Know the correct stance on the definition of referencing to implement it correctly in your writing assignments and research papers.

When you research a topic, you

  • search for information and ideas available in various sources (e.g., published articles in journals) on the topic . More on sources, here.
  • critically evaluate these to synthesize new ideas/hypotheses to progress the understanding further on the topic.
  • validate your idea/hypotheses with new data/information gathered from real-life or theoretical experiments.

Finally, you prepare a research report to fulfill a course requirement or publish it as an article in a research journal.

In the report or article, you 

  • describe the background and challenges of the topic with the help of the relevant studies.
  • position your arguments in relation with other studies.
  • present your findings and demonstrate how they relate or differ with other studies thereby establishing novelty and impact of your work.

Therefore, justification, novelty, and importance of your work crucially depend on the past information in the earlier studies on the topic.

Referencing is the act of providing accurate information about the sources of the earlier studies so that readers can validate that your research work is free of plagiarism, and its claims of novelty and impact.

Therefore, referencing is not a mere act of acknowledging the contributions of other writers and researchers in your work, as described by many articles when you google “what is referencing”. Acknowledgement of other writers and researchers’ contributions happens automatically as you cite.

It is critical to be aware of the fact that the primary goal of referencing is to provide readers the sources of past information for validating your work rather than acknowledging contributions.

The awareness equips you with the right mindset to avoid citation malpractices e.g., self-citation, misquotations.  In fact, a study published in 2020 reported a misquotation rate of 25% in high-impact general science journals. The high error rate poses a significant risk to the quality of research activities.

You can explore the broad roles referencing play in research, here.

Does your reference manager have the ability to provide information so that readers can validate your report effectively and quickly?

Only nXr supports you to cite directly based on quotes/images and sharing them with readers for validating your research paper.