25 August 2015

Citing and referencing - essential for your assignment

It’s detailed, it’s time-consuming, and it can be confusing - but citing and referencing is part of every assignment here at Monash. Read on to discover some great resources which make citing and referencing easier to understand, and simpler to Romney Adams.

What is it, and why do it?

Citations refer to the brief attributions you make throughout the body of your assignment, while references contain more detail, and are situated at the end of your assignment. The Demystifying Citing & Referencing Tutorial explains the basic principles behind citing and referencing, and is great if you’re feeling a little unsure or confused.

It’s important to cite and reference your work, for a number of reasons. When done correctly, anyone reading your assignment (including the person marking it!) can see where you have used an expert’s research to support your own. As well as this, they should be able to locate the materials you used, enabling them to determine how widely you’ve read, and on what evidence you’ve based your work. Have a look at the Library’s Academic Integrity Modules - they contain examples of mistakes that can be easy to make when using  expert opinion to support your own work - such as remix and retweet plagiarism. The good news is the modules also show how these mistakes can be avoided.

Citing and referencing is usually worth between 5-10% of an assignment, so ensuring you’ve cited and referenced your work correctly can really give your grade a boost. Don’t forget, 10% is the difference between a D and HD...or an N and P.

Feeling confused?  Check out this short clip which will show you other areas to look out for.

Resources available

There are a number of citing and referencing styles, such as Harvard, APA, Chicago, and Turabian. Each style will have different rules to follow, which can get very frustrating. It’s impossible to learn even one style perfectly - not even your lecturer can probably manage it. Luckily, the Citing & Referencing Library Guide is your ultimate go-to guide for help.

This guide contains dedicated sections for each style used at Monash, and features detailed coverage of style rules, with examples for you to follow. If you use this guide, you really can’t go wrong. You can also check out the referencing section of some faculty-specific resources, such as the Faculty of Business and Economics’ Q Manual, and the Faculty of Information Technology’s Style Guide.

It’s best not to Google information about citing and referencing - styles are updated all the time (APA is now in its 6th edition), and some have been moderated slightly to better suit the institution (for example, Monash uses its own version of the Harvard style). Information you find on Google may be out-of-date or incorrect.

While citing and referencing can be challenging, it does need to be done - and with the Library’s help, you’ll have no trouble at all. You can  get help with citing and referencing from a librarian at your library’s Research & Learning point.

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