- Readers of your report with further sources of reference if they are keen to read more about what you have discussed in your work
- Authors with credit as they were the ones whose work you based your idea or information on
- Assessors with an idea of how thorough your research has been before you penned them down on paper!
When writing a paper or report, you may need to quote or incorporate ideas, information, diagrams or statistics from other sources (e.g. books, reports, articles, websites). When this is done, proper acknowledgement to the source should be provided.
A citation provides information to materials which you have consulted to frame the context of your argument(s), gather information for your findings and substantiate any judgements which you may make.
- Information about the author
- Title of the work
- Name and location in which the work was published
(*For electronic sources, this would be the URL. In addition, date in which information accessed would be important as online content is dynamic!)
You may cite references using one of several standard styles, e.g. APA, MLA, Chicago Style, Harvard Style, etc. that have been developed by various organisations. Once you choose a style, use it consistently throughout your report.
This guide will show you how to cite your references using the author-date, or Harvard Style, which is one of the simplest and is widely used in many educational institutions. Within the institution, the Harvard Style is used to cite references, unless otherwise requested by your lecturer/ tutor.
The Harvard Style is made up of two components:
- Plan your information search strategy in advance with identified key words to assist you in your search process. Having a good idea of potentially relevant key words will help you frame your search in a more organised and efficient manner.
- Keep a record of all the searches you have done, and jot down the source for each article or piece of information. This will save you from having to repeat your searches or locate the information source again when you write your report.
If sources are not cited or cited incorrectly, you risk committing plagiarism.
Plagiarism refers to the process of taking another's work, ideas or words and using them as your own (Macmillan Publishers, 2015).
What are the consequences of committing plagiarism within SP? This is an offence listed in the Student Handbook.
Macmillan Publishers, 2015. Macmillan Dictionary: Plagiarism. Available from: https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/plagiarism. [5 June 2015].