Referencing at Marjon

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[Referencing] [How to use APA at Marjon] [Quick Guide to APA Referencing] [More support with using APA] [Support for MARGen referencing]

How do we reference at Marjon?

In September 2018, Plymouth Marjon University started to use the American Psychological Association (APA) style of referencing. The APA citation style (6th Edition) is a parenthetical author-date style, so you need to put the author’s last name and the publishing date into parentheses (in brackets) wherever another source is used in the text.

The APA format consists of in-text citations and a reference list, along with guidelines for formatting the paper itself. Both the in-text citations and the reference list can be created easily with the help of various software and online tools.

The Official Marjon Guidance to using APA

Quick guide to using APA at Marjon

More information about APA style

 What is Referencing and why is it important?

When completing an assessment in Higher Education, your own thoughts and ideas should be built upon those of other writers and researchers. It’s essential that you engage with and identify this previous work and that you acknowledge those sources of information by:

  1. Acknowledging the source within the text by citing the author’s surname and date of publication in parentheses (brackets), e.g. (Hall, 2011)
  2. Giving full details of each item in an alphabetical reference list at the end of your assignment

The main reasons for referencing are:

  • To demonstrate to the reader that you have engaged with a wide range of up-to-date sources and opinions
  • To allow the reader to find and check the sources you have used
  • To enable the reader to check the accuracy of the information you have given
  • Good referencing will help in avoiding accusations of plagiarism

What should you reference?

The level of referencing will depend on the nature of the piece of work you are writing: a coursework essay for a first-year module will probably require less than a third-year dissertation, for example. There’s no maximum level of referencing, but in general, the work that is awarded the best grades often has more well chosen sources than work that is deemed to be at a lower level.

Repeated paragraphs without a reference will not suggest that a submission is adequately underpinned by supporting literature. One citation per paragraph is often recommended as a guide for undergraduate essays although the work that gets the highest grades, especially in years two and three, will often have more. If you have any worries about the number of references required, seek advice from your module tutor.

As a general minimum, you should include a reference when:

  1. You quote or paraphrase from a primary source or secondary work;
  2. You make use of a statistic;
  3. You paraphrase or otherwise refer to the ideas or writings of a named or identifiable author.

For most modules you will not be required to give references for facts that are generally well known (common knowledge). Where facts are contested, and you are taking sides in an argument, you must then indicate the source of your own ideas, and if appropriate acknowledge the opposing camp(s) with references as well.

How will referencing impact your grades?

Those reading your essays or reports will want to know that you have read widely, and considered and analysed the work of others. Use of the right type and amount of sources along with good presentation will help you achieve a better grade. The difference can sometimes be that of a grade boundary or between five and ten percent of the total. The table below includes extracts from the Marjon generic grade descriptors that relate most to the use of supporting literature.

Grade Boundary Selected Descriptors
80–89% Exceptional work Demonstrates thorough, critical understanding of current knowledge
70–79% Excellent work Shows evidence of extensive, relevant reading which includes up-to-date research
60–69% Very good work Shows effective and competent use of literature. Demonstrates a wide reading base
50–59% Good work Makes good use of relevant literature
40–49% Fair work Shows evidence of relevant reading
35-39% Weak work Demonstrates some evidence of reading. Weaknesses in organisation and presentation