If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

In reference to

  • 30-03-2003 10:26pm
    Registered Users Posts: 14,330 ✭✭✭✭

    (Hope this is the correct forum for this)

    I'm currently writing an assignment for college but was having a little trouble with referencing things. I'm not sure how exactly to reference information i.e. what format should it take? How do I phrase it correctly?

    How do I know when it’s alright to use information without finding a reference for it i.e. when does information become common knowledge and not the “property” of the person who originally compiled or made public the information.

    If I’m including my own ideas/opinions how do I ensure that I am not unknowingly plagiarising another person’s work?

    I was also wondering how do I do out an appendix?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated



  • Registered Users Posts: 3,712 ✭✭✭Praetorian

    Sorry for the slow post! I couldn't find an answer, so I asked one of my best friends Brian for his opinion.
    Regarding references, a few points.

    In college, it is generally best to be able to back up most things that you say with references. The issue is not really whether information is the property of someone else; copyright law protects the expression of ideas, not the ideas themselves. What is important is that the college lecturer knows that you have done your homework and are not spoofing (By the way it is nice to come across someone with a conscience about plagiarism!)

    It is difficult, without knowing the details, to be any more specific than that. However, facts, for example, when the 1st war broke out, the molecular structure of an atom etc. are common knowledge and do not need to be referenced. More obscure information, for example, biographical details about a general in a war, would not be. If in doubt reference it. Your own ideas/opinions are, of course, important, but it is also important in university that you show that they have a basis in research, hence the references. It is a fact of life that most of our ideas are based on what we have read or heard, but in many cases we are not aware of the source and, therefore, cannot attribute it. All you can do is your best in this respect.

    It is sufficient to have something like 'Boards 1992, p.34-5'.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,330 ✭✭✭✭Amz

    Thanks poppit! That's fantastic!

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,714 ✭✭✭✭Earthhorse

    Maybe this is a little late to help you but what the hey…

    Your college department or lecturer should really explicitly inform you of their preferred referencing style. If they haven’t you should ask or else find an article published by an academic from the department and copy that style. If these options are either too intimidating or difficult then the Harvard style of referencing won’t steer you too far wrong (I hope!). I can’t remember exactly what this is now but I’m sure a quick Google would produce results.

    As for an Appendix I suppose it depends how much information you’re putting in it and the type of information. It should follow a pretty simple, logical format and be consistent across Appendices.

    For instance:

    Appendix A: Heading





    And so forth. Hope this helps.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,330 ✭✭✭✭Amz


    Thanks for that! I've finished that particular assignment already but your advice will definitely come in handy next year!