why are references important in academic writing
- To avoid plagiarism. This is something you really want to do – something we cover in our lesson on academic authority (and will also be discussing in an upcoming blog post on plagiarism)
- To give credit to other researchers. And by doing this, you acknowledge their ideas and their hard work (again, something we cover in ouracademic authority lesson as well as the reporting verbs and ‘voice’ lesson – both of which you can find in our Academic Skills lessons); and
- To help your reader find the sources that you used – in case they are interested in further reading, etc.
The enormous importance of things like citations and referencing in academic work is hard to overstate. Long story short – you must include these in your academic writing. There are a number of reasons for including in-text citations and end of text references in your writing:
Academic writers need to support their arguments with evidence, and readers of academic writing need to evaluate the validity of that evidence. A reference is the bracketed or footnoted piece of information that tells the reader where the supporting evidence used in academic writing comes from. The role of the reference is twofold: firstly, it informs the reader of the source of your ideas so that he or she can distinguish between your words and ideas and those of others; secondly, accurate referencing and lists of references are necessary to allow the reader to evaluate the information and read further into the area.
When to reference