The Importance of Referencing in Academic Writing Essay

Academic writing is presenting ideas and introducing other voices in their discussion or an argument. Referencing refers to enhancing academic writing and helping readers in many ways. While referencing plays a key role in academic integrity and literacy, students find it very difficult to do referencing. This is because they are not familiar with academic conventions and norms. This essay will discuss the four reasons why referencing is important in academic writing. The first reason is to trace the origin of ideas and identify the original work that is referred to writing paper.

A further reason is to spread knowledge by reading different resources. Also, it opens a new window of knowledge to the writer to identify resources related to academic writing paper and to the readers when they follow the referencing list so they can have many different resources to read too. Another reason for the importance of referencing is to indicate appreciation to the work of the writers or authors by introducing their work.

A final reason is related to avoid plagiarism. The key reason for the importance of referencing in academic writing is related to tracing the originality of ideas.

Why Readers Should Know About Used Sources

Readers would feel comfortable when they identify the original work. It will be clear to readers from which resources the evidence is taken from. The link of the resource can show author name, the type of resources such as books, textbooks or journal articles. It gives a page number and the year of publication. Furthermore, tracing the original work also makes a link between previous studies and the writer ideas without changing the researchers’ ideas. Thus, it can be enabled by direct quotation or paraphrasing the original work.

However, to trace the original work, referencing has to be in an appropriate citation where the reader can locate the original work without complications. Referencing shows an important part in locating and placing ideas as well as arguments in writers’ social, geographical, historical and cultural contexts (Neville, 2007). In paraphrasing, the writer has to cite from whom the main idea been introduced so it becomes clear to readers to know this evidence. However, it is important for writers to know when they can provide the original text in their context.

It will lead to unsuitable textual extracting if writers are not aware of forms considering suitable source to use or their language skills are not good to paraphrase texts from sources conveniently, especially within a specific time limits (Weigle & Keisha, 2012). Another reason for the importance of referencing is to do with spreading knowledge of information. This knowledge can be summarized from a wide range of reading through different resources. It can inform readers and allows them to have a different perspective in the paper.

Reading many journal articles can help to find many resources by the list of references and bibliography at the end of these journal articles. This list of references and bibliography can provide other resources related to the subject. Thus, can show a huge knowledge as each source can lead to new resource and information (Neville, 2007). Reading is not the only resource that can improve the writer’s knowledge. Exploring the internet and watching a different type of videos related to research also can give more knowledge about presented ideas.

How Referencing Helps to Share Knowledge

There are several language abilities like vocabulary knowledge are associated with reading, listening and writing. These abilities provide ways of communication related to English vocabulary the writer can use in academic writing (Cumming, 2013). All types of communication play a strong role of knowledge. Discussing the subject with colleagues, relatives or friends is considered as a way of communication and it provides exchange of information as well as reading or listening. Referencing is an important way to spread the knowledge and show various ideas. Moreover, it strongly support the writer claims.

To prove the knowledge that has been introduced in the discussion or an argument, referencing is the important factor that supports the evidence. Furthermore, referencing gives credibility to the information that has been presented as well as to build personal voice in an argument. Because of the lack of knowledge and feeble experience, university students need to read more and expand their reading to have a strong background of information to help them to spread their knowledge in assignments. An additional reason for the importance of referencing is that it helps a writer to validate his claim, showing appreciation for the author.

Reading from various ranges of resources is an important way to present knowledge. However, including the author or researcher ideas in research paper is another important way to support a discussion or an argument. More importantly, citing the author name in the paper gives credibility to the work and introduces other voices that support the writer ideas. It is about showing respect and courtesy to the authors and honoring the work that has been done hardly (Neville, 2007). Readers appreciate the perfect work that has academic structure. They need to know where these evidences come from and to whom these ideas belong to.

Citing the author name and year of publication in the academic writing gives significance to the author. In a reference list, introducing a link for author information gives credibility to the author and shows appreciation. Thus, it is very important to present a reference list. In some academic writing, it is better to show bibliography as well as the reference list. Bibliography is similar to referencing. Referencing indicates more appreciation to the author which is included in the context. However, bibliography gives an opportunity for readers to show appreciation about the research paper when they give their feedback or comments.

Mentioning Author’s Name Helps Supporting the Idea

Including the author name in a reference list gives weight to the point or idea. “For example, the point that acupuncture is beneficial for chronic back pain supported by NICE guidelines is more credible than this fact supported by an acupuncture organization” (Wright & Ferns, 2010) A final reason for the importance of referencing is associated with avoiding plagiarism. Plagiarism is an act of using authors’ language, ideas or thoughts without authorization and presenting them as one’s own and not crediting them to the original author.

In Britain, universities defined plagiarism as “one of a number of practices deemed by universities to constitute cheating, or in university-speak: ‘a lack of academic integrity’ ” (Neville, 2007). Many things can be identified as plagiarised work. There are many examples that show which work can be considered as plagiarized work, copying someone else’s work and placing it as one work; Submitting the same or similar work in an assignment can gain more academic credit. Authors or institutions usually own this piece of work.

These institutions can be universities which the work can be part of course written, a publisher which makes the work as part of a book or a journal article, a corporate firm that included in their research or activities or an internet site where visual pages are related (Bretag, Crossman & Bordia, 2009). There are many ways to avoid plagiarism. One of these ways is summarizing or paraphrasing a person work and cite them in the context (Neville, 2007). The other way is a direct quotation which involves copying the exact words and introduces them in the context, but they need to be in a quotation form.

Referencing Helps Avoid Plagiarism

However, referencing can secure the work when it is presented according to academic writing structure. Learning the structure of academic writing helps to avoid plagiarism. Many universities introduce workshop classes or academic writing classes so that students can learn the effective way of referencing. This will help them to avoid plagiarism or being accused of plagiarism. Accordingly, students need to learn the different style of referencing and how to apply their work according to structure. They also need to seek a teacher or an advice after they completed their work.

Thus, it will improve a student’s ability of presenting perfect referencing as well as helping their work of not being plagiarised.


In conclusion, this essay has discussed four reasons for the importance of referencing.

  1. Referencing helps readers to allocate the resources and know the difference between the writer and author ideas. It promotes writers to present an excellent academic writing. These reasons are, tracing the original ideas and refer them to the ideas presented in the paper.
  2. The second reason is to spread knowledge in a discussion or an argument. This knowledge applies when the writer shows a wide range of information and introduces them to the work. Readers can notice the knowledge that has been experienced in the work when they find various in text referencing.
  3. The third reason for the importance of referencing is indicating an appreciation for the author which can be shown by citing their names, the year of publication into the work. It gives credibility to the writer as well as shows the significance of the author.
  4. The final reason for the importance of referencing is to avoid plagiarism. There are many ways of avoiding plagiarism.

However, referencing is a very important way to avoid the issue. If students are aware of the importance, they can be a better performer in academic environment.

Reference List

  • Bretag, T. , Crossman, J., & Bordia, S. (2009). Communication skills. (Revised ed., pp. 70-71).
  • Sydney: McGraw-Hill Australia pty limited. Cumming, A. (2013). Assessing integrated writing tasks for academic purposes: Promises and perils. Language Assessment Quarterly, 10(1), 1–8. doi: 10. 1080/15434303. 2011. 622016
  • Neville, C. (2007). The complete guide to referencing and avoiding plagiarism.
  • New York: Open University Press Educational and Professional Book Publishers. Plagiarism. (n. d.). Unabridged. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from website:
  • Weigle, S. C., & Keisha, P. (2012). Source text borrowing in an integrated reading/writing assessment. Journal of Second Language Writing, 21(2), 118–133. Doi: 10. 1016/j. jslw. 2012. 03. 004
  • Wright, K., & Ferns, T. (2010). Simple writing skills for students, part two: researching your subject. British Journal of Nursing, 19(17), 1118-1120.
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