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4.4 Citations and references

Manage your information
4.1 Why manage your information?
4.2 Record information for referencing
4.3 Annotate and note take
4.4 Citations and references
4.4.1 Styles
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What is an in-text citation?

An in-text citation provides the reader with the link to the original author(s) of the information you are quoting or paraphrasing.

You must provide consistent, accurate citations for everything that you quote or paraphrase.

For example:

"Optimism denotes a swelling of the mean belief about asset value relative to that which is reasonable or rational, given later outcomes." (Forbes, 2009, p. 141).

What is a reference?

You must also provide accurate bibliographic references for everything you use to write your assignment.

A reference provides the reader with all the information needed to accurately identify the original source of the authors you have quoted or paraphrased.

For example:

Forbes, W. (2009). Behavioural finance. New York: Wiley.

Why cite and reference?

  • It enables the reader to follow up on the original work if desired.
  • It is a courtesy to the original author to give them credit for their own ideas and work.
  • Opinions of experts can be used to validate a statement or argument.
  • It makes you look professional and authoritative i.e. you know what you're doing.
  • It is an infringement of copyright laws not to provide proper citations and referencing. See 6.5 Plagiarism.

What needs to be cited?

All information that you did not know before you read it needs to be cited, including:

  • quotations (anything that is the exact words of another author)
  • summarised or paraphrased information (anything that you write into your own words but is not your own ideas)
  • definitions of terms.

Quoting and paraphrasing is discussed in more detail in 6.5 Plagiarism.

What does not need to be cited?

Facts and ideas that are considered common knowledge within a discipline do not need to be cited.

For example: In the discipline of electrical engineering, Ohm's Law (which defines the relationships between power, voltage, current, and resistance) is considered common knowledge. Similarly, for physicists, Einstein's theory of relativity (E=mc2) would not need to be cited.

More general examples include:

  • facts
    • for example: Canberra is the capital of Australia
  • widely known ideas
    • for example: Adam Smith is regarded as the father of economics
  • chemical symbols
    • for example: Oxygen = O2
  • scientific names
    • for example: Humans = Homo sapiens.

Strict formatting rules need to be followed to cite and reference correctly.

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