Although providing sources and references is often an uninteresting task, it is a vital one. This could be when you have used a direct quotation, information, statistics, or summarized someone else’s words or ideas in your words.
It is a good idea to get into the habit of providing full and accurate references. You will find that this helps you to identify, and remember, particular points in your reading.
There are several other reasons why you must provide references:
- To indicate whether the information in your written work came from.
- To acknowledge the contribution someone else’s work has made to what you have written. If you do not, you are implicitly claiming (whether you mean to or not) that the ideas you are writing are entirely your own. This is plagiarism and is extremely serious. There is almost no academic work that is not built on others’ work – we are all ‘standing on the shoulders’ of others in that respect. In your assignments, you will draw heavily on the work of others and you need to get into the habit of referencing as soon as possible.
- Differentiate between your work is and what the work of others. This allows the instructor to see what you have read, what sources you have used, what aspects of the course materials you have drawn on and which non-course materials you have used
- To identify which are your ideas
- To demonstrate how the arguments you are making are supported by other people.