What Do I Need to Reference?

You need to reference any work from any source that is not your own that you use directly in your work.

  • Instances where the ideas and arguments you are using come from a particular source (an author of a book chapter for instance). For example, you might want to make a point in your assignment and the argument you use to make and explain this point comes directly from a particular author/book. In this case, then you must reference this source.
  • Where you are using particular bits of data or evidence. Where you wish to use some specific piece of data or evidence, you must say where this comes from. This helps enormously in strengthening your argument – you are not just saying something off the top of your head but are providing evidence to support the claims you are making. You have to show where the evidence came from. For instance, if your essay title was ‘Discuss the ways in which the idea of the family has altered over the last 30 years’ you will need to show reliable evidence that it has or that it has not changed. For instance, you may look at the statistical evidence of the number of families with a single parent and the number of extended families. Then, you will need to discuss, in your opinion, why the idea of the family may have changed.
  • Where you use someone else’s words—it cannot be stressed enough that whenever you use someone else’s words, these must be put in quotation marks, or, if it is a long quotation, created as a block quotation. You will be accused of plagiarism if you do not. The bulk of your essay should be written in your words, and you need to take care that you do not accidentally slip into copying sections of the books and other sources you use. However, sometimes an author you are reading puts something in a way that is appropriate and to the point, or provides a definition of a concept or idea which you want to use. Here, using a quotation is appropriate and often adds to the flow of your writing.