My name is Erifyli and I'm a final year International Management student. Here are my tips on how to cite and reference sources in your written work, so you follow the University’s academic integrity rules and avoid plagiarism.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a skills enrichment session on academic integrity, to refresh my memory not only on the importance of it, but also on how to correctly reference and cite in academic work. I would love to share with you what I learnt, as well as my personal tips on how to properly cite, so you don’t miss a thing while writing your assignments.
What is academic integrity and why is it important?
Academic integrity is a key part of good academic practice. It shows a high level of awareness of the literature in your field and your ability to approach this in a critical way. It makes your work more credible and demonstrates a thorough and consistent approach to your research.
The University of Bath expects all the members of its academic community to act with honesty and integrity. In simple words, students at university, when writing an academic piece of work, are not allowed to copy from a text directly, or use phrases without quoting them. Otherwise, you’re committing the offence of plagiarism and breaking your contract with the University, which has serious consequences.
Well, this is easy to say, but how many times have we been in a position where we struggle to paraphrase something while maintaining flow and the same meaning as the author? Or we accidentally forget to save the references while researching and taking notes for our assignment? Personally, I used to sometimes struggle with paraphrasing or forget the sources I was using and ended up searching for them all over again.
So, here are some practical tips for you!
Use credible sources
First, it's important to start with using credible and reliable sources. Good academic material can be found in the Bath Library catalogue, Google Scholar, or in general academic reports and articles on the internet. In most cases you should avoid using blogs or Wikipedia as sources (though sources on a Wikipedia page can be a useful starting point).
Keep track of sources
While collecting all the information and undertaking research, it's very important to keep track of what resources you're using, so you can reference and cite correctly in later stages.
To do that, I suggest whenever you find a piece of information, whether it's a quote, sentence, or even an entire piece of text, paste it in a new word document and insert a comment with the web link of the source you used. If you consistently do this during your research, you'll end up with a file including all the information needed for writing the assignment, and all the sources you need to cite.
Paraphrase or summarise!
Now the time of the actual writing has come. Remember, to maintain academic integrity, we shouldn't paste text straight from the source we've used, simply change a few words, or use original phrases without quoting them, as all these actions are considered plagiarism.
To avoid this, try to paraphrase every piece of text you're using or summarise what the author explains in your own words while using an in-text citation at the end of the sentence, for example:
New members within an open culture can instantly feel that they are accepted (Hofstede, 2018).
So, what do you do when it's impossible to incorporate the author’s idea in other words, without changing the meaning?
Well, if there's a specific way that the author is phrasing something, or there's a definition, we can use direct quotation of the phrase and then cite the author, for example:
“In an open culture, newcomers feel immediately welcomed” (Hofstede, 2018).
However, make sure you don’t use too many quotes (maximum 5%-10% of the total piece of work).
An important tip is that if you truly understand what the author explains, you should always be able to phrase it in your own words. If not, you'll feel the need to 'copy and paste'. That's a sign that you shouldn't use information you don’t understand, not only for plagiarism, but for the quality of your work too.
The next and final step to follow while writing an academic piece of work is bibliography and references. At the University of Bath, Harvard Bath style is usually required.
To reference correctly you can either do it manually, using the Referencing guide: Harvard Bath, or automatically with reliable reference management software like EndNote or Zotero. It’s still a good idea to still check your references manually to ensure they adhere exactly to Harvard Bath formatting conventions.
Hopefully, these tips are useful and may help you with paraphrasing and citing correctly.
If you have your own tips, or want to ask a question, please post a comment!