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Legal referencing

If you have been instructed by your lecturer to use footnotes in your referencing, refer to the link given.

2.4.5 Order of entries in a reference list

Note: The following provide examples of how to order your reference list. No full stops are used between an author’s initials, and no comma is used after the last author's initials. The dots following the entries’ names indicate the details of the reference that should follow.

Table 5
Reference list order rules
Reference list

The reference list is arranged first alphabetically by author, and if the authors are the same then by date.

A reference with multiple authors follows single author entries beginning with the same author name.

Where an item has no author it is listed by its title.

Where several works have the same author and year of publication, add the letters a, b, ... etc according to the alphabetical order of the titles in the reference list, ignoring the initial articles A, An or The.

Jones, AB 2000, ...

Origin Energy 2005, …

Smith, AK 1990, ...

Smith, AK 1999, …

Smith, AK 2004, …

Stein, B 2003, …(single author entry)

Stein, B, Lee, HK, Yin, CX & Singh, GS 2000, … (plural and alphabetical author entry, that is, Lee comes before Reynolds in the English alphabet.)

Stein, B & Reynolds, JS 1995, …
Stein, B & Reynolds, JS 2000, … (This reference is sorted by its date, it has the same authors as the reference before it but was written at a later date)…

Style manual for authors, editors and printers 2002, ...

Young, JC 1988a, Economic indicators

Young, JC 1988b, A quick guide … (Economic comes before quick in the English alphabet)

Young, JC & Smith, AK 1988, …

2.5 Other referencing systems

Although you are normally required to use the style described above, you will come across many other methods of referencing. These include other versions of the Author-date or Harvard system as well as Note systems. Further details of some of these styles are available via the Library website at or in style manuals in the Library.

Table 6
Referencing system

Other author-date styles

There are many other versions of the Author-date or Harvard style apart from that described above. The main similarity is that they use in-text citations and a reference list. However they may differ in their use of punctuation, brackets, italics, underlined or bold formatting, method of designating volume, issue and pages numbers, etc.

Only use a different author-date style if your lecturer specifically requests it, and make sure you follow the required style closely.

Reword to include exceptions eg Law.

APA style, as described in the Publication manual of the American Psychological Association 2001, 5th edn, APA, Washington, DC. This style is widely used internationally in the social sciences.

Many academic journals have their own author-date style.

Many style manuals e.g. Chicago, MLA and Turabian include an author-date style.

Note systems

While it is not RMIT Business style, you may at some stage be asked to use the Note system of referencing, either footnotes or endnotes. This system is commonly used in law, as well as sciences and humanities. Examples of styles using a Note system are shown opposite.

Only use a Note style if your lecturer specifically requests it, and make sure you follow the required style closely.

Australian Legal Citation Style, as described in Australian guide to legal citation 2002, 2nd edn, Melbourne University Law Review Association and at

Documentary note style as described in Style manual for authors, editors and printers, 2002, 6th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Australia, pp. 208-15.

Vancouver style as described in Style manual for authors, editors and printers, 2002, 6th edn, John Wiley & Sons, Australia, pp. 215-8 or other sources.

2.6 Commonly used abbreviations in referencing
The abbreviations listed below may appear in other bibliographies, lists of references, footnotes and endnotes:

Table 7




c. (Latin circa) e.g. c. 1835


ch., chs

col., cols

edn (note: no full stop)

ed., eds


et al.

f., ff.

fig., figs




no., nos

p., pp.

para., paras


2nd (note: no full stop – see ch.8.2 on numbering)

sec., s., ss.

vol., vols



approximately, about






for example

and others

and the following pages


the same

that is

no date





second (edition)

section (s. for section, ss. for subsection of legislation)


2.7 Using EndNote with RMIT Business style

EndNote is a software program that helps you keep track of the details of books, articles, websites or other information sources which you may need to refer to in your assignments or thesis. It is particularly recommended for use by staff and postgraduate students.
EndNote allows you to

  • create, store and manage references to books, journal articles, web sites, conference papers, multimedia and other sources of information

  • insert selected references directly into a word processed document and automatically create and format bibliographies in a chosen style

  • search and retrieve records from remote catalogues and databases

RMIT has a site licence for EndNote, which allows you to use it at RMIT and on your own computer. Further details are available on the Library's EndNote tutorial at This site also has an output style available for download, labelled "Harvard ed6" which follows Style manual (2002) as used at RMIT Business.
3. Plagiarism

3.1 RMIT University definition of plagiarism

RMIT has an assessment charter, which elaborates key responsibilities common to all staff and students in relation to assessment and defines the University’s policy on plagiarism. Plagiarism is defined (RMIT University 2003a) as stealing somebody’s intellectual property (IP) by presenting their work, thoughts or ideas as though they are your own. It is cheating. It is a serious academic offence and can lead to expulsion from RMIT.
Plagiarism can take many forms - written, graphic and visual forms, and includes use of electronic data and material used in oral presentations. Plagiarism may even occur unintentionally, such as when the origin of the material used is not properly cited.

3.1.1 What constitutes plagiarism?

Under the charter, you may be accused of plagiarism if you do any of the following:

  • Copy sentences or paragraphs word-for-word from any source, whether published or unpublished (including, but not limited to books, journals, reports, theses, websites, conference papers, course notes, etc.) without proper citation.

  • Closely paraphrase sentences, paragraphs, ideas or themes without proper citation.

  • Piece together text from one or more sources and add only linking sentences without proper citation.

  • Copy or submit whole or parts of computer files without acknowledging their source.

  • Copy designs or works of art and submit them as your original work.

  • Copy a whole or any part of another student’s work.

  • Submit work as your own that someone else has done for you.

Enabling Plagiarism is ‘the act of assisting or allowing another person to plagiarise or to copy your own work’ (RMIT 2003a). It is also a serious academic offence. More detail on what constitutes plagiarism is found in the January 2003 Policy on Plagiarism
3.1.2 What is the penalty for plagiarism?

Plagiarism is not permitted in RMIT University. Any use of another person’s work or ideas must be acknowledged. If you fail to do this, you may be charged with academic misconduct and face a penalty under RMIT Regulations 6.1.1 – Student Discipline. This may be viewed at

Penalties for plagiarism (RMIT University 2003b) include:

  • recording of a failure for the assignment or course.

  • cancellation of any or all results.

  • suspension from the program.

  • expulsion from the program.

3.2 Examples of plagiarism

RMIT University’s Learning Skills Unit has developed a range of examples to help you identify the most common forms of plagiarism, such as:

Table 8

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