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Health and Social Care: Referencing

Library subject guide for nursing, midwifery, health and social care

School Referencing Guidelines

        School of Health and Social Care referencing guidelines [APA6th style] are here.   Try the APA6th online tutorial


Why reference?

 To acknowledge original authors and avoids plagiarism. Explains where your ideas have come from and gives credit to authors you have read.

When to reference?

To support your writing by referring to the work of another author, e.g. paraphrasing a statement, summarising an original passage or using a direct quote . Cite the work in the text and give the full reference in the reference list. If material is cited second hand, the original source should ideally be found and quoted.  Use secondary sources sparingly. 

What are citations and references?

Citation = name, or names and date, given in the main text, e.g. "stories act as triggers for reflection and discussion in nursing(Waugh & Donaldson, 2016). The citation is (Waugh & Donaldson, 2016). Reference = full source given in the end reference list.  The referencing style used in this School is APA6th.

What is the end reference list?

A list of all references cited in the paper. It comes at the end of your assignment and details all the books, journal articles, websites etc. that you have cited (referred to) in your work. An example reference from a list looks like:

Waugh, A and Donaldson, J H (2016) Students' perceptions of digital narratives of compassionate care. Nurse Education in Practice, 17, 22-29 doi

Collecting Ready Made APA references from electronic sources

Most  good quality academic databases used when searching for evidence have ready-made, built-in APA style references which you can copy and paste into your final reference list. See how to do this below.

NB Always remember to check citations for accuracy before including them in your work. Check them against your SHSC referencing flashcards.

Reference management software

Reference management software is effectively a large online filing cabinet for storing references and matching PDFs.  They will save you a great deal of time and effort when you are writing a paper, dissertation or thesis, but they do require a reasonably good level of IT skills.

Automatically export database search results to your reference manager e.g. from LibrarySearch or journal article databases. As you write your assignment and need to include a reference, pull the reference into your document from the reference manager. It will create the in text citation and the end reference list for you, formatted in the bibliographic style of your choice.

Edinburgh Napier supports two reference managers    - Endnote and Mendeley . See our separate reference management Libguide.


Endnote Desktop   -  Download from the university network. Also  available off campus via the Virtual Desktop Service. Synchronise Desktop & Online versions together for on/off campus use.

Endnote Online -    web based. Great for off campus use. Good for undergraduates

 Endnote  videos 


Mendeley - web based. Has a social networking element, allowing users to find and share references with others. Can set up a personal profile of your own publications.

Mendeley videos