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When and how to acknowledge sources

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When you quote, paraphrase, summarise or copy information from the sources you are using to research your work, you must always acknowledge the source.

There are two places where you need to acknowledge the source: in the text, and at the end of the text.

The place where you use the information in the text of your work should be shown with an 'in-text citation'. At the end of your work, you should provide a reference list of all the works that you have 'cited' in your work.

Your teachers will expect you to use an in-text citation and provide a full reference list of the sources used whenever you:

You must acknowledge the original author and where you found the material within the resource. This can be done using an in-text citation, a footnote or an endnote. As there are a variety of referencing styles, you should follow your teachers' advice on which to use.

Short quotations

If you quote an author directly and the quotation is a short quotation (as a guide, less than three or four lines), you should place the quotation in quotation marks and identify the source.

Long quotations

If you quote an author directly and the quotation is a long quotation (as a guide, more than three or four lines), you should set the quotation off from your text by indenting and identify the source.

In the Harvard (or author-date) system, the source can be identified by providing the author's or organisation's name, the year of publication and the page number in brackets. For example, 'The stable world of the nineteenth century was coming down in chaos: security was gone.' (Bean, 1983, p.22)

When you are using another person's idea but not quoting directly, you must acknowledge the source. In the Harvard system, the source can be identified by placing the author's or authority's name and the year of publication in brackets before or after referring to it.

Footnotes and endnotes are also ways of acknowledging the sources of any material quoted, summarised or paraphrased on any page of a submitted work. Footnotes and endnotes are intended to refer readers to exact pages of the works listed in the reference list.

Insert a number (either in brackets or slightly above the line) in your text at the end of the sentence or immediately following a direct quotation or idea that is being used from a source. For footnotes, the information about the source of each numbered reference is given at the bottom of each page of your text. With endnotes this information is given in a list at the end of your work.

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The purpose of this guide is to provide advice on how to develop and organize a research paper in the social sciences.


The limitations of the study are those characteristics of design or methodology that impacted or influenced the interpretation of the findings from your research. They are the constraints on generalizability, applications to practice, and/or utility of findings that are the result of the ways in which you initially chose to design the study and/or the method used to establish internal and external validity.

Price, James H. and Judy Murnan. “Research Limitations and the Necessity of Reporting Them.” 35 (2004): 66-67.

It is far better that you identify and acknowledge your study’s limitations than to have them pointed out by your professor and be graded down because you appear to have ignored them.

If you do connect your study's limitations to suggestions for further research, be sure to explain the ways in which these unanswered questions may become more focused because of your study.

Acknowledgement of a study's limitations also provides you with an opportunity to demonstrate that you have thought critically about the research problem, understood the relevant literature published about it, and correctly assessed the methods chosen for studying the problem. A key objective of the research process is not only discovering new knowledge but to also confront assumptions and explore what we don't know.

Claiming limitations is a subjective process because you must evaluate the impact of those limitations . Don't just list key weaknesses and the magnitude of a study's limitations. To do so diminishes the validity of your research because it leaves the reader wondering whether, or in what ways, limitation(s) in your study may have impacted the results and conclusions. Limitations require a critical, overall appraisal and interpretation of their impact. You should answer the question: do these problems with errors, methods, validity, etc. eventually matter and, if so, to what extent?

Price, James H. and Judy Murnan. “Research Limitations and the Necessity of Reporting Them.” 35 (2004): 66-67; Derek Lam MidRise Pants Free Shipping Top Quality DHb1Ms5070
. Dissertations and Theses: An Online Textbook. Laerd.com.

All studies have limitations . However, it is important that you restrict your discussion to limitations related to the research problem under investigation. For example, if a meta-analysis of existing literature is not a stated purpose of your research, it should not be discussed as a limitation. Do not apologize for not addressing issues that you did not promise to investigate in the introduction of your paper.

Here are examples of limitations related to methodology and the research process you may need to describe and discuss how they possibly impacted your results. Note that descriptions of limitations should be stated in the past tense because they were discovered after you completed your research.

Possible Methodological Limitations

Possible Limitations of the Researcher

Aguinis, Hermam and Jeffrey R. Edwards. “Methodological Wishes for the Next Decade and How to Make Wishes Come True.” Outlet Sast For Sale Cheap Real Joseph SemiStructured Lightweight Jacket BpVkOjeYA5
51 (January 2014): 143-174;
Brutus, Stéphane et al. "Self-Reported Limitations and Future Directions in Scholarly Reports: Analysis and Recommendations." 39 (January 2013): 48-75; Senunyeme, Emmanuel K. Business Research Methods . Powerpoint Presentation. Regent University of Science and Technology; ter Riet, Gerben et al. “All That Glitters Isn't Gold: A Survey on Acknowledgment of Limitations in Biomedical Studies.” PLOS One 8 (November 2013): 1-6.

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