Referencing and plagiarism

In preparation for the written pieces with have to do this year I decided to do abit of research into understanding plagiarism and how to reference sources properly. Its been a while since I have had to do any proper essay writing so and update on essay structure would come in useful also.

Anyway the book Conann suggested was already taken from the library so I decided to use this one.


The book was quite small, only took about 2-3 hours to read and I’m a slow reader so I would recommend it if you need a quick guide to better your understanding, plus it is kinda boring reading about plagiarism and referencing this book has a few illustrations that sorta make it slightly more interesting. Here’s the notes I took from it.

Part one->

Referencing and writing->

  • Find out what referencing style your tutors want- in my case that is Harvard style.
  • Writing with confidence- know writing conventions in the academic area you are studying and understand them.
  • Plagiarism- understand how to draw on other peoples ideas and words, then it should not be an issue.

UK ‘academic’ style->

Not expected to:

  • Write out facts, describe events or just summarize lectures (unless your specifically asked to)

Are expected to:

  • Consider a question or topic from several angles.
  • Discuss and evaluate.
  • Show evidence for statements made for facts or when mentioning the approach of a particular writer or describing the findings of a study.

Referencing is giving the reader a link between what you write and the evidence on what your writing is based on. The source.

Why reference?

The reader can->

  • Go and find the source themselves
  • Understand the nature of the source
  • Form their own view about the use you make of it
  • Proves you’ve read the source material and makes it easier for them to access the quality of your work quality.

Don’t just list sources at the end ‘Point’ the reader to where they can find the source. Reference throughout the text. ‘Citation’ tells the reader 2 things.

  • The idea or info comes from somewhere else.
  • Where to look for more info on the source.

Use either:

  • A number – example¹ or [1]
  • The author and date (Holmes, 2014)

Reference section

List all sources with full details

  • In order of appearance in the text.
  • Alphabetical order (Surnames)

What the reader needs->

  • Who wrote it?
  • When it was published
  • What the title of the article is
  • What journal it was published in
  • Where exactly it can be found


If it is an online source, note the IP address and when it was accessed.

Research process

If you have to choose a topic->

  • Pick an idea that you are interested in
  • Is it viable? Read abit. Talk to your tutor about it. Think about it.
  • Ask a specific research question and then sub questions.

If you are set a question->

  • Make notes in your own words.
  • Record and reference everything that you look at.
  • Search for specific reading- articles, reports, case studies etc.
  • Plan the essay/ dissertation.

Transform sources into ideas. Readers want to see the roots of your ideas and the value you added by thinking about them.

That just the notes that I have taken from the book, hopefully it will come in useful.


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