Top positive review
47 people found this helpful
Essential guide for students, teachers, researchers and librarians
on 29 March 2009
An outstandingly comprehensive and useful guide which I would recommend to everyone doing original research for writing an essay, dissertation, research paper or book, including all students at secondary and higher education levels, their teachers and/or supervisors, authors, librarians and other non-academic researchers.
Despite the level of very necessary detail covered, this guide is very easy to use, in part thanks to clear sub-sections and contrasting typography, the inclusion of many practical examples of references, a helpful glossary and a comprehensive index which, hitherto, I have always found to be effective.
Coverage of the necessary material divides is split into five logically separate sections.
Section A introduces referencing, what it is and why it needs to be done. There are helpful comments on how to avoid plagiarism, the significance of both common knowledge and confidential information for the referencing process and the question of which referencing style to use.
Section B summarises the most important methods of displaying citations and quotations within a body of text. Section C does the same for displaying references in a reference list and/or bibliography. Both sections use copious examples to demonstrate theoretical points raised. The most common sources are dealt with, namely books, individual book chapters, journal articles (printed and electronic), newspaper articles and internet web sites.
Section D includes individual sections on every conceivable source type that might be encountered and how referencing is done for each source type, again with practical examples. For this section, the Harvard (author-date) style is followed. To name but some source types included, conference papers, theses, Virtual Learning Environment content pages, British Standards, patents, mathematical equations, cartoons, maps, radio and TV programmes, musical scores, podcasts, genealogical sources and, increasingly, internet and online source material are all included. I hope this list in part demonstrates the thoroughness of this book's coverage in detail. The increasing need for reference to electronic sources necessitates purchase of this latest edition rather than the earlier two editions.
Section E covers the essentials of alternative styles to the Harvard referencing style, namely the Oxford Standard for Citation of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the Modern Humanities Research Association (MHRA).
My one criticism is that there is little emphasis given as to when referencing should be carried out during the research and writing process, apart from some very brief indications on page 12 under 'How to avoid plagiarism'. Referencing needs to be done for each source at the time of use rather than as a comprehensive exercise done after all research has been completed, as I have found out from encounters with college students completing their written assignments and being unable to re-locate materials previously used so that they can recheck referencing details. This criticism does not detract significantly from my overall assessment.
Lastly, this book retails at a very reasonable price. Definitely, excellent value for money!