Tag Archives: in-text citation

Referencing and Plagiarism

Whether you like it or not referencing is an essential academic skill that you not only need to learn, but to master. Poor referencing and plagiarism are a sure way of losing valuable marks.


By now you should be aware of what referencing is, why it is important, how to reference; and that Boston Media House makes use of the Harvard Referencing System.

The purpose of this post is not to teach you how to reference correctly, you have already been taught that in your Academic Literacy 1 class, but rather to highlight where students go wrong when referencing and to provide you with tips on how to make referencing a little easier.

Where Did I Go Wrong?

a) Not referencing in-text 

This refers to when you quote, summarise, paraphrase or re-word another persons idea/s within your assignment.

When citing in-text, you need to provide the:

1) author or editor’s surname/s,

2) year of publication, and

3) page number/s of where you have drawn the information from.

For Example:

Smith (2012, p. 88) states that ".....quotation.....".


When looking at the first generation,"..........quotation........." (Smith, 2012, p. 88).

The only time you need not include the page number/s is when you paraphrase or summarise an entire piece of work.

For Example:

Smith (2012) asserts that change through the generations is continuous and inevitable.

By not acknowledging the original source or author of an idea which you have included in your assignment you are committing plagiarism; an offense Boston Media House takes extremely seriously:

“…Any student who is found to have plagiarised will be penalised and may in addition face disciplinary action, which may include receiving 0% for the assessment, a warning letter and/or a disciplinary hearing, which could result in their expulsion from the Institution. (Boston Media House, 2017, p. 27)

Do not assume that your lecturer will not notice if you fail to reference an idea or quote within your assignment, because chances are someone else in your class has used the exact same idea or quote and you will be caught out and you will be penalised for plagiarising.

b) Not checking that ALL in-text references are linked to a corresponding reference in your reference list (and vice versa)

For EVERY in-text reference you have made within your assignment there MUST be a corresponding reference in your reference list.

For Example:

In-text reference –

Smith (2012, p. 88) states that ".....quotation.....".

Corresponding reference in your reference list –

Smith, W. (2012). The Generation Gap: Are we really so different?, London: Routledge.

When grading you on the technical aspects of your assignment if a lecturer picks up that you have included references in your reference list that are not cited in your assignment OR you’ve cited references in your assignment but have provided no reference in your reference list, you will be penalised.

If you do not know what is being referred to by the “technical aspects” of an assignment, please go read: Understanding an Assessment Brief.

c) Not realising that you have plagiarised


  • directly quote
  • summarise
  • paraphrase
  • re-word
  • refer to
  • copy

another person’s work / ideas / thoughts / creations / writing / inventions / theory / compositions / opinions / pictures / designs / artwork etc. you MUST acknowledge them as the original source.

When in doubt, ask yourself: “Is this 100% my own, original thought / idea / composition?” If there is any doubt that it is not 100% yours: go back, find the source of your inspiration / idea / thought and reference them.

Unfortunately for you “I didn’t know I was plagiarising” is not an accepted excuse at Boston Media House and you will end up being penalised.


Tips for Referencing 

  • When researching your assignment, highlight any direct quotes or ideas you plan on using in your assignment – this will assist you when the time comes to start drafting your response, as well as your reference list. 
  • Get into the habit of writing down the referencing information and page number/s of the source immediately, whilst you are using it. If you wait to sift through all your readings or sources once you’ve completed your assignment you a) may not be able to remember which source it was you used and, b) you may not be able to go back and check on the details.
  • Don’t rush when creating your reference list. Give yourself enough time to ensure that you are following the correct Harvard Referencing format; and that for every in-text reference you have a corresponding reference in your reference list.


Boston Media House. (2017).  Student Rulebook, 2017.  Johannesburg, South Africa.

Palgrave Study Skills. (2015). Referencing and Avoiding Plagiarism. Retrieved from: http://www.palgrave.com/studentstudyskills/page/referencing-and-avoiding-plagiarism/. [Accessed: 21 August 2015].

University of Leicester: Student Learning Development. (2015). Ten Tips for Good Referencing. Retrieved from: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/ld/resources/writing/harvard/content/2.23-ten-tips-for-good-referencing. [Accessed: 21 August 2015].



Getting It Right, the First Time!

It’s that time of the semester where you may find yourself sitting at your desk, doing an assessment for the second time because you didn’t pass it the first time. Nothing is more frustrating especially when you have other assessments to work on, and you feel like you have taken a step back instead of a step forward. There is nothing worse than looking back at your first assessment and seeing silly mistakes that resulted in unnecessary marks being deducted.


Here are Claire Jackson-Barnardo’s (BMH, Sandton PR lecturer) Top Tips on how to get your assessment right, the first time!

  • First impressions count – Ensure your cover page has the subject and lecturer’s name spelt correctly. Imagine you have submitted work to a client and you have misspelt their or the company’s name…
  • Understand the assessment brief – Read through the assessment brief thoroughly before you start the assessment. Make sure you understand exactly what is being asked for. (See also: Understanding Assessment Briefs)
  • Topic and textbooks are key – Make sure you understand and have read the textbook chapters that covers the section your assessment is based on. Use a highlighter and mark the key points in your textbook that you may want to include in your assessment. Keep referring back to the assessment topic to ensure that you have covered everything.
  • Number your answers correctly – Ensure that all your answers are numbered correctly as per the assessment brief. Also, make sure that you answer the questions in the order they have been given in the assessment brief, and double-check that you are answering the question that has been asked. Don’t waste time by including unnecessary or irrelevant information in an attempt to “pad” your answer.
  • “Copy and Paste” is not okay – You aren’t studying for a BBA / Diploma in “cut and paste”, you are at BMH to learn about media. Assessments are there to show that you understand the content and concepts. In the world of work we are interested in what YOU know, not what your textbook or Google says. Cutting and pasting large sections from other sources doesn’t demonstrate any skill or understanding.
  • We don’t steal the work of others – If you are going to draw from or refer to a source / idea that is not your own, make sure you reference it properly. Both in-text citations and a reference list are required at the end of assessments. Educators are trained to detect plagiarism and, believe it or not, we are actually interested in what you have to say. (See also: Referencing and Plagiarism).
  • Word – Is a computer programme designed to help you write properly, so use it. It will tell you if your sentences are too long or if you have spelt something wrong – just remember to change the spell-check option to UK English.
  • Loud and proud – Read your assessment out loud to yourself, a friend, or family member before printing the final version. When you read something out aloud you find all sorts of mistakes in terms of spelling, grammar and flow.
  • Lastminute.com – If you leave an assessment to the last minute, you are not going to pass. Give yourself enough time to complete your assessments properly. (See also: Assessment Due Dates).
  • Ask for help – As an educator, I like nothing better than marking a good assessment. Nothing is more frustrating than marking an assessment where you can see the student did not understand the assessment brief. BMH educators are available to help, each educator has dedicated “consultation times”. Bring your notes, rough drafts, questions and meet with your educator. Those 5 or even 20 minutes of consulting with your educator may be exactly what you need to ensure that you pass…and pass well! (See also: Student-Lecturer Meetings).

Good luck and remember:

You aren’t at BMH to become an accountant! We are in an amazing industry and your assessments are aimed at helping you become a professional member of the South African media industry!