So, you’ve finally come to university and you are clever enough to realise that, despite this supposedly being the best time of your life, you will face some challenges, such as trying to find a house with new friends, maintaining a balance between work, leisure and friendships, meeting assignment deadlines, homesickness and…doing your own laundry.
However, what you might not have expected is for referencing and citing to be a big challenge.
Whether you are doing an arts, humanities or STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) degree, you will have to undergo the long and mentally exhausting process of making sure that your footnotes, bibliography and in-text citations in your writing contain the correct details of books, journals and academic websites. One incorrect or missing reference or citation detail can lead to you losing marks.
Fortunately, there is a way to overcome the difficulty of referencing and citing.
Firstly, know the referencing or citation style that you need to use for your work.
Secondly, look at your subject handbook as there will be a referencing and citation section that demonstrates how to cite different sources.
Thirdly, allocate one whole day to work on your references and citations. Referencing and citing may seem like a task that you think you can quickly do, but it isn’t. With so many details that you must put in a specific structure, you will be reading for an incredibly long time and you will definitely make a few mistakes in terms of the arrangement of details. Also, whilst you’re on this stage, make sure you write down the secondary sources you’ve read. The last thing you want to do is to forget about an interesting and useful source and then spend countless hours trying to find it again.
Fourthly, check that you have the correct details of your secondary sources.
Lastly, reread the referencing and citation section of your subject handbook to make sure that you’ve arranged the details in the right order.