What is referencing?
Referencing, or citing, is an essential component of academic writing, as it acknowledges the sources of information you have used to complete your assignments.
Referencing is important because it:
- ensures that you are not open to accusations of plagiarism
- identifies your sources and enables readers to locate them
- acknowledges copyright and shows respect to the author for their work
- demonstrates the validity or credibility of your arguments
- demonstrates the extent to which you know the relevant literature
- avoid plagiarism and academic misconduct (What is academic integrity and academic misconduct?)
What do you need to reference?
You are required to reference any information, ideas or data that are not your own, including when you have:
- quoted another author, word for word
- paraphrased or summarised information
- defined terms
- used tables, statistics or diagrams from a source
Why do I Need to Cite?
Harvard referencing can be a confusing task, especially if you are new to the concept, but it’s absolutely essential. In fact, accurate and complete referencing can mean the difference between reaching your academic goals and damaging your reputation amongst scholars. Simply put - referencing is the citing of sources you have utilised to support your essay, research, conference or article etc.
Even if you are using our Harvard style citation generator, understanding why you need to cite will go a long way in helping you to naturally integrate the process into your research and writing routine.
Firstly, whenever another source contributes to your work you must give the original author the appropriate credit in order to avoid plagiarism, even when you have completely reworded the information. The only exception to this rule is common knowledge - e.g. Barack Obama is President of the United States. Whilst plagiarism is not always intentional, it is easy to accidentally plagiarize your work when you are under pressure from imminent deadlines, you have managed your time ineffectively, or if you lack confidence when putting ideas into your own words. The consequences can be severe; deduction of marks at best, expulsion from college or legal action from the original author at worst. Find out more here.
This may sound overwhelming, but plagiarism can be easily avoided by using our Harvard citation generator and carrying out your research and written work thoughtfully and responsibly. We have compiled a handy checklist to follow whilst you are working on an assignment.
How to avoid plagiarism:
- Formulate a detailed plan - carefully outline both the relevant content you need to include, as well as how you plan on structuring your work
- Keep track of your sources - record all of the relevant publication information as you go (e.g. If you are citing a book you should note the author or editor’s name(s), year of publication, title, edition number, city of publication and name of publisher). Carefully save each quote, word-for-word, and place it in inverted commas to differentiate it from your own words. Tired of interrupting your workflow to cite? Use our Harvard referencing generator to automate the process
- Manage your time effectively - make use of time plans and targets, and give yourself enough time to read, write and proofread
- When you are paraphrasing information, make sure that you use only your own words and a sentence structure that differs from the original text
- Save all of your research and citations in a safe place - organise and manage your Harvard style citations.
If you carefully check your college or publisher’s advice and guidelines on citing and stick to this checklist, you should be confident that you will not be accused of plagiarism.
Secondly, proving that your writing is informed by appropriate academic reading will enhance your work’s authenticity. Academic writing values original thought that analyzes and builds upon the ideas of other scholars. It is therefore important to use Harvard style referencing to accurately signpost where you have used someone else’s ideas in order to show that your writing is based on knowledge and informed by appropriate academic reading. Citing your sources will demonstrate to your reader that you have delved deeply into your chosen topic and supported your thesis with expert opinions.
Here at Cite This For Me we understand how precious your time is, which is why we created our Harvard citation generator and guide to help relieve the unnecessary stress of citing. Escape assignment-hell and give yourself more time to focus on the content of your work by using Cite This For Me citation management tool.