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How To Reference Academic Work

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Assignments and coursework within an academic, and particularly a tertiary academic environment require systematic and specific referencing. Referencing is vital not only in order to back up and justify your statements but also in avoiding plagiarism. Numerous referencing styles exist. As such it is valuable to be familiar with and proficient in their use.
What you'll need: 
PC/Laptop
Pen
Paper
1: 
The specific referencing style to be used in your academic work will generally be determined by your educational institution. This is usually either indicated at the beginning of your studies or on an individual assignment basis depending on topic and subject.
2: 
While there are a wide range of academic referencing methods, there are four which are particularly prevalent. These include the Harvard, Oxford, MLA and APA methods.
3: 
Referencing is rule-based and is therefore used in specific places within an academic work. In-text referencing, a bibliography and a reference list are generally required and all have specific referencing conventions.
4: 
The Harvard method utilises an author-date format. A bibliography entry in the Harvard style would assume the following form: Longley, J. (2010). How To Reference Academic Work. London. XYZ Press. In-text Harvard referencing would be in date-page format. For example, 'According to Longley (2010:27), the Harvard referencing system is a commonly used method.'
5: 
Using the Oxford method requires the in-text use of citations in the form of a raised number at the end of an extract from source material. Footnotes corresponding to the numbered citations are then placed at the bottom of the page. As an example: Jay Longley asserts that Oxford referencing requires the use of footnotes.(1) The footnote would then take the form: (1) Jay Longley, How to Reference Academic Work, 2010, XYZ Press, London, p.1.
6: 
MLA or Modern Language Association referencing is a method primarily used within the fields of arts and humanities. In-text reference to your sources is made by stating the author's name and page number(s) within brackets (parentheses) directly after the referenced material. For example: MLA referencing has been described as being 'frequently used in the arts and humanities.' (Longley 1). Source material in the bibliography would be formatted as follows: Longley, Jay. How To Reference Academic Work. London: XYZ Press, 2010
7: 
Frequently used in the fields of commerce, education and the social sciences, APA (American Psychological Association) referencing makes use of the author-date method. For example: APA style is commonly used in the social sciences (Longley, 2010). Entries in the reference list would assume the following form: Longley, J. (2010). How To Reference Academic Work. 1.
Conclusion: 
The systematic use of the correct referencing method in your academic work will ensure that the work is authoritative, well thought out and free of plagiarism.
Tips: 
Have examples of your past work with you when completing assignments. Checking your referencing against previous examples will speed up the referencing process.
Warnings: 
Always double-check the required referencing method even if previous assignments have stipulated a particular method.
Careful referencing will ensure that you are never guilty of plagiarism.

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