Referencing is the key means by which you can avoid plagiarism and is central to the practice of academic honesty. The basic idea is that any time you use information, ideas or words from another source you need to use referencing to acknowledge the original author. Using someone else’s ideas without clearly identifying that this is what you have done is an obvious breach of the principles of trust and fairness which support academic endeavour. It can sometimes be difficult to know what you are required to reference, and many students mistakenly believe that it is only academic publications which need referencing. In fact any time you use someone else’s ideas or information you need to reference: if you do not, you are plagiarising. The following lists help you understand when referencing is necessary and when it is not.
When completing an assignment, the following sources must be referenced: * books and textbooks
* journal articles
* newspapers and magazines
* pamphlets and brochures
* films, documentaries, TV programs and advertisements
* web pages and all computer-based resources including blogs and blog posts, podcasts and vodcasts * letters and emails
* personal interviews
* lecture and tutorial notes
* communications with lecturers, tutors and other professionals (emails and conversations) * reproduced
When completing an assignment there is no need to reference: * your own observations - for example, in the experiment results section of a report * your own writing about your own experiences - for example, in a reflective journal * your own thoughts, comments or conclusions
* your own analysis or evaluation - for example, in the opportunities and risks and recommendations sections of a report * your own interpretations of the significance of data or facts * your relation of data or facts to the argument of a report or essay - for example, in the recommendations section of a report * common knowledge
There are some kinds of information that do not need to be referenced. Common knowledge – that is, knowledge held in common in the public domain – does not need to be referenced.
For example, it is common knowledge that Australia is a democracy, and therefore a statement to this effect in an assignment does not need to be referenced.
However, if you are discussing nuances of opinion from various Australian political parties on a topical issue, these views need to be referenced because they represent specialised knowledge.
If in doubt about what can be assumed as common knowledge, consult your unit of study coordinator or tutor.
The validity of information
As a general rule, only credible sources should be used in university assignments. Information and ideas from websites, general members of the public and other students is not necessarily credible.
Credibility stems from a quality assurance process. For example, articles in academic journals are usually peer reviewed, and have therefore been through such a process. University lecturers and tutors have been through an equivalent process.
The internet does not have a standard quality assurance process. Information is frequently published with no checks for accuracy or substantiation. For these reasons you need to make sure that you assess the validity of information sourced from the web.
Why should I reference?
Beyond issues of academic honesty there are other good reasons to reference. As well as helping you to work in an honest manner, by making clear what is the work of others, referencing ensures that your marker knows what is your own work and that your assessments are marked fairly. Three good reasons to reference
* Referencing is central to the...