Writing at tertiary level involves researching the ideas of other people, which you can combine with your own ideas and conclusions. Learning to acknowledge other people’s work through in-text citing and referencing will help differentiate between their ideas and your own.
This is central to the idea of academic honesty in Western academic institutions.
So why reference?
- To show respect for the original source. Using someone else’s work as your own without properly acknowledging it is considered intellectual theft.
- To demonstrate that you have done the research. Your tutors want to see that you have considered the experts when forming the basis of your arguments.
- To show what research you've done. Your tutor must assess the quality of your research. Accurate referencing following a specific style will enable the reader to easily locate and verify your research.
- To avoid plagiarism. Failure to properly acknowledge when you have used the work of others means you are implying that the idea or words are yours. Plagiarising has consequences is likely to affect your academic progress.
- A note on self-plagiarism. The APA manual (6th ed.) states “Self plagiarism refers to the practice of presenting one’s own previously published work as though it were new” (American Psychological Association, 2010 p.170). Work previously submitted for another purpose (e.g. an assessment) should not be repurposed and used again either in sections or in its entirety without appropriate acknowledgement (referencing). To use previously submitted work may jeopardise student marks and progress within the programme of study. If you do reuse your own, see here for instructions on how to reference it.