What is referencing?
Referencing, or citing, is an essential component of academic writing, as it acknowledges the sources of information you have used to complete your assignments.
Referencing is important because it:
- ensures that you are not open to accusations of plagiarism
- identifies your sources and enables readers to locate them
- acknowledges copyright and shows respect to the author for their work
- demonstrates the validity or credibility of your arguments
- demonstrates the extent to which you know the relevant literature
- avoid plagiarism and academic misconduct (What is academic integrity and academic misconduct?)
What do you need to reference?
You are required to reference any information, ideas or data that are not your own, including when you have:
- quoted another author, word for word
- paraphrased or summarised information
- defined terms
- used tables, statistics or diagrams from a source
Referencing or citing your sources is an important part of academic writing. It lets you acknowledge the ideas or words of others if you use them in your work and helps avoid plagiarism.
Referencing also demonstrates that you've read relevant background literature and you can provide authority for statements you make in your assignments.
The Harvard citation style is the preferred referencing style for many disciplines of study at the University of Western Australia. It is an author-date referencing style. The Harvard citation style can vary in minor features such as punctuation, capitalisation, abbreviations, and the use of italics.
Click on the Understanding referencing tab above to learn more about the anatomy of a Harvard citation.
The examples in this guide have been developed in collaboration with the UWA Business School. Always check with your lecturer/tutor for which citation style they prefer you to use.