What crucial role do referencing guides play in learning of references?


Referencing- meaning

Any author consults various other research works and articles to make his own work more informative and rich, and to support the arguments and ideas that he wishes to discuss in his works. But merely consulting these works are not enough. One needs to give proper acknowledgement to the sources he is referring to and this process is called referencing. Referencing is an inseparable aspect of any written work and allows the author to assess the quality of his work. It also underlines the uniqueness of any given work.

The purpose

Referencing is a very important tool for any writer and it serves some very important purpose.

  • Referencing allows any reader to know the origin of a particular idea.
  • Some articles and works can be a little complex and in such a scenario referencing allows the reader to keep a track of all the ideas and prevents him from getting confused.
  • Referencing adds polish to any particular work and makes it look more credible and scholarly.
  • Referencing is important for another reason. The quality of an essay or any other academic work depends upon the quality of the works an author is referencing to.
  • Proper referencing highlights the fact that the author has studied the background thoroughly.
  • Referencing can be used in almost any type of academic writing- history essays, science essays, business essays or even dissertations. But different subjects require a different style of referencing.
  • The most important purpose of referencing is that it makes sure no one is accused of plagiarism.

The how tos

For referencing one is required to give detailed information about the source of the quote, paraphrase, translation or summary. One must mention the name of the author, the page number from the original text and the year of publication. It is necessary that a part of information is provided with the quote or the paraphrase. At the same time, a more detailed information about the source should be included in the bibliography or the reference list at the end of the book. Both the in-text citation and the reference list are an important part of referencing. It is of utmost importance that the references should be accurate- this makes it easier for the reader to find the source text.

The guides

There are a number of referencing styles following different rules and each of them has their own guides. Some of the referencing styles and the guides that they follow have been described below:

  • The Harvard Style- It is an example of author-date referencing style. It is mostly used in humanities. In this style one requires to give the last name of the author and the year of publication in brackets after the quote, the paraphrase, the summary or the translation. There reference list as to be maintained in an alphabetical order and must contain a detailed information about the source. All its rules are drawn from Style manual for authors, editors and printers¬†2002.
  • The APA Style- This is the conventional style used in Psychology. This style is also used by different subjects, especially Social Sciences. The American Psychological Society publishes a book named Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association where all the rules are mentioned. According to this style any academic writing requires to be clear and uniform. Every work mentioned inside the text has to be present in the reference list and vice versa. The reference list is not like bibliography and must only contain the name of the works one has referred to.
  • The Chicago Style- This style of referencing is used very frequently since it allows both foot-notes and author-date referencing. In this style referencing can be done in two ways- the note and bibliography style and the author-date style. The Chicago Manual of Style published by The University of Chicago Press has all the required guidelines.
  • The Oxford Style- This style is also called the documentary style and consists of two components- the foot note and the reference list. In the foot note the name of the author, the book, the year of publication, etc. are mentioned. Then they are again mentioned in the reference list.
  • The MLA Style- This style is followed by the Modern Language Association of America. All its rules are enumerated in MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.Its guidelines are generally followed by humanities, mostly in English Studies.
  • The Vancouver Style- This is also known the Uniform Requirements Styleand follows an author-number system. It is not only used in medical but is also widely used in physical sciences. In this style one must number the references and the tables. This style requires no foot notes or bibliography and all the references must be mentioned in the last page under REFERENCES in numerical order.

Referencing guides- their uses

  • The whole process of referencing can be a little daunting and therefore it is convenient to have the assistance of some referencing guides.
  • There are innumerable referencing styles and each style has its own guidelines. Since all this can be a little overwhelming every style has its own guide.
  • ¬†Referencing guides have detailed guidelines about citation, how to quote or paraphrase, where to cite, etc all which are very important.
  • The referencing guides tell an academic writer how to arrange the reference list. For example, the Harvard style referencing list follows alphabetical order, the Chicago style prefers a bibliography, the Vancouver style follows numerical order, etcetera.
  • These guides also mention how to maintain a particular format and tone in the text.
  • Different styles have different purpose and are used by different departments and subjects. In this respect the guides are helpful as they show if a particular style is meeting the requirements or not.
  • These guides are easily available and their purpose is to make sure people are absolutely clear about the rules and regulations.
  • Since all the rules are written in these guide books they can be used to clear doubts very easily.
  • These guides and extremely significant in our understanding of the whole process of referencing.