Referencing is an essential part of writing at university. It is necessary to reference the information sources you have used in your work to:
- acknowledge the work of other writers;
- enable other researchers to trace your sources;
- demonstrate the depth of your research;
- support your arguments or opinions put forward in your work; and
- avoid plagiarism.
What is Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct and is taken very seriously at university and can lead to possible exclusion from a course. Plagiarism is where you either intentionally, or unintentionally, fail to acknowledge other writers’ words, ideas, or concepts, and/or claim the words, ideas, and concepts as your own. However, the use of common knowledge in your discussion is not considered to be plagiarism (i.e. the sky is blue, or the chemical formula for water is H20).
How do I avoid plagiarism?
Following are some tips for avoiding plagiarism:
- Take careful notes of where you find your information and always acknowledge the work of others, whether it be be:
- selections of text; quotations; graphics; tables; figures; graphs or diagrams;
- Note down the details of any materials that you photocopy, print, scan, download or otherwise use for your research. These details should include:
- Who produced the work, i.e. the author, designer (who)
- When it was produced, i.e. the publishing date (when)
- The name of the work, i.e. the title (what)
- Where you accessed the information, i.e. the url for material from the web, or publisher details for print (where)
Plagiarism Checklist (see more ECU Plagiarism Academic Tip Sheet):
- Have you enclosed all direct quotes in quotation marks and supplied the in-text reference?
- Have you supplied in-text references for all ideas that you’ve paraphrased?
- Have you supplied in-text references for sources you have consulted to support your ideas?
- Have you included all sources you’ve cited in your reference list?
- Have you correctly formatted all your references?