Referencing - what? why? how?
What is referencing?
Referencing is the way that you describe the sources of information and ideas that you use in your assignments. The best scientific writing is spare and straightforward. It spotlights the ideas being presented, not the manner of presentation. Manuscript structure, word choice, punctuation, graphics, and references are all chosen to move the idea forward with a minimum of distraction and a maximum of precision.
To achieve this clarity of communication, publishers have developed rules of style. These rules are designed to ensure clear and consistent presentation of written material. Editorial style concerns uniform use of such elements as:
- punctuation and abbreviations
- construction of tables
- selection of headings
- citation of references, and
- presentation of statistics
Why do I need to reference?
- To indicate where you get your information/ideas from
- So the reader can verify your sources
- To avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is when a person tries to present someone else's work as their own. Penalties for plagiarism can include loss of marks, failing a subject or failing your course. You might like to watch this entertaining video on plagiarism.
What do I have to reference?
- If you have used anything in your assignment that was originally written or created by someone else, you must reference it.
- This does not just mean direct quotes... it also includes any ideas you have paraphrased or summarized…
- It applies to anything you use - graphs, statistics, images etc.
How do I write my references?
1. Go to the style guide that you require
- There are many different referencing
styles even for the same discipline.
- You will need to check your subject outline or ask your lecturer which one you need to use.
- The tabs above will take you to the main styles used at JCU : APA, Harvard, Vancouver, MLA and Chicago.
2. Select the section that best describes the resource you want to reference
- Use the left hand index to click on the relevant format (i.e. book, journal article, web page, map or whatever).
3. Fill in the sections exactly as in the example
- Copy the example style exactly substituting the information from your resource.
- Pay close attention to things like spaces, full stops, commas, italics, brackets, hanging indent etc
Confused? You are not alone.
There are a number of ways for you to get help:
- At the InfoHelp Desk during library opening hours
- By phoning InfoHelp on: 07 47815500
- Contact any Liaison Librarian by phone or e-mail
- Brief help using Instant Messaging when available
We're here for you!
Complete guide to referencing
Tackling all the main forms of referencing - Harvard, APA, MLA and Numerical referencing styles - in an accessible and comprehensive manner, you'll want to dip into this book time and again. A unique feature of the book is the comparisons it makes between different referencing styles, which are shown side-by-side.