SOURCES IN ACADEMIC WRITING

Sources, plagiarism, referencing

Source: University of Canberra

ACKNOWLEDGING SOURCES

Whenever you have taken something from another author (that is to say, you have taken an author’s theory, opinion, idea, example, conclusion, or findings), you must say who you took it from, and where the original can be found.


In other words, you must acknowledge and cite your sources. This is important whether or not you use the author’s own words.

WHY ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SOURCES?

  • to show that you have read and understood the research published in your area of interest
  • to lend authority to what you are writing
  • to strengthen your argument
  • to support your own ideas
  • to provide details or background
    to what you are writing
  • to provide interest
  • to avoid the charge of plagiarism.

WHAT IS PLAGIARISM?

If you don’t acknowledge sources you may be accused of plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of using another person’s ideas as if they are your own. It’s a very serious breach of academic etiquette. Your assignment will be given a fail mark, and in extreme cases, you may fail your course.


It doesn’t matter whether the original words or ideas are those of a published writer, or those of another student—you must not copy without giving your source.

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HOW DO YOU ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR SOURCES?

There is more than one way to acknowledge your sources.


Rule number one:

Always ask your tutor for his/her preferred referencing system and style for any assignment.


Rule number two:

Whatever system and style you use, use it consistently by following a referencing guide.


Some referencing and citations styles:




  • Chicago Manual of Style
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
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THE REFERENCE LIST/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Although technically a reference list is not the same as a bibliography, there is usually no difference between them as far as undergraduate study is concerned—they are the same thing with different names. Some people call it reference list, and others call it bibliography, but the same rules apply.


At the end of an assignment you should give a list of all the sources you have referred to. Your reference list/bibliography must provide full and accurate details, as it is the means by which the reader can follow up your sources.


Rule number three:

Make sure that every text reference appears in the reference list, and that every item in the reference list is mentioned at least once in the assignment.


Rule number four:

Make sure that the references that appear in the text have the same spellings and dates as the ones in the reference list.