What is referencing? Whenever you write an assignment at university, you will probably be expected to use information from different sources to support and develop your thinking. Referencing is a standard practice used in academic writing to show your reader which ideas you have gathered from other sources and where those ideas came from.
Why do we reference?
It is important to show your reader that you have sought out expert, reliable sources to help support and develop your thinking, and this is done through referencing. The referencing in your assignment:
- demonstrates good research conduct
- shows the range of ideas and approaches you have found and thought about
- acknowledges the sources of those ideas
- tells your reader where they can locate those sources.
Referencing also helps you to avoid plagiarism. If you present someone else’s ideas as if they are your own work, or use the exact same language they use without acknowledgment, you are committing plagiarism. Plagiarism can be unintentional due to poor referencing, but the consequences are always serious. Accurate referencing helps you to avoid this.
Every time you include words, ideas, images or information from a source – whether it’s a website, book, or journal article – in your assignment, you must include an in-text reference to show that this content has been gathered from somewhere else.
In-text references must be included whenever you:
- paraphrase someone else’s ideas in your own words
- summarise someone else’s ideas in your own words
- quote someone else’s ideas in their exact words
- copy or adapt a diagram, table or any other visual material.
For each source that you reference in-text, you must also create an entry in the reference list at the end of the assignment.