Referencing – it can be the most painful part of assessments, especially if it’s left until the very last minute!
As a popular topic at the Drop-in sessions, we asked the USC Learning Advisers to come up with their top tips to help you improve your skills so you can smash out that reference list!
1. It pays to know what referencing is
If you don’t understand what referencing is and why it’s important, you will struggle to use it to support your ideas and assessments. Basically, referencing is acknowledging the source of information and ideas that you have used in your own writing. This usually includes an in-text citation (author-date or footnotes) and the full entry in the reference list.
Including references in your assignment demonstrates that you’ve done a lot of research, gives your work credibility, and helps to avoid plagiarism.
2. Understand what style to use and follow it
Yes, there are multiple referencing styles used across USC, like Harvard or APA, so you need to know which one you should be using. You can find this out by checking your Course Outline or asking your tutor.
Once you know, use the online referencing guides to make sure you’re referencing correctly and that you proofread your reference list at the end – don’t let a few stray commas reduce your marks!
3. Learn what to reference in your assignment
There are so many elements in each assignment where you can add references and we often see some of the easiest ones missed such as images or graphs. So, when building out your assessment, make sure you reference; quotations, definitions, tables and graphs, images, and information, ideas, theories or concepts that are not your own.
4. Build your reference list while you research and write
It’s so simple but often forgotten. If you record the details of your information sources as you go, you can easily refer to a resource when you need it - there’s nothing worse than not being able to find the resource you used. By doing this, you will also have a healthy reference list by the time you get to your conclusion.
5. Still confused? Chat to us
If you’re still unsure about the referencing style or maybe you’ve come across an unconventional source to reference, come and have a chat with a Learning Adviser at one of our Drop-in sessions or book an appointment via Student Hub.