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While researching your assignment topic you will read a variety of different material. Sometimes this reading just gives you background information to help you better understand the topic, but frequently you will want to discuss ideas or concepts you have read about. It is important to remember that the major points in your assignment need to be expressed in your own words. You can use your reading to support these points in a number of different ways. Sometimes you may choose to include a direct quote (try to keep these to a minimum) or a paraphrase, but more often you will be summarising what you have read, always remembering that you need to cite your sources at the relevant points in the body of your paper. The acknowledgement of a source in the body of a paper is called an in-text citation. So, as a general rule, most paragraphs in your assignment will include in-text citations.
There are a number of reasons why you need to acknowledge the source of the material you have used in your assignments. Firstly, any use of ideas, data, facts and figures from sources without acknowledgement is plagiarism. Secondly if readers wish to further research information you have given or confirm specific facts or data they need to be able to quickly and easily refer to the original source. Thirdly, readers need to be able to distinguish between your ideas and those you have gleaned from a variety of sources.
At Deakin several referencing systems are used, depending on the discipline studied. The author-date (Harvard), the APA (American Psychological Association) system, the documentary-note (Oxford) system, Law style, Vancouver style and a numbered citation style are all used. It is important to check the unit guide for each unit you are studying to check which referencing system is required. In general, whichever style is being used, the citation in the body of the paper refers the reader to a list providing full bibliographic details of each source cited in text.
A bibliography is a list of all the works that you have consulted in preparing an assignment. This could include books, journal articles, interviews, newspaper articles, films, the Internet and CD ROMs. These sources may or may not be cited in the assignment. On the other hand, a list of references includes only those sources that you have directly referred to in your paper. Check the unit guide or ask your lecturer or tutor if you are unsure what is required for your assignment. Both a bibliography and a reference list are arranged in alphabetical order according to the family names of authors.
This is a really difficult issue in academia because before a book or a journal article is published, the work is vetted by experts in that particular field. With web-based materials, no such peer evaluation is necessary. Anyone can create a web page and say whatever they want on it. So it is particularly important to check (wherever possible) the author's qualifications, the organisation he/she belongs to, the date of the publication and if the work has also been published in a peer reviewed journal. These tips can help you in deciding, but are no guarantee.
Most definitely not! Each academic discipline adopts the referencing style that it considers most appropriate, usually based on leading journals in their particular field. Commonly used styles are APA (American Psychological Association), author-date (Harvard) and documentary-note (Oxford). It is important to find out what system you are required to use for each unit you are undertaking. Check the relevant unit guides.