It is important to reference the sources you use for essays and reports, so that the reader can follow your arguments and check your sources. It is essential to correctly acknowledge the author of ideas and quotations. The referencing system required by one department may not be acceptable to another, except perhaps on a limited basis. It is therefore important that you know what the conventions are in your own subject area

It is important to reference the sources you use for essays and reports, so that the reader can follow your arguments and check your sources. It is essential to correctly acknowledge the author of ideas and quotations.

It is important to reference the sources you use for essays and reports, so that the reader can follow your arguments and check your sources. It is essential to correctly acknowledge the author of ideas and quotations.

It can be tempting to use other people's writing without acknowledging them, but this is not acceptable in academic writing – if you do so, you risk damaging your reputation as well as breaking copyright laws.

The referencing system required by one department may not be acceptable to another, except perhaps on a limited basis. It is therefore important that you know what the conventions are in your own subject area.

You should use the referencing system recommended by your lecturer. Assuming that you are a student and the one assigning the task is your lecturer, this will be the most straightforward option. The department or faculty may have its own conventions for referencing, but these are unlikely to change from year to year and should not cause problems for you if you stick to what is prescribed by your teacher.

The reader can follow your arguments if you use references in academic writing

To be clear, the reader can follow your arguments if you use references in academic writing.

If you don't use references, the reader may not be able to follow your arguments.

If you don't use references, the reader cannot check your sources.

If you do use references and quotations (or not), then the reader can follow your arguments or not. If they want, they can check back by looking at what's cited in footnotes or endnotes; if they don't care about checking sources and just want to focus on reading for pleasure rather than research purposes, there's nothing wrong with that! Just make sure that whatever style guide(s) are used will work for everyone who reads it: some people might like footnotes but others might prefer endnotes; some people like numbered citations while others prefer unnumbered ones; etcetera ad infinitum...

Conclusion

As you can see, referencing is an important part of academic writing. It allows the reader to follow your arguments and check your sources. It is essential to correctly acknowledge the author of ideas, quotations and data tables used in your essay or report. The referencing system required by one department may not be acceptable to another, except perhaps on a limited basis; it is therefore important that you know what the conventions are in your own subject area.