How Reference Your Work Successfully
To support your arguments and give your paper a solid basis you need to include references in your work. You must cite someone else's words and ideas, statistics, audio and video files, images and diagrams. When you cite a source, you indicate that you took information from another place.
Why is referencing important?
You need to cite references for a number of reasons:
to demonstrate that you've conducted a deep research
to strengthen the position you took and support it with the facts gathered
to avoid plagiarism by quoting thoughts of other authors
to let the reader follow your sources
to back up your ideas with a trustworthy point of view
Different colleges may require different referencing styles for various types of assignments, so always check which style you need to use for a particular task. When making a research and reading different materials, make sure to write down the full details of sources (title, authors, publication date, number of pages etc.). This will make the writing process much easier.
Check out our referencing guides:
What are the functions of references?
As you have already understood, referencing is the basis of academic writing. In most academic texts references have at least one of the following functions:
To approve previous study
You need to demonstrate your awareness of the related research in the field. Some disciplines have a huge base of the previous analysis and inquiry and you should present your fully understanding of the subject. Surely, you can show the opposite point of view in your own work but nevertheless it's important to use the point of view of other writers as a basis for your personal argument.
To arrange new research in relation to previous works
The main aim of any research is to extend knowledge. In order to demonstrate what is new, you need to position your work in relation to previous research in a particular field. This arrangement can be done in number of ways: you can describe the previous study and then add new information or you can contradict it.
To present primary data to support your point of view
The choice of primary data depends on the discipline and field of research. The best way here is to consult your supervisor what type of data you should use to back up your claim.
What to cite
You need to cite the sources when you paraphrase, quote or refer to the ideas of another work in your own writings. Be sure to cite:
Articles, book chapters, theses.
Ideas and theories of another person used in different materials
Facts and figures that are not common knowledge
Another person's exact words
Plagiarism is presenting someone else's ideas as your own. Such cheating is treated very seriously in most educational institutions. Students can be even expelled from college for submitting plagiarised papers. To be safe, you need to properly cite the sources you use in your own writings.
Here are several efficient methods to avoid plagiarism:
Plan your work in advance.
Read some part of material and take notes. It will be much easier to paraphrase your own thoughts afterwards.
Write down all details about the sources you read and use. You'll work with them when preparing the list of references.
Follow the referencing guides to complete the task due to all required standards.
Save your notes until you submit a paper and get your final mark.
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