Guidelines on Academic Writing

Added on - 19 Sep 2019

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Guidelines on referencing literature in academic writingPlease read the following document very carefully. Students often come across problems whenreferencing literature in their coursework. Bad or inaccurate referencing affects the quality ofpresentation of the work at the very least, and at worst leads to accusations of plagiarism andpossible failure of coursework.Referencing well is important for the following reasons:acknowledging the academic sources you have used to inform your argumentsdemonstrating wide and relevant readingdemonstrating how your thoughts contribute to the field and link to other research/ writingavoiding plagarism – inadvertent or otherwisecontributing to a high standard of presentation.These are all criteria on which academic writing is assessed.Remember also that your references need to tally with the books / articles etc quoted in thebibliography and that your references serve as a route for the reader to follow up your arguments.The following rules are therefore designed to make that as easy as possible.There are few basic and simple rules / principles to guide you in referencing in your text which areoutlined below, with examples, all in a different font. (NB: the examples are not all real so do notquote them!!)1. When do I reference?When you are using ideas or information / data from the literature you must refer to the relevantauthors. You need to do this EACH TIME you are using an idea from the literature you are reading.It does not matter whether you have referred to the author before, elsewhere in the text – each timethe reference must be complete in line with the following guidelines. Otherwise you may be guilty,inadvertently, of appropriating someone else’s ideas, which counts as plagarism.2. Referring to a work without directly quoting from it.When you use an idea from an author, without using their own words, you need to acknowledgethat author by citing the name and the date of publication.There are two ways of doing this.a)If the author’s name is integral to the sentence (ie serves some grammatical purpose) then add theauthor’s name and the date of publication in brackets.Eg :Bentall (2003) argues that teachers’ understandings of the training processneed to be explored and built on during training.
orIn her research Bentall (2003) found that teachers’ existing understandings ofthe training process were a major influence on how they learned duringtraining.In both the above examples if you took out the author’s name the sentence would not make sense,so the name serves a grammatical function in that sentence and therefore stays outside the brackets.b)If the author’s name is not integral to the sentence then place the author’s name and date ofpublicationbothwithin brackets. Place this information in the sentence after the idea you arereferring to.For example:It is recognised that teachers’ understandings of the training process need tobe explored (Bentall 2003).orIt is recognised that teachers’ understandings of the training process need tobe explored (Bentall 2003) and their existing understandings of contentacknowledged (Calderhead 1992).In these two examples you could take out the authors’ name and the sentence would makegrammatical sense.NOTE : the author’s name and date come within the sentence. DO NOT place the brackets after thefull stop as this will imply that the authors’ name and publication date refer to what is happening inthe next sentence. It is not usual to start an English sentence with something in brackets that servesno grammatical function.3. ParaphrasingWhen you are referring to an author without direct quotation be careful that your paraphrasing oftheir ideas is entirely in your own words. The aim is to sum up their idea so that you communicatethe meaning of it. Taking their sentence and changing 3 or 4 words is NOT paraphrasing!!! This iseasy to do inadvertently when one has read the passage a number of times, as it feels like thesentence is your own.Alwaysgo back to the source and check whether you are in fact making adirect quotation, even of just a few words, or part of a sentence, or a term that the author uses, orwhether you really have paraphrased and only communicated the sense of what they are arguing. Ifyou find you are actually quoting then follow the guidelines in section 4 below.4. Quoting an author directly – using their wordsIt is imperative that the use of an author’s own words is acknowledged by the use of quotationmarks. This is the case whether you quote a particular concept that the author has ‘invented’, such
as Bourdieu’s (1990) notion of ‘habitus’, part of a sentence, a whole sentence, data they havepresented or even a paragraph.Direct quotations must be in quotation marks and referred to by page number. Place the pagenumber in the brackets next to the publication date:eg:Bentall (2003 : 16)or(Bentall2003 : 16)In order to decide whether the author’s name goes in or outside the brackets follow the grammaticalrule outlined above in section 2.Don’t put the page number at the end of the sentence separate from the publication date andauthor’s name as this means the reader has to keep moving backwards and forwards to get all therelevant information for following up a quotation. This can be very irritating to read.If the quotation comes later in the sentence than the mention of the author’s name this does notmatter. Still put the date of publication and page number with the author’s name. Don’t quote theauthor’s name at the beginning of the sentence and then quote them again at the end. This isunnecessary and uses up more of your word count.ExamplesCorrect:Bentall (2003 : 243) explores how teachers learn during training and concludesthat teachers’ “existing understandings of the training process influence theirunderstandings of both course content and reflective practice”.Note how in this example the words in the quotation dovetail into the words of the sentence, but it isclear where Bentall’s words begin and end.Incorrect:Bentall explores how teachers learn during training and concludes thatteachers’ “existing understandings of the training process influence theirunderstandings of both course content and reflective practice” (Bentall 2003 :243).Note that you might need to quote only a phrase or word that an author has used, because this is aparticular name they have given to something they have discovered. Even this needs referencing asa direct quotation.Example: