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Whose line is it anyway?

19th November 2015

Whose line is it anyway?

Understanding referencing vocabulary

Understanding referencing vocabulary

Worried about referencing? It’s easy to be intimidated when the words used to discuss referencing are unfamiliar. Learning a few key terms can make it easier to use tutor feedback and improve referencing in your next assignment. Here are some of the terms we use most often when talking about referencing and what they really mean:

Citation: A citation is how a writer acknowledges the author of an idea or a quote from a book, journal article or other source. Sometimes people talk about using in-text citations, or about citing an author/book. The citation is what tells the reader where to look in the reference list for the full details of the source. Occasionally people refer to this as a reference, too. In UW Harvard, citations are (Author Date); in APA they are (Author, Date).

Direct quote/quotation: A quotation or direct quote is when a writer repeats the source verbatim. The quotation is the actual words, and the writer must use a citation to tell the reader where those words have come from, and use double quotation marks (“…”) to show where those words begin and end. Quotes should be used sparingly. In UW Harvard, a quote should be indicated with “…” as well as (Author Date: p.#); in APA, use “…” and (Fox, 2008, p. 72).

Paraphrase: A paraphrase is when a writer uses a source’s ideas, but changes the words & structure of the original. In other words, it is taking someone else’s idea and putting it into your own writing style in a way that flows with the rest of your essay. It is not just changing a few words. The paraphrase is the rewording/restructuring of the source’s ideas, and the writer must also use a citation (Author Date) in Harvard or (Author, Date) in APA to tell the reader where the idea came from originally. Paraphrasing is preferred over quoting, as it shows your understanding of the subject.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s words or ideas without appropriate credit. It may be intentional or accidental, but is an academic offence with serious consequences.

Types of plagiarism include: collusion (working with another person when you shouldn't e.g. copying their work, and submitting their work as if it was your own); word-switching (just changing a couple of words and not citing your source); and sham paraphrasing (forgetting to put the quotation marks in for direct quotes).  Remember: if in doubt, ask for help.

Reference list: A reference list is a list of items that you have cited in your work.  It will be arranged in alphabetical order by the author's surname, or by number if you are using a numerical system. It is not normally split up into source types, or displayed as a bulleted list. It goes at the end of your work, after the main essay.

Secondary referencing : You need to secondary reference if you can’t read the original source of an idea. For example, you may find that author (A) cites the work of another person (B). If you want to cite B’s work as well, but you are not able to locate B’s writing, then you will have to cite it through A. This is known as secondary referencing. Your citation will often be written in a way which reflects ‘B as cited by A’, or ‘A cites B’. In your reference list, you only need to include author (A), whose work you actually read.

Visit our referencing page for examples and more support with referencing.

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