If I write something in my own words, do I need to provide an in-text reference?
Yes, we reference ideas, not just the words used to express them, so you need to show where the original idea came from. Most sentences without a reference are considered to contain your own ideas, so you must make it clear whether your sentences contain ideas that are your own or someone else's.
When can I own an idea, and so do not have to provide a reference for it?
Your own ideas are expressed in what YOU write about what you have read. For example, is your reading the same or different from other sources? So you can talk about similarities and differences. Is it supportive of your topic or not? - This is what YOU write.
There are lots of different styles you can use, depending on which discipline you are in. Some of the well-known referencing styles are: APA (American Psychological Association); Harvard; Chicago; Oxford; MLA (Modern Language Association); AGLC (Australian Guide to Legal Citation).
Check your Subject Learning Guide for information on which referencing style is used for your discipline (You may need one style for one unit and a different style for another).
Always check with your tutor or lecturer if you are unsure.
An in-text reference should follow the referenced piece of information immediately.Alternataively, if you use the author's name in your sentence the reference should follow the name of the author immediately. For example:
The key facts on illusory phenomena can be described as... (Day, 2006).
Day (2006) described the key facts on illusory phenomena as...
For styles which use footnotes, the footnote should be placed either at the bottom of the page or at the end of the text, with a superscript number in the text for Chicago and Oxford styles.
In the footnote, the author's initial comes first (P.Mansell), but in the reference list the family names comes first (Mansell, P.).