Sample Essay

The following winning essay was submitted in 2009 by a UK higher education
student for an essay writing competition sponsored by the LearnHigher
Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) network. The set title
was 'What is the point of referencing?', and there was a maximum word limit
of 1,500 words.

There is a tutor commentary on the points made by the student to the left
of the essay.

| |What is the point of referencing? |
| |The reasons why accurate referencing is essential |
|The |for academic work are not immediately apparent, |
|introduction to|particularly for students new to higher education. |
|an essay is |This essay will, therefore, examine why referencing|
|very important.|is an essential part of academic writing and in the|
|Here the |process address the question: 'what is the point of|
|student |referencing?' |
|immediately | |
|addresses the | |
|question. | |
| |There are three main reasons for referencing. |
|The student |Firstly, referencing helps student writers to |
|introduces the |construct, structure, support and communicate |
|main reasons |arguments. Secondly, references link the writer's |
|for |work to the existing body of knowledge. Thirdly, |
|referencing. |only through referencing can academic work gain |
| |credibility. |
|Summarises the |This essay will discuss these three aspects of |
|structure of |referencing in detail, examine their validity, |
|the essay. |identify how referencing affects a writer's writing|
| |style, and show how referencing helps students to |
| |present their own ideas and opinions in |
| |assignments. |
|Engages with |Becker (1986) believes the construction of |
|the first of |arguments is the most important function of |
|the reasons for|referencing systems. There are four dimensions to |
|referencing: |this. Firstly, drawing on existing literature, |
|construction of|academic writers can construct their own arguments |
|arguments. The |- and adopting a referencing system supports this |
|student draws |process. Secondly, it helps to structure the |
|on the work of |existing information and arguments by linking |
|a published |published authors to their respective works. Third,|
|writer (Becker)|referencing helps academic writers identify |
|in support of |sources, gather evidence, as well as show the |
|the four points|relationships between existing knowledge. Finally, |
|made. |referencing also provide a framework to enable |
| |writers to structure their arguments effectively by|
|Note the |assessing, comparing, contrasting or evaluating |
|systematic way |different sources. |
|the ideas are | |
|presented: | |
|'Firstly...; | |
|Secondly...; | |
|Thirdly...; | |
|Finally'. | |
| | |
| | |
|The writing is | |
|descriptive at | |
|this point in | |
|the essay. | |
|The word |However, merely describing existing research, |
|'However', |rather than producing their own contributions to |
|signals a |the discussion, is inadequate for most academic |
|change of |writers. It is important for every academic writer |
|direction: the |to avoid this narrow-minded argumentation trap; |
|writing becomes|academic writing is not just about compiling |
|more |existing arguments, but adding new perspectives, |
|analytical. It |finding new arguments, or new ways of combining |
|goes beyond the|existing knowledge. |
|four points |For example, Barrow and Mosley (2005) combined the |
|described in |fields Human Resources and Brand Management to |
|the previous |develop the 'Employer Brand' concept. |
|paragraph to | |
|make a new | |
|contribution to| |
|the discussion.| |
| | |
| | |
|The student | |
|illustrates the| |
|point made with| |
|a practical | |
|example (Barrow| |
|& Mosley). | |
|Develops the |When the argument has been constructed, it needs |
|point s made in|academic support - and only references can provide |
|the previous |this required support. We all know that academic |
|paragraph, and |works are not about stating opinions - as that |
|focuses on the |would be akin to journalistic comment - but |
|importance of |arguments are supported by evidence, and only |
|supporting |arguments presented with sufficient and valid |
|arguments in |support are credible. Hence arguments are only as |
|assignments |strong as the underlying evidence: arguments |
|with valid |relying on questionable sources are - well, |
|evidence. |questionable. |
| | |
|The word | |
|'Hence' is a | |
|word that can | |
|be used to | |
|present a | |
|particular | |
|point of view. | |
|The student is |Referencing also enables writers to communicate |
|still |their arguments efficiently. The referencing |
|developing the |framework allows them to produce a holistic work |
|issue about |with different perspectives, whilst still |
|construction of|emphasising their own positions; quotations, for |
|arguments, but |example, help the reader to differentiate the |
|moves on to an |writer's opinions from others. Again, if arguments |
|important point|are