Referencing is a key element of academic writing and something you’ll become very familiar with during your studies at Griffith. If you haven’t encountered referencing before, or if you just need a refresher before you start tackling your assignments, the Library’s here to help!
What is referencing?
In academic writing, you need evidence to support the argument or claim that you’re presenting in order to make your work more authoritative and persuasive. Referencing is how you acknowledge the information sources you’ve used as evidence.
Accurate and consistent referencing demonstrates your:
- ability to write in an academic style
- understanding of the topic
- commitment to academic integrity.
Academic integrity is another key element of academic writing, which goes hand in hand with referencing. Here’s how Griffith defines academic integrity:
“Student academic integrity means acting with the values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility in learning. It is important for students to act in an honest way, be responsible for their actions, and show fairness in every part of their work.”
Basically, it means being honest about whether something is your own original work or not. You probably wouldn’t like it if someone else took credit for your ideas, or for something you said or wrote, right? Referencing is about showing respect to others when using their work in your academic writing.
What do I need to reference?
Anything that isn’t your own work! Here are four different ways you can do it:
- Quote: use the author’s exact words.
- Paraphrase: restate the author’s words or ideas in your own words.
- Summarise: condense the main points of the author’s arguments or ideas.
- Synthesise: combine multiple authors’ views to support your position.
For more information about the different ways you can acknowledge an author’s work in your writing, visit our Academic writing webpage.
Whichever option you choose, it’s important that you never change the author’s meaning; if an information source doesn’t support your argument the way you need it to, then maybe it’s time to find some different evidence that does!
Which referencing style should I use?
Check your course profile in Learning@Griffith to see which referencing style is required for your course. If you’re still unsure, ask your course convenor.
There are different referencing styles for different disciplines: some use in-text citations and a list of references at the end of your document, while others use footnotes.
The Library provides referencing guides and other helpful information about referencing on our website.
I’ll never remember all of this!
That’s okay—you don’t have to. The Library’s referencing guides and other resources are here to help! Just make sure to always check that your references are accurate and consistent before submitting an assignment.
With practice, you might start to remember bits and pieces! If you don’t have an assignment to work on just yet, why not test your referencing skills with this retro online learning game?
And if you need further assistance with referencing, you can always book a one-on-one consultation with a Library specialist.