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Civil Engineering Library Guide: Writing & Referencing

How to find information - a guide for Civil Engineering students

Writing and Style Guides

Most of the writing and style guides listed here are reference books and may not be borrowed (shelf numbers starting with DSR), however you will often find duplicate copies of these books--which can be borrowed--at the same class number in the Humanities Section.


When writing up your work, you always need to acknowledge the sources that you have consulted in the process.  Failing to acknowledge your sources is construed as plagiarism--the dishonest act of attempting to take someone else’s ideas, writing, designs or research and presenting them as your own.  This act is viewed very seriously by UCT and may lead to expulsion. The University has laid out its policy and guidelines in:  Avoiding plagiarism: a guide for students.  

To avoid plagiarism it is important to cite and reference your sources.  If you are required to use the Harvard (author,date) style of referencing, be sure to read the booklet: Harvard UCT: Handbook on citation (2013) by Karin de Jager & Diane Steele. This resource explains the Harvard style and gives examples showing how different document types are referenced using this style.

Another useful resource, which takes you through the whole process of researching and writing about a topic, is the CHEC Information Literacy web site, which was developed in 2001 by Janine Lockhart and Adriaan Coetzee for an Information Literacy course at the Cape Technikon.


UCT has a site licence for RefWorks, and all UCT staff and students may register to use it.  

What is RefWorks?    

RefWorks is a reference management tool that enables you to store and organise your references in your own personal database.  You can safely store the details of the articles you need on the RefWorks server and access them from any computer connected to the internet.  (To access RefWorks from off campus you will need to log in via the proxy server ... see the Off-Campus Access tab of this guide.)  References can be easily imported into RefWorks from databases, and you can edit them and add your personal notes if required.  You can also organise your references in folders and use the RefWorks search engine to search your database.  RefWorks can produce bibliographies for you in the citation style of your choice.

Write-N-Cite is something you will find invaluable when you are writing essays or writing up your thesis.  It is a small plug-in program that you can download to your computer in a few seconds.  Write-N-Cite works in conjunction with MS Word, and it enables you to insert in-text citation markers in your text where you need to cite another author's work.  At the end of your document, a few clicks will be all it takes to create your numbered bibliography and replace the citation markers with the superscript numbering required by the RSC style.   

To find out more about RefWorks visit our RefWorks information page. RefWorks has an excellent Quick Start Guide and a set of  basic tutorials  (videos) to get you started, but you are always welcome to come and ask us at the Science & Engineering Reference Desk if you need assistance with it.

To Register your account with RefWorks click here. 

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