Importance of referencing and citation in academic writing

Citations and References Documenting your Sources In your lab reports you will typically use information from sources such as your textbook, lab manual, a reference book, and articles published in a science or engineering journal. When you use information from sources, you need to tell the readers where the information came from and where the readers can locate the sources. This is what citations and references are for. A citation tells the readers where the information came from.

Importance of referencing and citation in academic writing

As a signpost, it signals the location of your source. As an acknowledgement, it reveals that you are indebted to that source.

A citation can appear in different formats: Different disciplines use different formats. The mechanics of citing are complicated, and vary in each format. To answer specific questions on the mechanics of citation, please consult sources describing each type. You may find it most useful to think about how citations function as a way for you as a writer to communicate with your reader.

By using citations, you keep the reader always apprised of whose idea or words you are using at any given time in each sentence and in each paragraph. Three Reasons Why Citation is Important Citation is important because it is the basis of academics, that is, the pursuit of knowledge.

In the academic endeavor, individuals look at evidence and reason about that evidence in their own individual ways. That is, taking what is already known, established, or thought, they use their reasoning power to create new knowledge.

In creating this knowledge, they must cite their sources accurately for three main reasons: Because ideas are the currency of academia First, citing sources is important because the currency of academia is ideas.

Why is Referencing Important? | UNSW Current Students

As a result, academics want to accumulate that currency; they want to get credit for their contributions. When a writer cites ideas, that writer honors those who initiated the ideas.

Because failing to cite violates the rights of the person who originated the idea Second, keeping track of sources is important because, if you use someone else's idea without giving credit, you violate that person's ownership of the idea. To understand this violation, envision the following scenario: You and your friend are discussing some ideas from class during lunch one day, and you make what you consider to be a particularly insightful observation.

importance of referencing and citation in academic writing

During class discussion that afternoon, your friend brings up your observation but neglects to point out that it is yours, not his. The professor beams and compliments your friend on his clear and insightful thinking.

After all, you had been thinking about the idea, perhaps had devoted time to developing it, and you are not getting credit for it. Worse, someone else is. That sense of violation you feel, the sense that something valuable has been stolen from you, suggests why failure to cite sources hurts another person.

Danger of over-referencing

The Importance of Citation Reason Three: Because academics need to be able to trace the geneology of ideas Third, keeping track of sources is important because academics value being able to trace the way ideas develop.

Consider the scientist who looks at an experiment described in a new publication, and then decides to perform an experiment to extend the results. At the same time, other scientists are planning experiments to test the findings, to contest the findings, to relate the findings to their own research: If another person reads one of the "second generation" ideas, proper citation will allow that person to explore the original publication to trace the way the idea has developed.

In general, scholars must be able to trace how ideas develop in order to consider, think about, and test them accurately.

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So giving credit to the original source of ideas is the right thing to do, as well as the basis on which academia is built. For more discussion on the ethical responsibilities of scientists in citing sources, sharing credit, and other matters, please see On Being a Scientist: These three reasons suggest why it is important both to cite sources and to use them well.

And neither is easy. You will learn about how to cite, when to cite, and why to cite throughout your college career. Your work in the tutorial is intended only to help you begin to consider these complicated questions.

According to the College Registrar, the numbers of cases brought and students found guilty of academic dishonesty have been as follows: Year Number of Cases Number found Guilty 5 8 6 5 29 12 28 19 13 6 How can we talk about owning ideas?


Aren't ideas part of the culture, part of all of us?The terms cite and refer (or citation and reference) are often used to mean the same thing since to cite a piece of work is to provide a reference to its source.

Originally Answered: What is the importance of citation in academic writing? Very important. When you write an academic paper, you not only rest on your own logic, but on the credibility of the authorities/scholars on the subject.

The importance of referencing in academic writing might seem like a no-brainer but improper attribution often goes unchecked. +7() [email protected] falconediting Editing of scientific papers, translation from Russian to English, formatting and .

Referencing is a basis for academic writing By acknowledging all sources that have been used in the preparation of a text, writers form part of the ongoing exchange of ideas and data that signifies the academic community.

Citations may look different, depending on what is being cited and which style was used to create them. Choose an appropriate style guide for your needs.

Here is an example of an article citation using four different citation styles. The Importance of Citation Reason Three: Because academics need to be able to trace the geneology of ideas Third, keeping track of sources is important because academics value being able to trace the way ideas develop.

Citations and References: Documenting your Sources