The importance of referencing:
All new knowledge is built on previous knowledge. In academic writing such as assignments, theses, research articles and reports it is standard practice to give an overview of the current knowledge about a topic and to provide evidence to support the points that you make. These ideas will form the foundation for your own arguments and will be integrated into your own work by:
- quoting (using the exact words of another),
- paraphrasing (using the ideas of another in your own words),
- summarising (using the main points of another),
- translating the original text and summarising or paraphrasing it.
The ability to relate one's own work to existing knowledge is a skill that needs to be mastered by every student. This is done by acknowledging all the sources of information in the text of your assignments and providing a list of these sources at the end in the form of a bibliography or reference list in the specific style that is prescribed by your faculty.
If this is not done correctly, it may give the impression that you are trying to pass off the work of another as your own and you may be accused of committing plagiarism which is a serious offence.