Why do I Need to Cite?
Harvard referencing can be a confusing task, especially if you are new to the concept, but it’s absolutely essential. In fact, accurate and complete referencing can mean the difference between reaching your academic goals and damaging your reputation amongst scholars. Simply put - referencing is the citing of sources you have utilised to support your essay, research, conference or article etc.
Even if you are using our Harvard style citation generator, understanding why you need to cite will go a long way in helping you to naturally integrate the process into your research and writing routine.
Firstly, whenever another source contributes to your work you must give the original author the appropriate credit in order to avoid plagiarism, even when you have completely reworded the information. The only exception to this rule is common knowledge - e.g. Barack Obama is President of the United States. Whilst plagiarism is not always intentional, it is easy to accidentally plagiarize your work when you are under pressure from imminent deadlines, you have managed your time ineffectively, or if you lack confidence when putting ideas into your own words. The consequences can be severe; deduction of marks at best, expulsion from college or legal action from the original author at worst. Find out more here.
This may sound overwhelming, but plagiarism can be easily avoided by using our Harvard citation generator and carrying out your research and written work thoughtfully and responsibly. We have compiled a handy checklist to follow whilst you are working on an assignment.
How to avoid plagiarism:
- Formulate a detailed plan - carefully outline both the relevant content you need to include, as well as how you plan on structuring your work
- Keep track of your sources - record all of the relevant publication information as you go (e.g. If you are citing a book you should note the author or editor’s name(s), year of publication, title, edition number, city of publication and name of publisher). Carefully save each quote, word-for-word, and place it in inverted commas to differentiate it from your own words. Tired of interrupting your workflow to cite? Use our Harvard referencing generator to automate the process
- Manage your time effectively - make use of time plans and targets, and give yourself enough time to read, write and proofread
- When you are paraphrasing information, make sure that you use only your own words and a sentence structure that differs from the original text
- Save all of your research and citations in a safe place - organise and manage your Harvard style citations.
If you carefully check your college or publisher’s advice and guidelines on citing and stick to this checklist, you should be confident that you will not be accused of plagiarism.
Secondly, proving that your writing is informed by appropriate academic reading will enhance your work’s authenticity. Academic writing values original thought that analyzes and builds upon the ideas of other scholars. It is therefore important to use Harvard style referencing to accurately signpost where you have used someone else’s ideas in order to show that your writing is based on knowledge and informed by appropriate academic reading. Citing your sources will demonstrate to your reader that you have delved deeply into your chosen topic and supported your thesis with expert opinions.
Here at Cite This For Me we understand how precious your time is, which is why we created our Harvard citation generator and guide to help relieve the unnecessary stress of citing. Escape assignment-hell and give yourself more time to focus on the content of your work by using Cite This For Me citation management tool.
What is quoting?
Quoting is where you copy an author's text word for word, place quotation marks around the words and add a citation at the end of the quote. Quotes should be using sparingly. Using too many quotes can suggest you don't fully understand the text you are referring to.
In scientific writing, you should generally paraphrase from sources, rather than quote directly. Quoting more extended sections of text tends to be more common in arts and humanities subjects where it may be appropriate to quote frequently from the literature that is being analysed.
As you take notes, ensure you clearly mark where you have quoted directly from the source.
If you use a direct quotation from an author, you should:
- enclose it in quotation marks
- give the author, date and page number(s) that the quotation was taken from, in brackets.
If you are quoting from a website or webpage that does not have page numbers, you do not need to include anything to indicate this in the citation.
"Language is subject to change, and is not caused by unnecessary sloppiness, laziness or ignorance" (Aitchison, 1981, p.67).
Quotations more than two lines long
If the quotation is more than two lines:
- separate it from the rest of the paragraph by one free line above and below
- indent at left and right margins
- it may be in a smaller point size
- it is preceded by a colon
- it does not use quotation marks
- the citation includes author, date and page number(s) that the quotation was taken from.
One answer to this is that language has always been subject to change, just as everything else in the world is, and we should not feel that this is a bad thing. As Aitchison (1981, p.16) puts it:
Language, then, like everything else, gradually transforms itself over the centuries. There is nothing surprising in this. In a world where humans grow old, tadpoles change into frogs, and milk turns into cheese, it would be strange if language alone remained unaltered. In spite of this, large numbers of intelligent people condemn and resent language change, regarding alterations as due to unnecessary sloppiness, laziness or ignorance.
Aitchison clearly sees every change in language as neither good nor bad, but inevitable...
Editing a quote
You may want to make minor changes to a direct quotation. This is possible (as long as you don't change the meaning), but you must follow the rules.
- If you omit parts of the quotation, use an ellipsis. An ellipsis consists of three dots (...). Do not begin or end a direct quotation with ellipsis points. The reader already assumes that the quote has been excerpted from a larger work.
- If you want to insert your own words, or different words, into a quotation, put them in square brackets [ ].
- If you want to draw attention to an error in a quotation, for example a spelling mistake or wrong date, do not correct it; write [sic] in square brackets.
- If you want to emphasise something in a quotation that is particularly relevant to your essay, put the emphasised words in italics, and state that the emphasis is your own.
- If the original has italics, state that the italics are in the original.
Language changes are natural and inevitable. It has been argued that language:
gradually transforms itself over the centuries. In a world where [everything changes], it would be strange if language alone remained unaltered. In spite of this, large numbers of intelligent people condemn and resent language change (Aitchison, 1981, p.16, my italics).
According to Smith (1992, p.45), "Aitcheson [sic] appears to believe that everything changes; but this is questionable" (italics in original).