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Referencing in academics is a crucial aspect that lends credibility and integrity to scholarly work. It involves acknowledging the sources of information used in assignments, papers, or research to give proper credit to the original authors and to allow readers to trace and verify the information. When creating assignments, understanding the various referencing styles, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, is essential. Each style has specific guidelines for citing sources, including books, articles, websites, and more. Consistency within the chosen style is crucial to maintain professionalism and clarity.

How to Properly use Referencing

 To use referencing effectively in assignments, start by keeping meticulous notes on sources as you gather information. Include details like author names, publication dates, titles, and page numbers. This information will be the foundation of your in-text citations and bibliography. In-text citations are brief references within the body of  assignment, pointing to the full citation in the bibliography is necessary. This allows readers to easily locate the complete details of the source. For example, in APA style, you might use (Author, Year) format, while MLA uses (Author Page) format. The bibliography, also known as a reference list or works cited page, is a comprehensive list of all sources cited in your assignment. It typically includes details like the author’s name, title, publication date, and source location. Formatting follows the specific guidelines of the chosen referencing style. Plagiarism, the uncredited use of someone else’s work, is a serious academic offense. Referencing is the primary tool to avoid plagiarism, ensuring that the credit is given where it’s due. Whether we are directly quoting, paraphrasing, or summarising information, proper referencing is your ethical responsibility. Online citation tools, such as Zotero or EndNote, can streamline the referencing process by generating citations automatically. However, it’s essential to double-check the output to ensure accuracy, as these tools might occasionally make errors.

The different styles of Referencing In Assignments

APA (American Psychological Association): Used in social sciences, it emphasizes author-date citation, with a reference list at the end. In APA referencing style, the author’s last name and initials are used, followed by the publication year in parentheses. The title of the work is italicized, and for books and articles, the publisher or journal name is included.

 MLA (Modern Language Association): Common in humanities, it uses parenthetical citations in the text and a works cited page. In MLA (Modern Language Association) referencing style, citations in the text include the author’s last name and the page number, without punctuation between them.

 Chicago/Turabian: Chicago style has two variations (notes and bibliography, author-date), while Turabian is a simpler version commonly used in academic writing. It is getting more and more popular as the days pass by.

 Harvard: Popular in the UK and Australia, it involves in-text citations and a reference list.

Harvard referencing style is an author-date citation system widely used in academic writing. In this style, in-text citations include the author’s last name and the year of publication, while the full details of the source are listed in the reference list at the end of the document. It allows readers to easily locate the source of information within the text.

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers): Primarily used in technical fields, it uses numerical citations in square brackets.

AMA (American Medical Association): Common in medical and scientific writing, it uses numerical superscript for citations.


In conclusion, referencing is the backbone of academic integrity. It not only acknowledges the intellectual contributions of others but also allows readers to verify and explore the sources you used. Understanding and implementing the rules of referencing in your assignments will better the quality and credibility of your academic work.

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