Developing good academic practice
Developing good academic practice

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

Developing good academic practice

5.1 Why should you cite references?

When producing an assignment, any other assessed piece of work or something that is going to be viewed and/or used by others, it is important to include complete and accurate references because:

  • your references show you have read around the subject;
  • your academic argument will be stronger if it’s supported by evidence from other people’s research;
  • others will be able to find and use the same sources that informed your work, which in turn allows them to check the validity and authenticity of your work, as well as develop and enhance their own understanding of the subject.

If you use other people’s work to construct your answers and do not include appropriate references, then you will be passing off other people’s work as your own, and so be guilty of plagiarism.

As you progress through your academic career, it is important to develop your study skills and understand when, where and what you need to reference. It is equally important to develop an understanding of what you don't need to reference (e.g. your own thoughts and ideas, and anything that constitutes common knowledge).

The various styles in which you should present references are briefly described below, but which system you use and the exact form of the reference depends upon the advice given by your university or college. You should check your course material for specific details about which form of referencing to use.

DGAP_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371