Library

5 October 2017

Getting to Grips with Citing & Referencing

Academic integrity is one of the key skills you need to develop during your university studies. This includes acknowledging the work of others and disclosing the sources of your research. Bei-En Zou, a learning skills adviser, writes about the importance of citing and referencing and offers some tips to mastering this skill. 

Before we talk about the importance of citing and referencing, we need a few definitions! Most people often use these terms interchangeably, but they do in fact refer to two different things.

Citations are sources that you mention within your research. They're accompanied by a footnote or an in-text reference. A citation can be a key piece of information that you've drawn from someone else's work or a direct quote from a text. 

Referencing, on the other hand, refers to a list of all the resources you've used in your research at the end of an essay or article. This is also known as a bibliography.

Why do we need to cite and reference?


You probably know that it's a requirement to cite and reference properly in your assignments, but why is it important? Citing and Referencing is important because universities want to train you in thinking originally, and to contribute your own ideas about your subject areas and to produce original work. It's therefore important to distinguish which is your work, and which is the work of others. 

Acknowledging the sources that you have used in your work highlights where you have contributed your own ideas and research. 

Citing and referencing have other important roles too! Referencing is a way of providing evidence to support the claims that you are making in your essay. You can use the work of experts in your field to lend weight to your own research, to show how your work is built upon previous intellectual endeavours or how your work challenges and deviates from the traditional understanding in your field. An essay or report with appropriate and accurate references is always more convincing and persuasive than one without any!

A good set of citations and references also enables your marker to track down all the material you used and get a sense of how widely you've researched. You are showing your marker that you are aware of the breadth and depth of your field. Referencing also gives you a chance to acknowledge the hard work of others before you. 

Using different citing and referencing styles. 


Harvard, Chicago, IEEE, APA... there are at least a dozen citing and referencing styles that are used at Monash. Each faculty has their own preferences, and even within the one course, you might find yourself using different styles for each of your subjects! You can usually find all the information you need about citing and referencing styles in the Unit Guide for your subject, or by asking your tutor, demonstrator or lecturer. The key is to maintain consistency and watch out for the finicky little details in the commas, italics and ampersands. 

Resources to help you.


Referencing can be a fiddly and frustrating process, as you come to grips with all the intricacies and variations among different styles. The library has created a number of excellent resources to help you navigate all elements of citing and referencing. 

Here are our top links:

This is your go-to place for all things citing and referencing. Bookmark it on your computer and refer to it frequently for all examples and explanations of all the referencing conventions for you to follow. 

If you're feeling a little unsure about citing and referencing, this is a great tutorial that will explain the basic principles, and you can test out your knowledge at the end with quizzes.

One of the most common citing and referencing styles used at Monash is APA (American Psychological Association). If that's you, APA Central is a great resource. It contains videos, quizzes, templates and quick guides for you to get on top of APA style. 

  • Research and learning point - drop-in sessions
Drop in without an appointment to see a librarian or learning skills advisor for some advice on researching for your assignment, including citing and referencing. You can find a list of session times here. 

(*) Please use either Firefox or Internet Explorer to complete this tutorial. 


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