2 Quoting, citing and referencing
At the start of this course, it was outlined that the detailed ‘nuts and bolts’ of referencing styles were not going to be covered. Part of the reason for this is because every educational institution – and every discipline within that institution – is likely have its own preferred format and style.
Instead, this course focuses on the importance of ‘all my own work’ – the ‘why’. Nonetheless, it is important to add a few words on this important aspect. We have hinted at quoting, citing and referencing elsewhere in the course, now have a go at Activity 2.
What do you understand by the term ‘quoting’?
Quoting is where you incorporate the exact words of the original author into your arguments. In some disciplines, use of direct quotes is encouraged, for example in history. In other disciplines, direct quotes are very rarely used. The key thing to remember with direct quotes is to make it obvious to your reader, which are your own words, and which are those of the original author. Typically, this is identified through the use of quotation marks around the original authors words, in such a way that you clearly identify the beginning and the end of the quoted material. The quote should be followed by an in-text reference (sometimes called an in-text citation). If you are using a quotation of more than one sentence, it is often written as a separate paragraph, intended to show the text as a quotation. When in doubt, check with your tutor.
Note that a quote should be used to support your arguments; you might include the authors original words to draw emphasis to a point which aligns to your arguments, or one that you wish to critique. A quote is not a ‘space filler’ nor is it a substitute for your own thoughts.
What do you understand by the term ‘referencing’?
Referencing is the process by which you acknowledge other people’s work. Your references need to be sufficiently detailed, such that your reader could locate the precise sources you have used. One widely used and highly regarded referencing guide is ‘Cite Them Right’ (no date). This comprehensive online guide contains lots of examples of how to reference (cite) material. Your educational institution is likely to have a detailed guide to support your understanding of format/style required. When in doubt, check with your tutor.
Using the ‘Cite Them Right’ referencing approach, there are two steps involved in referencing material. The first step is the ‘in-text reference/citation’ which, as the name suggests, appears within the body of your text. This is the point in your work where you first acknowledge that you are referring to someone else’s original thoughts. If you are drawing on the work of the original author to construct your own arguments, there are typically three ways you might include an in-text reference:
- Recent work by Shirazi (2010) supports this argument…
- Recent work (Shirazi, 2010) supports this argument…
- This argument is supported by recent work (Shirazi, 2010).
If you were using a direct quote from the original author, this in-text reference might look as follows:
“Managing student behaviour is one of the most important issues that can cause concern and anxiety to a student teacher” (Shirazi, 2020, p. 324).
The second step in the process is to include a ‘full reference’ to the source at the end of your work. This full reference needs to be sufficiently detailed so your reader can identify the ‘who, when, what and where’ aspects of the source. Think back to the need for an academic audit trail from Session 1.
The full referencing list at the end of your work should include all the sources you have used. Every in-text citation should have a corresponding reference in full, in your list at the end. Academics are curious by nature – they have a keen interest in their specialism and enjoy ‘reading around a subject’. Your reader should be able to use your in-text citation to identify the full reference in your list. From your full reference, your reader should be able to go back to your original source to find out more.
As mentioned previously, the focus of this course is not on the specific format of your references (i.e. which parts should be in bold, or italics) instead, you should focus on the different elements that make up a reference. Ask your tutor for guidance on the precise format needed for references on your course.
As an aside, in academic disciplinary cases, students often say that they have accidentally plagiarised because they ‘have trouble understanding referencing’. Actually, one of the main reasons individuals are found to have plagiarised is not that the individual has not referenced correctly, rather it is that they have not written material in their own words (i.e. they have too closely paraphrased or used quotations inappropriately).