Need an academic writing guide? Here is the guide on reference in academic writing that will tell you how to cite sources properly.
Plagiarism is considered case-critical in academic writing, and the inclusion of such in your assignment, research paper, article, etc. It has some serious consequences. The very basic response to plagiarism is a rejection of the paper.
In addition, depending on the institutional rules and regulations, you might receive financial penalties, be banned from the educational or research institution, fail the exam, and so on.
But the problem is that in proving your statements, claims, or assumptions, you are obliged to include supportive literature as evidence. It seems like a double-edged sword and is confusing, right? Including literature from others’ papers is a must; for this, you also might get punished! So, what is the solution?
What is referencing?
The solution is simple, and it is called “reference.” Referencing is a prescribed and approved way to diminish the inclusion of plagiarism while effectively mentioning (as support) another researcher’s theories, statements, assumptions, findings, etc. in your academic paper.
Also, a reference style indicates the paper’s formatting and in-text citation formation, along with some other things.
Here, we detail every aspect of using references in academic writing in terms of definition, importance, criteria, style types, and “how-to” questions.
What is academic referencing?
Reference is a crucial term in circulating information and data because it allows the writer to acknowledge the source of information or ideas in his or her own paper. And this approach limits the blame for copy-and-paste work, which is academically known as plagiarism. However, it provides guidelines for the paper’s formatting as well.
The orientation of referencing in writing happened at the end of the 19th century. There were two prominent originators, Anthoney Panizzi and William James. However, with the passage of time, their idea regarding the inclusion of references in books, research papers, assignments, journals, etc. has been revolutionized and updated.
In contemporary writing, we use the modern version of referencing styles, and the styles transpose (upgrade) every couple of years.
Purposes of Using References and academic referencing Examples:
In this section, we elaborate on the purposes of using references.
In your academic paper, you basically test a hypothetical statement, prove a statement of purpose, or generate an assumption. And in this process, you develop arguments to support your findings or claims. Most essentially, the arguments need to be logical and supported by credible sources.
Well, here, you should understand that as a researcher or writer, you are bound to support the mentionings in the paper. As per the requirement of the reviewer, approver, your teacher, or we can say the requirement of academic writing, these logics and supports you cannot be just made by yourself and included in the paper.
It demands showcasing some other researchers’ works or observations who also agreed with your statement (in their earlier papers). This is how references are essential to adding credibility and reliability to your research or assignment papers.
Verifying the Information Provided
You must expect that you will receive a grade with a fact-check by your teacher. After submitting the paper, your teacher or research supervisor will check the authenticity of every piece of information provided. So, how he or she will check the authenticity of the information? The included references are the key here.
The teacher or research supervisor will check the sources used to back up the given information. It requires tracing those sources and evaluating their authority.
Without references, the teacher won’t have any tools to know the trustworthiness of the information in terms of the relevancy of the sources, the author’s credibility, the reputation of the publishing organization, etc. Simply put, references act as a tool to verify the information provided by you in the respective paper.
As mentioned earlier, references are essential to get rid of the plagiarism context of your research paper. By using references, you actually acknowledge the contribution of other researchers’ work, and this approach lets the paper go free from the blame of copied-and-pasted work.
Demonstrating Your Research Skills
Idealistically, as a researcher, you must have in-depth knowledge regarding the application of referencing in your paper. It means that without the inclusion of references in your paper, you are not a researcher at all. In simple words, your mastery of using references demonstrates your higher degree of research skills.
Ensuring Your Contribution to Scholarly Conversation
Research is a continuous process of scientific communication. By referring to other researchers’ findings, proven claims, or assumptions, you become a vital part of the relevant and ongoing scholarly conversation. In short, referencing promotes the mass circulation of information along with knowledge sharing among a wide variety of readers.
How References in Academic Writing Matter?
Below is a list proving the cruciality of references in institutional written communication.
● It allows readers to gain more knowledge on the respective topic.
● Increased authenticity of the included information and data.
● Referencing makes your arguments more solid and effective.
● It adds value to the source paper and your paper as well.
● It showcases your dominance in the respective subject area.
● Enables a higher degree of integrity within the relevant intellectual properties.
● It increases the meta-cognition and documentation organization skills of the students.
Academic referencing styles:
Here, we list some contemporary and popular reference types that will help you to understand the reference in academic writing.
● Harvard: This reference style is usually used in science, the humanities, and business disciplines.
● APA: The full form of APA is the American Psychological Association. In general, the APA reference style is used in social science, business, and business disciplines.
● Chicago: Chicago referencing uses the inclusion of footnotes and endnotes. This style is mostly used in arts, literature, and history.
● MLA: The full form of MLA is Modern Language Association and is mostly used in subject areas like literature, cultural studies, linguistics, etc.
● Vancouver: This reference style is used in medical science and health-related subjects.
However, the reference style selection depends on your research guide, teacher, or institute’s decision, policy, and choice. We should mention that there are some other less popular (you can say less used) referencing styles such as IEEE, OXFORD, MHRA, OSCOLA, Turabian, AMA, AGLC, ACS, etc.
Consisting Terms of Reference Style:
As mentioned earlier, a reference style not only demands the used sources’ inclusion but also provides a specific guideline for paper formatting and in-text citation. Below is a detailed list of the terms used in a reference style.
● In-text Citation Formation: The reference style tells the researcher how to form in-text citations.
● Page margins.
● Headings and subheadings formatting.
● Whether an abstract page is required or not.
● Whether the page number is needed or not. Where should a page number go if one is required?
● How to write the front page or the writer’s (and professor’s) details.
● How to list each source on the reference or bibliography page.
Types of Information You Need and Do Not Need to Reference:
However, here we provide an at-a-glance view of the types of information you need to reference and do not need to reference as well.
● Any type of book (including an e-book, a pocketbook, etc.
● Journal articles
● Expert interviews
● Any sort of content from visual mediums, like movies, documentaries, advertisements, etc.
● Booklets and brochures
● Email communications and discussion forums
● Magazines and tabloids
● Online sources like websites, PDFs, etc.
● Personal findings from observation or exploration
● Personal memories or experiences
● Your personal thoughts, points of view, personal beliefs, etc.
● For popular theories or statements, you do not need to provide references. such as Einstein’s relativity theory, but if you consider other people’s work on this theory, you need to go for referencing.
● In general, facts like “the earth is round.”
We hope now you know the importance of reference in academic writing, along with the ins and outs of its use. Here, we would like to mention three more things.
First, without proper in-text citations, the effectiveness of referencing in an academic paper becomes less.
Second, depending on various reference styles, it is also known as a “bibliography.”
Third, whatever reference style you are using, the research supervisor’s or teacher’s guidelines are vitally important. We see many academics ask students to add footnotes, endnotes, etc. in even APA style, which is not a standard.
However, this scenario is usually observable in the case of class assignments, not in yet-to-be-published research articles or papers.
Finally, we hope the article will help you to understand the reference in academic writing and use them properly inside your papers.
People Also Ask
How do I choose which reference style to use?
In general, the instructions or guidelines received from the professor or academic supervisor contain the names of the allowed reference styles for the paper. However, if nothing is mentioned, we recommend you go with APA or MLA.
What information do I need to include in a reference?
The common inclusions are the author’s name, publication date, publication name, the name of the article, book, or website, and some other information like page number, URL, chapter number, etc.
What is the best practice for using references in a paper?
Every reference style has its own standard and application procedure. However, a very common and good practice is paraphrasing the extracted texts from the sources.