Writing academic essays can be daunting. And we can all agree that the most annoying, tedious and labour-intensive part of the process is referencing. Not many are aware of Word’s great referencing tool that can help students save time and grades (in that they can help you avoid problems with plagiarism).
The pain of referencing
Especially for international students who are not used to the UK system, plagiarism can be a complicated concept to come to grips with.
The ‘wrongful appropriation’ of another author’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions and the representation of them as one’s own original work can be punished with suspensions leading to failing results. Cheating at UK’s top universities has soared by 40%, and I believe that many of these instances are unintentional and because students don’t understand how referencing works.
As a student you need to remember where you got each source of inspiration and make sure you reference it to the right author.
There are many different standards of referencing: Harvard Referencing, Vancouver referencing, Oxford Style and many more. According to what type of information you are using, each referencing style requires you to provide different sources in the bibliography.
It wouldn’t surprise me if someone had written a whole book about referencing (please comment below if you know of one, it would be hilarious).
Use Word’s Citation & Bibliography features
What not many students know is that Word offers a great tool to reference your sources. You can find it under References > Citations & Bibliography.
You then need to select the type of referencing you want to adopt for your work. Some of the most common ones include ‘Oxford Referencing’ and ‘Harvard Referencing’. You can edit your style by clicking in Style and choosing from the drop-down menu.
One of the most common styles in academic writing is Harvard:
Once you’ve selected the type of referencing, you need to click on Insert Citation > Add a New Source, and repeat for all text in which you use another author’s ‘language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions’.
Here, a dialogue box will open showing you the exact source of information you’ll need to insert for your reference. For example, if I want to reference a report, and I select Harvard style, Word will automatically prompt me with the type of information I need to add to avoid plagiarism!
You might want to reference a journal article:
Or a book:
The reference will then be published automatically in the text, in the form of author and year, (e.g. PwC, 2006). Make sure you select corporate author if you want the whole author (e.g. Microsoft Ventures instead of just Microsoft) to be published in the text.
Publish the bibliography
When you finish your essay, text or report, you’ll have to insert all the references in a list at the end of the work. Word will do this automatically for you and put them in alphabetical order.
Go into References > Citations & Bibliography> Bibliography and select the type you prefer:
Keep your references forever
One of the most valuable aspects of doing a Masters degree is getting exposed to various authors, scholars and thought leaders in your chosen subject. Being able to export the references you’ve used and keep them all in one place is very valuable.
To manage and store your references go to References > Citations & Bibliography > Manage Sources. This dialogue box should open:
By clicking on Browse, you can access all the sources you’ve used in your school, university or work account and export them as an XML file wherever you want:
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