referencing academic writing
When to reference
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.
Referencing is a system that allows you to acknowledge the contributions and work of others in your writing by citing your sources. A feature of academic writing is that it contains references to the words, information and ideas of others.
All academic essays MUST contain references. Referencing guards against plagiarism, a serious academic offence. Plagiarism is copying someone else’s words or ideas and presenting them as your own.
A great resource for how to cite in different styles, including useful example papers. Covers APA (social sciences), Chicago/Turabian (history) and MLA (humanities) as well as CBE (hard sciences).
If you are in any doubt about the tecnicalities of avoiding accusations of plagiarism, even unintentional, do this tutorial!