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A Guide to Good Referencing Skills: Integrating Sources into My Paper

What is the best way to incorporate sources into your research paper?

Simply changing a few words from the original source is plagiarism. 

If you would like to incorporate someone else's words or ideas into your own, you must do one of the following: 

  • Direct Quote
  • Paraphrase
  • Summary

If you quote, summarize or paraphrase someone else's words or ideas, you must indicate this to your reader. You can achieve this by providing clear in-text references. 

In-text referencing also guides readers to your reference list, which contains more complete information. This allows the reader to find the source material easily. 


The following are samples taken from student essays which require acknowledgment.

Note: Because there is no attempt to reference, the student risks the accusation of plagiarism.

 
Example Reasons for Accusation of Plagiarism


Student Assignment - ACCT

Inconsistent style
(mouseover to see detail explanation)


Student Assignment - ISMT

Chunk of "expert-style" language which are often definitions 
(mouseover to see detail explanation)

 

Making small changes to an original source does not make the work your own. Instead, without referencing, it just looks like an attempt to deceive (i.e. commit plagiarism). There is nothing wrong with using and quoting sources. In fact, it is normal academic practice.

When you use the exact words from the source, put quotation marks around the words that are not your own and cite it. Sometimes, you might want to quote a few words taken from another source, and sometimes, you might want to quote a long concept or process etc.

We use different formats for short quotes (usually less than forty words) and long quotes (usually more than forty words).


Short Quotations (Examples in APA Style)

Short quotations are marked with quotation marks. 

The surname of the author, the year of publication, and the page(s) where the quote can be found are placed in parentheses after the quote. 

"Critical management scholars have pointed to the ways in which seemingly objective criteria such as those of rationality and efficiency are to some extent socially and politically determined. What counts as rationality, for example, can be contested" (Hendry, 2013, p.105)

If you mention the author in the text, you provide the date of publication after the author's surname, and the page number(s) after the quote.

As Hendry (2013) notes that "critical management scholars have pointed to the ways in which seemingly objective criteria such as those of rationality and efficiency are to some extent socially and politically determined. What counts as rationality, for example, can be contested" (p.105).

When general use is made of the thoughts, ideas or information of another person's work, always use signaling phrases to introduce to the reader where the 'borrowing' has occurred.

For example:

  • According to Jones, ...
  • As Black says, ...
  • Dr Smith, Professor of Business at Georgetown College, notes that ...

At the end of the sentence in which ideas have been incorporated, put in parenthesis:

  • The author's last name, the year of publication, and the page number: (Hendry, 2013, p.105)
  • If the author or title is mentioned in the text already, then only a page number is needed: (p.105)

Long Quotations (Examples in APA Style)

Long quotations (forty words or more) are placed on a new line and indented five spaces, as in the example below.

You do not use quotation marks if you indent, but you still must provide the usual Author/Date/Page information. 


Test Your Knowledge

How do I paraphrase?

When you paraphrase, you should use the main ideas and not the original text. This process of rewriting helps you to remember, and therefore, better understand what you have read.

To ensure that you are paraphrasing accurately, check your paraphrase against the original, and always add in-text referencing so that, if they wish, your readers can refer to the source of your paraphrase.

Remember to use our own words to express another, longer message.


Why paraphrase instead of quoting?

There are three main reasons why we might choose to paraphrase rather than simply to quote:

  • Paraphrasing allows us to briefly present the main ideas of a longer text.
  • Paraphrasing ensures that our own writing does not contain too many quotes. A text that is largely made up of quotes appears unoriginal - as if it were written without any thought, or just cut and pasted.
  • Paraphrasing / rewriting helps us to understand our sources better.

What are the three essentials of paraphrasing?

A paraphrase is a representation of someone else's words and ideas, but written in your own words. Because you are using someone else's words and ideas, you must be sure to do the following:

  1. Represent the writers' views accurately. Don't distort the original meaning.
  2. Use quotation marks - Similar to the example below; identify any unique words or phrases that appear in the original. 
    • Example: According to Philips (1992), the Chaos Theory is untenable, unscientific "rubbish", and has no place in school textbooks. 
  3. Cite in-text - By referring to the example above, provide a reference on your reference page so that the reader will know where to find the original that you are paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing Example

Source Original A Paraphrase Might Be:
Wong, Y. W., Tai, L. S. & Liu, C. X. (2005). Marketing textiles: a case study. Marketing Today, 81, 217-222. We have developed an analytical model to examine the effect of marketing policies, and it has been successfully applied to help understand some peculiar results of observations in the Pearl River Delta.  An analytical model including the response of marketing policies has been designed by Wong et al (2005) and they found that it is particularly useful in understanding unusual effects of results in the areas around Hong Kong. 

Test Your Knowledge

Summaries provide the basic ideas of a longer piece of writing in a reduced form - usually only 1/3 of the length of the original. 

This requires that you:

  • Retain the main ideas of the original, but omit details,
  • Present information in the same order and with the same emphasis as the original.

Summary Example

Source A Summary Might Be:
Chowdhry, Amit. (2017, October 31). Facebook reiterates that it does not listen to conversations through your phone for ad targeting. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2017/10/31/facebook-ads-microphone/?sh=7ac4b974534d  According to Chowdhry (2017), Facebook denies the allegation that they use smartphone microphone to probe into users’ conversations for ad targeting.  Yet people are still receiving advertisements related to their recent real-life conversations. 

Test Your Knowledge

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