Research and Referencing


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Research and Referencing

Research helps to gain new knowledge by evaluating other experts’ opinion and findings. It also acts as an instrument for understanding and addressing political, economic, and social issues. In this regard, research should be conducted properly to avoid the actual result deviating from recorded facts. It should also follow set standards, including but not limited proper referencing to avoid plagiarism. This paper examines the methods of researching information, copyright, plagiarism, and referencing.

Information Research Methods

Research is designed to collect accurate information and explain events or concepts that the author or audience does not understand. In this regard, accuracy of the information gathered from primary or secondary sources is critical to the research. According to Taylor, Bogdan, and DeVault (2015), the data collected when conducting research depend on the “question the researcher wants to answer” (p.45). As such, the researcher should first choose the topic. For example, the research topic might aim at solving a particular healthcare issue. When choosing the topic, the researcher ensures that it has variables, which guide the data or information collected. In most cases, researchers look for information in secondary and primary sources. These include textbooks, internet search engine, newspaper, professional journals, and radio programme.


The use of textbook is effective during the information gathering because of various reasons. First thing, books contain authoritative information. Creswell (2014) asserts that books contain a wide variety of information such as historical data, “experts’ arguments on different topics,” and account of research (p.56). Therefore, books provide background information related to the research topic and contain in-depth facts required to answer the research question. Taylor, Bogdan, and DeVault (2015) also allude that textbooks contain up-to-date information on a given area of research concern (p.45). As a result, students can locate particular information from libraries or on the Internet based on the year of publication. This is essential when the learner wants to compare and contrast such trend as disease prevalence among children aged five years. However, it takes a long time for the book to be published; hence, it might be difficult to gather adequate information on the current topic and meet the deadline.

Search Engines

Free search engine is a powerful tool used to find the information required to answer the research topic. Creswell (2014) asserts that it is important for the researcher to “get best matches from the internet” and save his time and effort (p.61). Search engine is efficient because the researcher can weed out accurate information, which is possible if the researcher used precise phrases to get accurate information. Some of the search engines are Google, Yahoo, Infoseek, and HotBot.


Professional journals are also used to conduct researches. Journals are useful, since they undergo peer review process. In other words, academics and other experts check the content of the articles periodically to validate the information. Taylor, Bogdan, and DeVault (2015) affirm that the information contained in journals is reliable since it has been read and validated by other professionals in the same field (p.31). In addition, professional journals contain a list of references directing the researcher or reader to other relevant research, which is critical in providing further evidence supporting information contained in the source. However, journals can be lengthy, hence making it difficult to read and understand.


In most cases, researchers rely on newspapers when discussing current issues in healthcare and other areas of interest. For example, the researcher might want to gather information on what the experts say about cardiovascular safety after using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, the validity and reliability of the information should be based on whether the company or newspaper is registered, recognized, and accredited by the communication commission (Taylor, Bogdan, and DeVault 2015, p.45). Some of the newspapers reliable for information include the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and Daily Mirror among others. Although it might be tricky to find particular information in the newspaper, it is important to use short phrases and customizing the years when searching for the data. Another challenge is that the opinions posted in the newspaper are opinions, which might not have scientific support. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the researcher to check the authenticity of the information.


Copyright refers to the reward placed to protect a creativity or an idea by preventing reproduction of a particular work (Pandey and Misra 2014, p.8-10). The copyright laws have the feature of imposing a penalty in case of infringement. That is, no person is allowed to reproduce or distribute the information of the creator without permission. In fact, the copyright laws in the U.S. impose a fine of between $200 and $150,000 for each work infringed (Pandey and Misra 2014, p.10). Copyright laws also protect the original work from resale without owner’s approval. In other words, the laws protect the creator from exploitation, since no person can reproduce the work for financial gains apart from him/her. That is why it is important if the author remains with the draft.


Plagiarism refers to the copying of another person’s work without his/her acknowledgment (Pandey and Misra 2014). As a result, the user fails to attribute the source assuming that the work is his/hers. Pandey and Misra (2014) assert that one of the issues on plagiarism and copyright of electronic materials is the way the Internet makes it possible for unauthorized people to access and download the sources without being noticed (p.8). However, the information accessibility on the internet is subject to copyright provisions and laws just like books. Therefore, it has been an issue on how to control access and use of the materials on the web.

The second issue is that some people reproduce electronic materials by copying and pasting the content (plagiarism) (Pandey and Misra 2014). Additionally, some readers download the information from the database by following the terms of the contract, but fail to comply with them once they have the content. For example, students sometimes fail to observe copyright laws protecting the information and use it to earn academic grades. In other words, it is difficult to monitor the activities of the end-users of the information.


Referencing means that the author includes detailed information about the sources he/she consulted during the study both at the end of the work and within the text (CQ University Australia 2017). Referencing is important in the research, since it helps the reader to find the source of the original work. That is, if the reader wishes to visit the source of information for further clarification, he/she can do so. According to CQ University Australia (2017), referencing adds the authenticity to the argument. In other words, the reader gains confidence that the argument presented by the researcher is accurate and reliable, since it is well researched and in-text citation is provided. In the long-run, referencing improves the writing skills because the researcher understands different conventional methods of writing.

The conventional types of referencing include documentary note and parenthetical style. CQ University Australia (2017) asserts that in a documentary type, the references are given in endnotes or footnotes. The digits are given in values which occur at the bottom of every page of the entire text or the end of the text. In most cases, the digits appear after the full stop of every sentence. In the parenthetical type, the author and the date appear in the in-text before the full stop or any sentence beginning.  Some of the styles include APA, Harvard, and MLA.  An example of APA referencing is “Kenny and Osborne (2015) found that social anxiety causes phobia in some people”.


Data collection strategy depends on the question a researcher wants to answer and duration given. Books provide background information related to the research topic and contain in-depth facts required to answer the research question. Search engine is another platform through which a researcher can gather information. It is efficient because the researcher can weed out accurate information such as current statistics or evidence about the topic. On the other hand, journals are reliable since the academics and other experts check the content of the articles periodically to validate the information. The copyright laws have the feature of imposing a penalty in case of infringement. In addition, the laws prevent reproduction of electronic materials by copying the content. Referencing is also important in the research since it helps in appreciating the original resource.



CQ University Australia, 2017.Why is referencing important? [Online] Available at

Creswell, J.W., 2014. A concise introduction to mixed methods research. Oxford: Sage Publications.

Pandey, P. and Misra, R., 2014. Digitization of library materials in academic libraries: Issues and challenges. Journal of Industrial and Intelligent Information2(2), pp.1-20

Taylor, S.J., Bogdan, R. and DeVault, M., 2015. Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

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