When writing your master’s thesis (or some another writing assignment) it is essential to cite and refer properly. In other words, your composition should clearly show which ideas and conclusions are your own and which elements you have drawn from other authors.
Photo: Photographer jamiepatra licens Creative Common BY-NC-ND 2.0
There are a number of reasons why it is important to reference sources properly. The first is academic integrity – i.e. you must give credit where it is due to other authors’ work. Academic writing builds to a large extent on previous research conducted within a subject area, and your reasoning and conclusions are usually based on these prior sources. If you draw on the ideas and thoughts of another without clearly showing from whence they were taken, it is an act of plagiarism, which is strictly prohibited.
Another reason for referencing is that those who read your text might be interested in learning more about the subject at hand and should be able to easily turn to the sources you have used.
There are many ways to reference. The most important thing is to be consistent and not mix different referencing systems in a single document. If you are unsure what system your institution employs it’s a good idea to ask your instructor or advisor.
If you want to learn more about what a reference is, watch the following short films from Blekinge University of Technology’s library.
Or, take a look at the following:
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