It’s week 9 and things are starting to get real – essays and other assignments are starting to pile up and just about everything is due. Regardless of the class or form of assignment, they all have one thing in common – referencing. There is no way to get around referencing, without it you’ll be caught with plagiarism and you’ll lose marks if it isn’t done correctly, but there are ways that you can make the whole experience a little less painful. Here are 5 tips for taking the stress out of referencing:
1._Don’t leave it till the end
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when doing an assignment is leaving all the referencing until the very end. I have done this on multiple occasions and it has resulted in a mad scramble an hour before the due time trying to find out where I got my information, which source goes where and in what order. One of the best ways to avoid last minute stress, and get your assessment done in less time, is to jot down notes as you go. Whether on a piece of paper or on your computer, it is handy to have a list of all sources you have used and excerpts of the information you got from each of these sources. That way everything will be organised when you come to fix up your referencing later. Another smart move is actually doing the referencing as you go, that means entering correct footnotes and updating your bibliography as you work through the assignment.
2. Use valid sources
You’ll be surprised at how hard it is to reference a random website you found off google, that has no author, date and lacks other valid information. If you want to reference correctly, get those extra marks and make life a bit easier for yourself, then make sure you use valid sources. When doing any work at University, the library’s relevant online resources for your course and Google scholar are your best friends. All sources found through these means will include the relevant information needed for correct referencing. Additionally, never use sources like Wikipedia – professors will not look kindly upon this and it is sure you cause you more stress in the long run.
3. Know your referencing system
Each course (and sometimes even different classes) will require different referencing systems. These could be anything from the Harvard reference system to the Australian Guide to legal citation. Make sure you check your Unit outline, or ask your lecturer which reference system to use before you start your assignment. This is incredibly important, because while some forms of referencing will require in-text citation, others will rely heavily on footnoting and so on. Make sure that you research your referencing system to ensure that you are completing your assignment correctly.
4. Use a reference generator
While we should all know how to reference without using a generator, sometimes they are the best for saving time and organising your research. Systems like Zotero, make it easy to save sources and make notes as you go, taking most of the stress out of referencing. This system is quite complex though, if you are looking for a simple, web-based generator, sites like Cite this for me and Neil’s toolbox can come in extremely handy.
5. Ask for help
As always, If you are feeling stressed, there is bound to be a service at ACU to help you. ACU’s Academic skills unit has a specific focus area on Academic referencing skills, and students are encouraged to prepare by attending:
– Workshops – these free, one hour workshops run throughout semester. Register to attend now.
– Drop-in sessions – these are brief consultations with an Academic Skills Adviser.
– Individual or group consultations – make an individual or small group appointment with an Academic Skills Adviser.
Do you have any other tips? Share them in the comments below!