Why Data Should Be Cited: Value of Referencing in Academic Writing

Most college students desire to get impressive marks that can help them improve their overall grades. Are you also among them? If so, then referencing your academic writing can be an ideal way!

College time is the critical period to consider getting good grades and taking advantage of the incredible opportunities for better future advancement. So, if you want to score good marks, then it is extremely important that you provide your teacher with error-free papers as your project submission.

But it’s a bit hard to write unique content across all your assignments, homework, and research papers as you need to gather information from various sources that are written by others. This is where referencing in academic writing comes into play!

For your work to be genuine, especially your research work, you need to understand the significance of making references, such as articles, journals, research papers, or any books, when creating your academic papers. In this article, you will find comprehensive information about citations or references so that you can use them in the correct format while writing your assignments.

What do you mean by referencing in academic writing? Understand the true essence!

Referencing or citing is a method of acknowledging someone’s work that has been utilized in your task. The citation serves readers to discover a proper connection between the information and its original source.

There are two basic methods of referencing that you can follow. First, you need to provide a short reference to the work in the section of the body known as “in-text citation.” Or, a detailed reference list is required to mention all references at the end of the paper (in list format).

What kind of data should be referred to?

Academic Writing Sources

Basically, you can cite content from any source, not just books, research articles, and journals. Below are the sources to refer to –

  • Journal articles
  • Books
  • Documentaries
  • Newspapers
  • Magazine
  • Websites
  • Online discussion forums
  • Brochures
  • Interviews
  • Many more.

Make sure to refer to any reprinted images or diagrams from any of the above sources.

Why is referencing is important?

Research article writers or thesis writers aren’t the only ones who are supposed to use references. The list involves all essay writers, assignment writers, book report writers, and indeed all kinds of academic writers, as referencing your work help avoid plagiarism.

Academic writing needs to cite the presentation of data and concepts, building different arguments, and supporting it with your own ideas and with the help of the voice of others. This requires references.

In recent times, references have become the most crucial part of academic writing. It brings authenticity to the research work of the students in which they put their effort and dedication.

It allows readers to find the original sources of the research work so that they can access the information or material and understand it in their own way.

Citations mainly help address plagiarism issues.

References not just help the author in many ways, but also the reader. Wondering how?

Referencing in Academic Writing

New knowledge window –

When writers create a manuscript, they tend to look for relevant information from different sources. And when each source contains the references, a plethora of knowledge opens for writers in which they can meet increasingly relevant sources and authors.

Acknowledgment to the reference author – 

It is very necessary to credit the author of the information source. Not only does it help them to get exposer to a wider audience, but it also shows respect to the writer’s work and skills. The reference can be considered an indication that the borrowed words or ideas are the creator’s intellectual property referred to with the source.

Improve the authenticity of the work –

When you cite research, findings, and ideas from published articles, books, or work, you make your study authentic. Readers are more engaged when they see something referenced from a person who is well known in the appropriate field.

Evidence to support ideas –

Referencing can be the best way to promote the ideas in your work with evidence. If you refer to the experts in the field, it ultimately makes an impact on the reader that you know the study, the field, and the ideas you are working on very well. It also reveals that your work is very well defended by the references you use.

Compelling content –

By using public source references, you can easily build persuasive arguments and defend them firmly using the proven points and findings of previous studies.

Elimination of plagiarism –

Plagiarism is nothing less than theft. By referencing others in your manuscript, you eradicate the possibilities of plagiarism and ultimately enhance your work’s originality.

What are the most important things that need to cite?

Make sure to record as much information as possible in the references to expedite the search for the original work. The prime things to include in this list are –

Important things of academic writing

Author/s –

Include the author or authors’ name, with their last name (last name) first followed by the initials. In case there is more than one author, you can combine both their names. But if there are more than three authors, you can cite the first author and use the abbreviation ‘et al.,’ which means ‘and all.’

For some sources, especially websites, the author’s name may not be defined. In such cases, use the organization’s name or the title of the document or website.

Publication date –

You must add the year of publication or a more specific date, if applicable, for magazine or newspaper articles/stories. For web pages, check out when it was last updated. Include dates in brackets after author details. If a date cannot be set, write (no date).

Title of the piece –

Include the title of the piece. This is one of the most important things you need to remember. This could be the book ‘a name, the title of a magazine article, or a web page, etc. Titles are usually written in italics. In the case of books, it should also cover the edition (if not the first) to aid the search for information. Often times when books are republished, the information remains largely the same but can be reordered, so page numbers can change between editions.

Publisher information –

This is just relevant to books as you need to include the publisher’s name and place of publication.

Pages number –

In case you are referring to a certain part of a book, you need to include the page number that you have used to gather information for your work. For example, you can use p. 132 to indicate page a single page and pp. 123-125 to indicate multiple pages.

URL and date of access –

When it comes to web pages, you should include the full URL of the page and the date you last accessed the page. The web is not static, and web pages can be updated or deleted at any time. Hence, it is important to note when you found the information you refer to.

Direct quotes –

If you are quoting directly in your text, you must enclose the quotation in quotation marks and include the author’s information, such as the creator’s name and year.

What are the different styles of references or citations?

The reference styles are the various standard methods used to cite the original source of the work. Check out the following list for some widely used dating styles:

  1. Harvard
  2. Vancouver
  3. American Psychological Association (APA)
  4. Modern Language Association (MLA)
  5. Chicago/ Turabian
  6. Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC)
  7. American Chemical Society (ACS)
  8. American Medical Association (AMA)
  9. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
  10. Council of Science Editors/Council of Biology Editors (CSE/ CBE)

Some of these reference styles are rarely used but are still needed in some places. These styles depend on the terms of format, punctuation, and order of the information. The use of citations reflects the discipline for which you are writing your documents. Also, you should follow the reference style according to your academic or publishing institutions.

Before going deep, you need to know that the numerous referencing styles follow two types of systems: the documentary-note and parenthetical systems.

  • Documentary-note system: While writing in this style, chronological numbers are applied as in-text markers to either footnotes or end notes or both in which a numeric digit is customarily put after the full stop. The use of numeric digit in the reference list is not required as it totally depends on the specific referencing style.
  • Parenthetical system: In this system, the brief detail about the author and date (or page number as in MLA format) is used in in-text citation inside the parenthesis (round brackets). At the end of the papers, you will find the detailed reference list.

Let’s discuss some referencing styles in detail to understand its usage.

Harvard Referencing Style –

Harvard is a generally used citation style in the UK and Australia, based on the author’s date with no particular manual to write. The use of punctuation and other formats varies from institution to institution.

Check out the example before taken from the 2016 version of the Charles Darwin University (CDU) Harvard Reference Style Guide to explain this style’s details.

  • The parenthetical system is accepted in this style the reference.
  • The author’s name, as well as the year of publication, are used in “in-text reference” and are mentioned in brackets. For instance, (<name of author> <year of publication>, <page number/s>). Use only the author’s last name and no need to place a comma (,) between the author’s first name and the publication year (Dickinson 2002). If the page number is included, write in the following format (Dickinson 2002, p 30). This style of reference is used in various subjects of humanities.
  • For the list of references, use a separate page to specify the detailed references at the end of the document and organize all authors’ names in alphabetical order.

In case you need to include more than one author, check the format below for both methods –

  • In-text citations – Mention the authors’ last names and use “&” to distinct them. (<last name of author # 1> & <last name of author # 2> <year of publication>). For example: (Christie & Dickens 2009)
  • The reference list – Use “&” to separate the late name and initials of the two authors. <Last name of author #1>, <initials of first name of author #1> & <last name of author #2>, <initials of first name of author #2> <Year of publication>, <title>, … For example: Christie, Agatha & Dickens, Charles 2009, <title>, …

APA Referencing style – 

There is a negligible distinction between the APA or American Psychological Association referencing style. APA is commonly used and accepted in the US.

Here, we have used the APA Sixth Edition Library Guide for the University of Sydney to support you in understanding the difference. Both in the text and in the reference list, use double space between lines to mention the authors’ information in APA style. It is also known as an author’s date-based referencing style.

  • The parenthetical system is accepted in this style the reference.
  • Use the author’s name and the publication year as “in-text reference” and specify in round brackets. For instance, (<author name>, <publication year>, <page number/s>). Use only the author’s last name and place a comma (,) between the author’s name and the publication year (Dickinson, 2002). If you include a page number, write in the following format (Dickinson, 2002, p 30).
  • Students can use this style in varied fields of the social sciences and some other subjects, including education, business, and nursing.
  • For the list of references, use a separate page at the end of the document to mention the detailed references and organize all authors’ names in alphabetical order. Apply double-space between lines each entry and place a period (.) to end each reference. Put the year of publication in brackets.

When you need to include more than one author, check out the format that you need to follow for both methods –

  • In-text citations – Mention the authors’ last names and use “&” to separate them. (<last name of author #1> & <last name of author #2>, <publication year >). For example: (Christie & Dickens, 2009)
  • The reference list – Use “&” to separate the two authors’ late name and initials. <Author #1 Last Name>, <Author #1 First Name Initials> & <last name of author #2>, <initials of first name of author #2>, (<year of publication>). <title>,… For example: Christie, Agatha. & Dickens, Charles. (2009). <title>, …

The conclusions –

Referencing data, while writing an academic task, can be daunting for students who are not clear with the principles. There are numerous ways to reference, depending on different institutions, departments, or lecturers.

The above article includes all the information you need to know about referencing academic writing and its significance. It also includes different styles.

So, now that you know that reference involves a logical process of recording and citing all sources of information used in academic assignments and writing in relation to applicable reference conventions, it must be easier for you to work on the assignment to make it free of plagiarism.