Proper academic referencing diminishes seemingly onerous academic writing tasks | Sunday Observer

Proper academic referencing diminishes seemingly onerous academic writing tasks

10 October, 2021

If you observe the text of scientific communications, there is a unique way of writing. As I mentioned in my previous write-ups, scientific writing is concise and objective. Normally, scientific communications use the third person, complex scientific terminologies, figures, charts, active or passive tenses, statistical data and a unique referencing system or pattern. Today’s article summarises the importance of referencing in scientific communications.

In scientific communications, by using references, you can acknowledge other researchers’ efforts or other writers in your work. Referencing is also a way of crediting other researchers or writers whom you have taken ideas, phrases, data sets, figures and charts.

As a scientist you can get millions of ideas, visions, advice and arguments by other individual scientists or groups, whom must have spent a lot of time for researching, writing and analysing data. All you should do is acknowledge them by citing their work, in which you respect their intellectual rights. Referencing helps to provide proof to support the claims of your study as well.

By citing scientific literature from reputed scientific communications, you can make others aware about your updated scientific knowledge and the field you are experting.

Using proper references, you can convince the scientific community that your ideas are credible. Once you master referencing in scientific communications, the time take to write scientific articles, books and reviews will be shorter and you work will be considered as a quality work.

In scientific communications, referencing helps you to avoid plagiarism accusations. Plagiarisms refers to deliberate expression or presentation of someone else’s ideas, words or phrases as your own ideas or thought. Plagiarisms is a serious academic fraud in science which can give a black mark to a scientist or researcher or research group.

Even if you cut and paste something from others unintentionally,

it is also considered as an academic fraud. There are instances where some leading scientists and research students have been expelled from famous universities due to plagiarisms issues. Therefore, to avoid such disciplinary issues, you must give credit to others work by referencing their work in your text. In scientific communications, writers paraphrase others work which is much better than taking direct quotes.

When students write their introductions in dissertations or scientific communications following scientific literature search, use of proper referencing and knowledge on how to cite them at the appropriate places will be helpful to structure the introductions easily.

Also, keeping a good record of references when writing dissertations or articles can relieve your stress and frustrations. I have seen students experiencing unwanted stress when preparing the list of references in their dissertations at the list minute as a results of not keeping bibliographic description of cited articles methodologically.

Therefore, being organised from the beginning will help you to refrain from referencing errors. Also, it is meaningless to spend too much time on correcting referencing errors despite the possibility of correcting them earlier.

If you do not have a referencing software like endnote, try to keep index cards for the sources of references as novice writers follow. Nowadays, with help of your citation maps and references used in scientific communications, scientist’s social networking platforms like Research gate can interconnect scientist who are working in the same discipline. Also, these platforms notify you when your work is cited. Reference you cite must be accurate and complete. Use of proper references make your work persuasive as well.

In scientific communications, printed articles or books are not the only ones to be acknowledge by referencing. You must refer websites, online sources, online data sets, software, conference proceedings, dissertations, documentaries, magazines, product brochures, pamphlets and letters, etc. Things such as your life experiences, own insights, common knowledge in some cases and folklore should not be referred.

When citing a reference in the text, many ways are followed. Normally, if an article has a single author his surname and the year of publication are written in parenthesis. When you have three or more authors the term ‘et al’ is used after the name of the first author.

Et al is a Latin term which denotes ‘et alia’ (and others). If an author has two publications in the same year, use lower cases ‘a and b’ after the year of publication. Many number of articles written by a single author can be cited in the text by arranging the years of publications in a chronological order. Actually, the author guidelines of a book or journal provide complete steps to be followed when adding text references.

At the end of an article or book chapter the list of references can be seen. Currently there are four main referencing styles are used in academic writing.

They are called the MLA (Modern Languages Association) system, the APA (American Psychological Association) system, the Harvard system, and the MHRA (Modern Humanities Research Association) system. Before arranging the list of references in an article or book chapter, make sure which reference style is recommend by the publisher.

As mentioned earlier, author guidelines of a book or journal provide complete information for formatting the list of references. Many students and researcher take referencing as a hectic task. However, once you understand the referencing process, it is just a matter of being organised and following referencing guidelines. Next week’s article will provide information on how to write a successful dissertation in biological sciences.