Referencing is an important part of your research project, in which you give credit to other authors in your work by adding citations and a reference list – or bibliography.
There are three reasons why it’s imperative to include references with your work:
1. Demonstrating knowledge
Providing references shows that you have done the background reading and you know what you are talking about. It demonstrates that you understand the key arguments and themes being discussed in this area of research and reassures readers (and your lecturers) that you have done your due diligence in this project.
2. It is evidence relevant to your argument.
The most important reason, in my opinion, is that references provide evidence for your project. These references – whether primary or secondary provide the support for your argument. They might also challenge your argument, which is fully expected within academia (you want to cover all bases, if you have the word count space!). The point is, references serve as evidence that you have considered your subject critically and have actively looked for resources which are relevant to the argument you are trying to make.
3. Not doing so is plagiarism.
If you fail to give attribution to the author or organisation who compiled the resource you are using in your work…it’s akin to stealing. Furthermore, you aren’t producing original work that is truly your own (which is key in academia!)
If you’d like some tips for how to reference, please consult the resources below. My top tip is to think about referencing from the beginning, to ensure you don’t overwhelm yourself near the end of your project. The ‘getting organised’ page will help you sufficiently to this end.
Use the guides below for further help:
In text referencing (guide) Coming soon
Footnote referencing (guide) Coming soon
Common errors in referencing (guide) Coming soon
How many references do I need? (video)