Learning at university may be different to learning at school or college. Lecturers will not usually supply you with all the reading you need to complete your assignments.
They expect you to research and read independently. You may read books, online journal articles or research on the web. This is called wide reading.
When you write academic assignments, you must demonstrate your wide reading by citing ideas or concepts from this wide reading.
Citations are academics’ way of showing that they are using someone else’s ideas, concepts, theories or actual words. Plagiarism is the presentation of the ideas and words of another writer, artist, filmmaker etcetera as you own without any form of acknowledgment. Plagiarism can easily be avoided if you document the relevant sources which you have used.
- You are indicating that you have read published writing in the area you are studying.
- Referencing allows you support your arguments.
- You demonstrate that you are aware of and understand other opinions in the area you are studying by referring to authors who have written about them.
- Using references allows you to demonstrate your ability to assess, compare and contrast, critically analyse and evaluate competing arguments.
- Referring to documented evidence lends weight to and validates your argument.
- Accurate references allow others to consult the same sources you have used.
- To avoid plagiarism, you need to reference, in text and in the reference list, accurately.
There are many referencing styles and the reference you copy from a journal article may not be in the style you are required to use. The most commonly used styles at CDU are Harvard and APA. However, your lecturer may require you to use a style other than these.
For more information about referencing guides, including Harvard and APA, head to the CDU Library referencing guide.