Referencing is a vital part of any research or investigative study. It is so important that without referencing, there is little value attached to any piece of writing. Researchers provide references not because they are afraid of plagiarizing another scholar’s work, but it is ethical and professional to acknowledge the contributions of other researchers. Besides, citing other scholarly work also lends support to your own research methodology and findings. It is vital to clearly differentiate your own understanding from that of your peers. Researchers are like being in a web that connects one another through citations. The originality of your work is reflected in what you cite and what you don’t. Acknowledge the authors of the documents you have read. Here, you are citing them as an authority in support of your own investigation. Besides that, referencing supports the currency of your work, and readers like to read up-to-date work. Moreover, it indicates your professionalism and honesty in doing research.
You should cite the actual source whenever you quote, summarize, or paraphrase a written piece of work. Even when you make use of another researcher’s idea, you must mention the source. If it is your own idea, citing another researcher who has conducted a study in the related field will support your study. Any work without referencing or naming the source would leave readers with an unanswered question: Who said that? Hence, referencing gives your work authority, validity, reliability, and credibility. Besides, you avoid plagiarism (intentionally using others’ work as your own). As such, you should provide complete citations, both within your text and at the end of your thesis in the references section
TYPES OF REFERENCING
When you are referencing your thesis, you should ask your institution what type of refencing is preferred as there are many types of referencing. You can also ask for a guidelines book that is prepared by the university for postgraduate students. Please take note that there is a difference between references and bibliography. References refer to papers or documents that you have read and cited in your thesis. Bibliography refers to books or documents that you have read but not necessarily cited.
APA: American Phycological Association. Author date citation in text. Use authors’ last name. One author (Author, 2016); two authors (Author & Author, year); three and more (Author et al., year).
Harvard: One author (Author, year); two or three authors (Author, Author & Author, year); four or more authors (Author et al., year).
CHICAGO: Author, title, journal, issue no and year. Doi……… in text citation: one author (author’s last nameyear); two or three authors (author, author and author year); four authors (last name of first author et al., year).
VANCOUVER: Each cited reference has a unique number in your text. One author (1); two authors (1,2); more than three you can indicate as (author one et al.) When you want to build your reference at the reference section, state: (1) author, title, journal, issue, year: pages.
As you can see from the above discussion, referencing is an academic decree which dictates that when you refer to the studies of other researchers, their ideas and opinions, and their documented findings, it is vital to mention their names and acknowledge their contribution to your own research. This is also called academic ethics.