Citing and referencing

Find advice on citing and referencing at LSE and discover some tools to help you.

We are here to help if you need any assistance with referencing   

1Attend one of our training courses. Get the basics with Reference with Confidence, hear about how software can help in 3 short videos on Tools for Consistent Referencing or drop into our Referencing Café with any questions. 

2Contact your department librarian who can offer advice or answer any questions on referencing. Contact your librarian by email or book a session through Student Hub

3Quick query on how to reference something? Use Cite them right to see how to reference a resource in a range of styles.

Why citing and referencing is important

Why citing and referencing are important

Correct citing and referencing is an important academic skill. It demonstrates that you have read widely and have gathered evidence to support your arguments.

What is citing and referencing?

Citing means noting in the text where you quote, paraphrase or use an idea from someone else. Referencing means creating a list of the sources you have cited. 

Watch The why, what, when and how of referencing

Find out what citing and referencing are and the nuts and bolts of how to use them to avoid plagiarism. Think about the types of information needed to create a reference and how to put it together to cite and reference consistently.


Citing and referencing at LSE

  • LSE does not have a single standard method for citing and referencing. 
  • Departments have different requirements so it is very important to check your student handbook or ask your academic supervisor to be clear on what is expected for your assignments and dissertations.
  • Check which method you are required to use, footnotes or the in-text author-date (Harvard) method.  
  • Then you will need to use a single citation style to format your citation in your footnote or reference list. 
  • If your department has not specified the method and style then it is your choice. The emphasis is on consistency and not mixing methods and styles. Choosing a specific style will make it easier to find and follow rules for each reference. 
  • Looking at sample dissertations from your departments is useful. See LSE Theses Online.

Citing and referencing generative AI tools

If you are citing generative AI tools in your assessed work, please do so ethically and responsibly. You should read the latest School guidance on Artificial Intelligence, assessment and academic integrity. Academic departments may diverge from the School policy, so you should check your department’s position on the use of generative AI in assessed work.

The main citation styles used at LSE have already developed guidance for how to cite generative AI tools in the body of your assessment and in the bibliography or reference list. We provide examples of how to cite generative AI tools according to a) APA, b) Chicago, c) Harvard, and d) OSCOLA. We also subscribe to Cite Them Right, the accompanying website to the textbook, which includes guidance on citing generative AI in various citation styles.


APA made suggestions for how to cite generative AI in April 2023 - and they have been included in Cite Them Right.

Example in-text citation: When prompted with “Is the left brain right brain divide real or a metaphor?” the ChatGPT-generated text indicated that although the two brain hemispheres are somewhat specialized, “the notation that people can be characterized as ‘left-brained’ or ‘right-brained’ is considered to be an oversimplification and a popular myth” (OpenAI, 2023).

Bibliography: OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].  


The Chicago Manual of Style suggested how to cite generative AI in an FAQ from earlier in 2023, which has also been included in Cite Them Right.

Example in-text citation (footnote): 1. Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, March 7, 2023,

Example in-text citation (author-date): (ChatGPT, March 7, 2023). Bibliography: OpenAI. “ChatGPT.” Accessed August 18 2018.


Cite Them Right suggests that if generative AI material is available online, you can cite it as an electronic version of a source (such as an artwork or article), but otherwise, if the AI’s end product (for example use of ChatGPT in conversation) is only available to you, cite this as a personal communication and include a description of the AI-generated material in your in-text citation.

In-text citation (example A): The AI-generated flower (Shutterstock AI, 2023)

Bibliography (example A): Shutterstock AI (2023) Photo of pond with lotus flower [Digital art]. Available at: (Accessed: 31 March 2023).

In-text citation (example B): When prompted by the author, ChatGPT responded with a ‘definition of academic integrity’ (OpenAI ChatGPT, 2023).

Bibliography (example B): OpenAI ChatGPT (2023) ChatGPT response to John Stephens, 2 April.


OSCOLA was last revised in 2012 and is due to be revised again in Spring 2024. It is likely that the new guidance will cover citing generative AI. In the short term, you could consider the guidance issued by Robert Gordon University, for example:

Footnote: OpenAI ChatGPT response to prompt ‘what is the law in the UK regarding offensive online communications?’ (27 April 2023). Bibliography: OpenAI ChatGPT, ChatGPT response to author accessed: 27 April 2023.

Tools to help you cite and reference

  • Cite them right is a website which contains advice on how to reference different resources, in a range of styles and provides a tutorial on citing and referencing practice.
  • Reference management software can help you cite and reference consistently. Use software to collect, store and organise your references as you research. Then you can insert your citations using the software and build your reference list as you write your assignment.  
  • The most commonly used software at LSE are: EndNoteMendeley and Zotero.  
  • Your department librarian can assist you in using the software.

Reference With Confidence screencasts

Tips and tools to help you cite and reference well

Keep track of references and site more consistently. This video contains advice on developing a system to keep track of what you read. It also recommends some websites which can help with referencing and introduces some software tool that can help with consistency.

Example references in a range of styles

See examples of what references should look like in a range of styles as well how to format quotes in your writing.

Good referencing quiz

Test your referencing knowledge with our short quiz. Answer 4 questions on good referencing practice which help answer some of the most common questions students ask about referencing.


Getting further help

LSE LIFE on Moodle provide additional materials and guidance on writing including quoting, paraphrasing and summarising in your own words.

If you have any referencing questions get in touch with your department librarian to discuss.