Citing and referencing
Referencing is the creating of a bibliographic description (a reference) of each source used in an accurate and consistent way.
Citing is referring from the text to the sources used.
For international students, it is especially important to review and understand the citation standards and expectations for institutions of higher learning in the United Kingdom. Citing your sources in any written work you produce not only shows how widely you have read, it also provides a clue as to which sources you value and which authority or authorities you are basing your views or arguments on. It is also an important way of contextualising your own ideas. Citing your information and providing a bibliography of references will help you to avoid being accused of plagiarism. However, simply listing a source in your list of references is not an adequate acknowledgment for the use of that source in your work.
When do I cite?
In a nut shell, when in doubt, cite! If in doubt, ask your tutor. Sometimes the best way to do this is by writing an email to her or him.
Here is a list of what needs to be credited (taken from The Owl Resource Avoiding Plagiarism)
- Words or ideas presented in a magazine, book, newspaper, song, TV program, movie, Web page, computer program, letter, advertisement, or any other medium
- Information you gain through interviewing or conversing with another person, face to face, over the phone, or in writing
- When you copy the exact words or a unique phrase
- When you reprint any diagrams, illustrations, charts, pictures, or other visual materials
- When you reuse or repost any electronically-available media, including images, audio, video, or other media
Document any words, ideas, or other productions that originate somewhere outside of you.
There are, of course, certain things that do not need documentation or credit, including:
- Writing your own lived experiences, your own observations and insights, your own thoughts, and your own conclusions about a subject
- When you are writing up your own results obtained through lab or field experiments
- When you use your own artwork, digital photographs, video, audio, etc.
- When you are using "common knowledge," things like folklore, common sense observations, myths, urban legends, and historical events (but not historical documents)
- When you are using generally-accepted facts, e.g., pollution is bad for the environment, including facts that are accepted within particular discourse communities, e.g., in the field of composition studies, "writing is a process" is a generally-accepted fact.