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InfoSkills4: Referencing

What is referencing?

What is referencing?

Referencing is the way that you describe the sources of information and ideas that you use in your assignments.

Why do I need to reference?

  • To demonstrate to your lecturer how much research you have done
  • To give your assignment credibility
  • To distinguish your ideas from those of someone else
  • To protect yourself against plagiarism

What do I have to reference?

  • You must reference anything and everything that you use in your assignment that was not originally created by you.
  • This does not just mean "direct quotes" (copying someone's work word for word) - you must also reference any ideas you have paraphrased (put into your own words) or summarised.
  • You also have to reference any images, photos, music, statistics, graphs etc.

Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

Plagiarism is using someone else's work as your own — even if you put their work into your own words.

Your assignments are going to be full of you referring to other people's work, ideas, diagrams, pictures etc. That is what you are supposed to do. But everything that you don't identify as belonging to someone else, you are claiming as your own work. So if you omit a reference to anything that you didn't originally create, then that is plagiarism.

Is it still plagiarism if I put it in my own words?

It is still plagiarism if you put someone else's work in your own words without referencing it.

Is it plagiarism if someone helps me with my assignment?

Yes, unauthorised collaboration is plagiarism. Sometimes you may have to do group assignments in which case you must acknowledge the contribution of the other students.

What about images? graphs? music? art? photos from the internet? statistics?

You have to reference all of these and anything else you did not originally create

Intentional plagiarism

This includes copying someone else's work, buying assignments online, paying someone else to write something for you etc.

Unintentional plagiarism

This is much more common. This often happens when you...

  • Forget to reference something.
  • Get confused about where you got some information or ideas from.
Avoiding unintentional plagiarism - write your references as you go
  • When making notes always include the details of the source you are looking at.
  • When writing your assignment always write your references as you go - don't leave them to the end
  • Be particularly careful when copy and pasting - it is easy to forget where you got the information from.

 

Writing your references as you go will also save you a huge amount of time because you always think you will remember where you got the information from... but you never will.

Students often say that it takes them just as long to write their references at the end as it took them to write their assignment!

 

What are the penalties for plagiarism?

The penalties for plagiarism can include...

  • Losing marks
  • Failing your assignment
  • Failing your subject
  • Or even failing your course
 

How does the university check for plagiarism?

 

Most universities including JCU use anti-plagiarism software to check your assignments. This checks to see if any part of your assignment has been submitted before or is on the internet.

The anti-plagiarism software that JCU uses is called SafeAssign. You will find a link to submit your assignments to the SafeAssign dropbox in all of your LearnJCU subjects.

Some lecturers also provide a Draft SafeAssign dropbox so you can submit a draft of your assignment to check for accidental plagiarism before you submit your assignment to the Final SafeAssign dropbox.

Make sure that everything that is identified as someone else's work is correctly referenced.

SafeAssign report image

What style are you using?

 

Find out what referencing style you should be using

Unfortunately there are many different referencing styles, each with a slightly different layout, punctuation, use of capital letters and italics, spaces etc.

Your lecturer normally specifies which referencing style they want you to use. The most commonly used referencing styles used at JCU are APA and AMA (Vancouver). Other styles used at JCU include Harvard, Chicago, MLA and AGLC.

So you need to find out which style you are using in each of your subjects (hopefully you will be using the same referencing style for all of your subjects, but this is not always the case)

  • Check your subject outlines in LearnJCU - there is a subject outline for each of your subjects.
  • Ask on your discussion board in LearnJCU.
  • Or ask your lecturer what referencing style they want you to use.

Our Guides

Now find your referencing guide

JCU library has a bunch of referencing guides (Guides) including one for each of the referencing styles used at JCU.

Go to the JCU Library page and click on Guides, then type in Referencing or the name of your referencing style i.e. APA, AMA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago etc.

Each guide contains many examples of how to reference specific resources i.e. books, journal articles, web content etc.

Now find a referencing guide

JCU library has a bunch of referencing guides (Libguides) including one for each of the referencing styles used at JCU.

Go to the JCU Library page and click on Guides, then type in Referencing or the name of your referencing style i.e. APA, AMA, Harvard, MLA, Chicago etc.

Each guide contains many examples of how to reference specific resources i.e. Books, journal articles, web content etc.

GIF illustrates clicking on the tab for Guides on the Library homepage search box, then typing the name of a referencing style and hitting the search icon.

Using the referencing LibGuides

​Using the referencing Guide

  • Select the type of resource that you are trying to reference from the list on the left
  • Follow the format of the examples exactly, paying particular attention to spaces, italics, Capital Letters and punctuation.
  • ​Using the referencing LibGuide

  • Select the type of resource that you are trying to reference from the list on the left
  • Follow the format of the examples exactly, paying particular attention to spaces, italics, Capital Letters and punctuation.

GIF shows a menu from a referencing Guide, and illustrates clicking on a page for a particular reference type in the menu

Toolkit Home | Defining Your Topic | Searching for Resources | Evaluating Resources | Referencing

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