guides

Different subject disciplines use different referencing styles. In  the Diploma of Nursing you are required to use the APA  referencing style. 

APA style guide  

It is a good idea to check with each of your teachers at the start of semester. Some units may require you to use a different referencing style. Other Referencing Styles guides can be found on the Library website

Referencing style guides

APA referencing

In APA style there are two components to referencing:

  • in-text references that accompany other peoples quotes or ideas that you use in your work 
  • reference list at the end of your paper

The in text reference

An in text reference provides a brief acknowledgement of the source of information or an idea in the text of your writing. Full details are provided in the Reference list at the end of the document.

When you include ideas or information from a book, journal article or website in your writing you must include an in text reference at the point in your writing where you have referred to the ideas or information.

APA is an 'author/date' system, so your in-text reference for all formats (book, journal article, web document) consists of:

    (author(s) surname,  year of publication)


The basics of an in-text reference in APA:


All in-text references should be listed in full in the reference list at the end of your document. See below or go to Victoria University's online APA Guide

The Reference List

All in-text references should be listed in full in the Reference list at the end of your document.

Reference list entries contain all the information that someone needs to follow up your source.

Reference lists in APA :

  • are arranged alphabetically by author,
  • indent second and subsequent lines of each entry (5-7 spaces)
  • use double spacing


Example APA Reference List:


Ashwin, P. (Ed.). (2006). Changing higher education: The development of learning and teaching. London, England: Routledge. 

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). Childhood education and care (No. 4402.0). Canberra, ACT: Author. Retrieved from http://www.abs.gov.au

Fuller, C. F. (2011). Sociology, gender and educational aspirations: Girls and their ambitions. Albany, NY: Continuum International.

Klimoski, R., & Palmer, S. (1993). The ADA and the hiring process in organizations. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 

       45(2),10-36. doi:10.1037/1061-4087.45.2.10


For more information go to Victoria University's online APA Guide 

APA referencing videos

This series of videos takes you through the fundamentals of the APA Referencing style. Refer to the Victoria University APA guide for examples of in-text referencing and more information.