Referencing: Citation and Language Matters Essay

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Hay, lain. (2002) Communicating in geography and the environmental sciences. Melbourne : Oxford University Press. Ch. 10. "Referencing and language matters", pp. 173-200.

Referencing and language matters

rfthe English language made any sense, a catastrophe would be an apostrophe with fur.
Doug Larson

A man will turn over ha@ library to make one book.
Samuel Johnson

One important convention and courtesy of academic communication is citing or acknowledging the work of those people whose ideas and phrases you have borrowed. Although this business of referencing is relatively straightforward, many people encounter difficulties with it. This chapter provides an outline of the form and practice of the two styles of referencing used most commonly in geography and environmental disciplines. The chapter also discusses the serious matters of plagiarism, and sexist and racist language before concluding with some comments on common punctuation problems.

What are references?Why do we need them?
When you use information which has originally appeared in someone else's work, you must acknowledge clearly where you got it from. You must always make the acknowledgment in a consistent and recognisable format. Such acknowledgments are called 'references'. In your academic work you are expected to draw on evidence from, and substantiate claims with, up-to-date,

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174 Communicating in geography and the environmental sciences

Referencing and language matters

175

relevant and reputable sources. The number and range of references used for your work are also important. You must cite all references to: aclrnowledge previous worlr conducted by other scholars allow the reader to verify your data * provide information so that the reader can consult your sources independently. You must clearly acknowledge your references when you quote (use the original source's exact words), paraphrase (express a source's ideas in different words) or summarise (outline the main points) information, ideas, text, data, tables, figures or any other material which originally appeared in someone else's work. References may be to sources, such as books, journals, newspapers, maps, films, photographs, reports, electronic sites or personal communications (e.g. letters or conversations). References must provide enough bibliographic information for your reader to be able to find your source easily. 'Bibliographic' refers to the key descriptive elements of a publication such as a book, journal article, video or online (computer) resource. These elements include details such as author, date of publication, title, volume number, and page numbers. There are three principal systems of referencing: the author-date system (sometimes called Harvard, in-text or scientific system); the note system (sometimes called the endnote or footnote system); and the Vdncouver system. Of the three systems, the author-date (and variants of it) is the most widely used in geography and the environmental sciences. Although it is less common, some geography lecturers and journals employ the note system. For this reason, the note system is also discussed in the pages that follow. However, because the Vancouver system is confined largely to medicine and other health-related disciplines it is not discussed here. If you need to employ this approach to acknowledging sources, consult the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors' 'Uniform requirements for manuscripts' (1993, pp. 2282-6) for advice. Use whichever system of referencing is recommended by no your lecturerKand matter which system you adopt, be sure to employ the same style throughout any single piece of work. The advice which follows is based largely on the Australian Government Publishing Service's Style Manualfor Authors, Editors and Printers ( 1994). You are advised to consult that book if you have detailed queries which are not addressed here. Despite the frequency with…