Learning Skills Unit - Learning Lab

Understanding referencing

Was referencing a new skill for you?

Click on the students below to find out their answers.

Why is referencing important?

In ‘western' universities, academic knowledge is built around different and often competing theories. One of the roles of academics/ scholars is to research and develop their own theories, which are built on their own analysis and understanding of previous knowledge. The knowledge produced by individual academics is seen as their creation or product and therefore their intellectual property. This means:

  • authors have ‘ownership’ of their own ideas.
  • everyone who uses these ideas must acknowledge who owns them. In academic writing this is done by referring to (or referencing) the ‘owner’ or original author.

What is expected of students?

Students are expected to:

  • read widely
  • write about the different theories in their field
  • demonstrate knowledge of these theories as they apply to their assignment topic
  • acknowledge (or reference) the original sources of their information.

If students do not acknowledge the authors of their readings it is considered to be plagiarism, a form of cheating.


More Information

Academic integrity (opens in new window New window icon)
Library referencing guides (opens new window New window icon)
Learning Lab referencing
Learning Lab paraphrasing