Referencing at university – your first challenge
Academic writing: Facing that first essay question is tough. It does not matter if you are young or not so young, the list of instructions that accompany the question are often so confusing that you begin to wonder if you should register for the modules that do not require any essays! Words like ‘Harvard Style’, ‘in-text citation’ and ‘plagiarism’ occupy half your day as you page through the style guides you have been given and google search meanings and examples of these phrases.
What is a reference?
A reference is the source of the citation you used in your work. This can be a novel, journal, webpage, video, lyric, live performance, newspaper, magazine, report and so on.
What is a citation?
A citation is a quotation or an explicit reference to a source. Citations are often used to substantiate your answer.
What is an in-text citation?
An in-text citation appears in the body of your work.
Jones (2013, p. 76) argues that our lack of consistency “should be applauded and not condemned”. (this is a fictional citation)
What is a list of references?
A list of references (also reference list or bibliography) is the entire list of all the citations in your work and appears at the end of your essay.
In scholarly papers, it is expected that you note every source (online and print) you used in your research. However, whether you need to include EVERY source you accessed, or only those from which you quoted (or paraphrased) in the list of references will vary.
Jones, J., L (2013). English today. In: Berber, M. ed. What is English today. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, pp. 76-77.
(this is not a real book!)
Note: It is not uncommon to find examples of in-text citations and list of references that vary. It is therefore important to use the example you have been given, and to follow the format perfectly.
A guide that formulates the most commonly accepted conventions can be found here.
University of Kent: Referencing Guide : The Harvard Referencing Style (updated Dec 2014)
Wishing you success at university!