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Understanding when to Reference

blog1_getting the most out of an academic writing service Failing to cite properly is one of the main reasons that students get into hot water during this academic career, which can result in a low grade, a failed grade or even a charge of academic misconduct. This means that learning how and when to reference is of paramount importance to every student. This is a skill that is generally not taught comprehensively in the student’s academic career. The student may be given handouts on referencing and referencing styles, which can be confusing when the basics of referencing have not been explained to the student. Thus, identifying when to reference is an important skill that the student has to learn.

Most students know that failure to reference will amount to plagiarism, which is passing off another’s work as their own. This knowledge creates a black and white understanding of referencing without engaging the complexities when to reference in an appropriate way.

Selecting text and putting it in quotation marks and citing the source is the most common form of referencing. However, this is not the only time that a student should and can reference. A student can read an argument of an author and paraphrase it in their own words, which will require referencing because s/he is using the ideas of the author. Paraphrasing is another common practice, but many students fail to cite the source. The failure to cite the source amounts to plagiarism because all the student has done is to change the words (i.e. s/he has not formulated any ideas or analysis).

Paraphrasing and quotations are not the only forms of referencing. The student has to consider whether an argument and/or selection of ideas in their essay are their own. With such considerations, the student must determine whether a substantial amount of each idea has come from another person. If this is the case then the source has to be cited, even if it is not paraphrased for quoted from.

Conversely, not all ideas that the student places in an essay will have to be cited. If the idea emanates from the student’s own analysis of one or more author’s work then this is the student’s own work and should not be referenced. Nonetheless, to show that the work is the student’s own analysis, it is recommended that the student identifies each of the ideas with proper citations. The student can then conclude the work with his/her own analysis.

These basics are important to understand before the student engages with the formalities of a particular referencing system, such as APA, Harvard, MLA or OSCOLA. Formalities do not identify when the student should cite another’s work. Rather, this is guided by a number or principles that can result in unimagined complexities for the student tackling referencing.
Here at Homework Help USA we can help to show you how to reference correctly. This can be done through our custom written essay, dissertation and/or one-on-one tutoring service. Through a custom essay or dissertation the student can see how and when to reference; whereas the tutoring service will allow one of Homework Help USA’s Experts to explain how and why work is referenced in a certain way. Thus, combining both custom written work with the tutoring service will provide the most comprehensive help on how and when to reference, which Homework Help USA can provide to you.

Purdue University (2015) “Using Research” Owl Online Writing Lab available at: accessed September 6, 2015.