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By looking at the Why? section, you will see that there are many benefits to citing and referencing correctly.
The next stage is to figure out when you need to cite and when you don't.
For further help on using citations in your assignments/research, please see How? Critical Thinking and Academic Writing.
When to cite...
You need to cite and reference anytime you use information that doesn't belong to you. Common mistakes/difficulties include:
- Not realising you need to cite the source
- particularly for web information that doesn’t seem to ‘belong’ to anyone
- Attempting to cite and reference, but not doing it correctly
- not citing the full details in the reference list
- mixing different styles
- Citing things you haven’t read
- Getting paraphrasing wrong
- the original material hasn't changed sufficiently in terms of language and structure
- Thinking words are your own, when they are not
- forgetting / bad note taking
When not to cite...
- Anything that is your own idea or results from your own experiments/surveys etc
- Common facts
- Common knowledge for your subject area (check with your Supervisor if you are not sure)
Do not over-cite
- Do not cite at every sentence
- Do not use an endless list of quotes
The idea in academic writing is to show your marker that you have a good understanding of the topic, you do this by writing in your own words, but also by providing evidence that you have read from appropriate / authoritative sources.