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Providing a list of references you have used to put together your assignment is one of the crucial steps toward creating any kind of academic writing. Among the many requirements of academic writing is the need to cite and reference all of your sources, since you will be relying on the data and evidence gathered by other authors to prove your point. We do this because it is a rule, and because we want to avoid plagiarism, which is one of the most serious academic offenses you can ever commit. Here are 5 helpful tips you can rely on when you are required to properly reference your papers.
1. Don’t Start Gathering All of Your References at the End
This is one of the most common mistakes that all students and scholars make. They write their academic paper, and then they go about creating a reference page for all the sources they have used throughout. This is incredibly time-consuming and unpractical. A better way of going about it would be to gather your references and create as reference page while you are doing your research and gathering data. That way, you won’t have to waste time looking for them later for hours on end.
2. Make Sure to Separate Your Own Ideas from Someone Else’s
When you are doing research for your paper or writing it, all sorts of ideas will pop inside your head which you might want to use in your assignment, which is fine, but if they are exactly the same as the ones that can be found in your sources, you can be accused of plagiarism. To avoid that, write down your ideas using a colored marker in order to separate them visually from your research results.
3. Remain Consistent
When you are providing references, make sure that you are consistent throughout, because switching back and forth between several different systems indicated your disregard for academic rules and guidelines, but also of lack of discipline and hard work that needs to go into creating a proper reference page. Stick with only one way of referencing your sources, to make it easier on both yourself, and the person who will be reading your work.
4. Make Sure to Use the Right Date
One of the tricky things about referencing a particular book is including the right date, because many books have enjoyed multiple editions and reprints, and as a results, they will have different dates, which creates a problem when you want to reference them. Of course, you can’t go wrong if you reference the date of the edition you are using, but if you are able to find the original publishing date, be sure to include it, as well.
5. Learn by Example
If you are not sure how to provide references, take a look at papers written by published academics, and see how they do it. It is the best way to learn.