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Referencing System

Academic writing relies on more than just the ideas and experience of one author. It also uses the ideas and research of other sources: books, journal articles, websites, and so forth. These other sources may be used to support the author's ideas, or the author may be discussing, analysing, or critiquing other sources.

Referencing is used to tell the reader where ideas from other sources have been used in an assignment. There are many reasons why it is important to reference sources correctly:
  • It shows the reader that you can find and use sources to create a solid argument
  • It properly credits the originators of ideas, theories, and research findings
  • It shows the reader how your argument relates to the big picture
(For a detailed discussion, see why reference?)

Failure to properly acknowledge sources is called plagiarism, and it can carry significant academic penalties. Fortunately, plagiarism is easy to avoid by following a few basic principles.


When you refer to another author's work in your work you must cite your source by providing the last name of the author and the year of publication.


At the end of your work, under the heading References or Bibliography, write a full description of each source you have cited, listing them in alphabetical order by the author's last name.

There are several referencing styles used in academic communities around the world. The Koya University choose to use the Harvard Referencing system as university wide standard for any type of academic writing in any level. Harvard referencing style (also known as author-date style) is a generic description for any referencing style that uses in-text citations with an author and date. The following tutorials will help you to understand more about the Harvard Referencing System.

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