When a student writes a dissertation or any academic work for that matter what he does is build thoughts and ideas that are based on the research results of other writers and researchers. The content that is in an essay is never entirely that of the writer. It belongs to others and this is why it is essential to acknowledge the debt of sources. Every single detail about the source has to be shared in the paper in the bibliography or as in-text citations or as footnotes depending on the referencing style that is required by the university. When the paper is well referenced it allows the reader to differentiate between the findings and ideas of the student from that of the original source that he has used. It also helps the reader to find the source and look it up for more information about the topic. Referencing should be done every time a point is made from a different source. The data and information that is used from a source has to be adequately referenced as many time as the source is used. This should preferably be at the end of the sentence. A paragraph should not end with a reference as it should have an explanation or an interpretation of the data that has been used by the student. The introduction and the conclusion are the two places where referencing is not used as it is meant to be drawn from the students own mind. They are mean to be written by the student without taking any material from external sources.
Referencing gives the original source credit. It acknowledges the contribution of the particular scholar. It is the ethical thing to do when you respect the intellectual property rights of the writer. As a student you can use as many sources as you need as long as you cite them as sources. By citing experts in the field you are showing the faculty and the readers that you are aware of the field in which you are operating. There are certain occasions where you will not have to include citations or references. There is no need to add references in the introduction and conclusion. References are not needed when writing about your own observations. A reflective journal that is about your experience will obviously not need a reference because it is about your own experience and not taken from any other source. At the same time it is important to not use another persons reflective journal and pass it off as your own. That will amount to plagiarism and is also unethical. Referencing is not necessary when offering your own analysis. Presentation of common knowledge or folklore also will not need referencing. Generally accepted facts and information also do not need to be referenced. But it is always advisable to ask your tutor about the facts that do not need referencing.
Referencing is also important because the lack of it can have an adverse impact that could reverberate throughout a students academic career. Plagiarism can have consequences that are personal, professional, ethical and legal. There are many plagiarism detectors that are available for free and can easily detect plagiarism. So there is no way a student can escape by using sources without giving them due recognition. A plagiarised paper can destroy the reputation of a student. Their academic record will reflect the ethical offence. Educational establishments take plagiarism very seriously and have committees that investigate into the issue and even suspend or expel students who commit the offence. Professionals who commit the offence are also not spared. For instance those in the media who plagiarise the work of another professional will find that their professional credibility is lost. Copyright laws are very strict about the protection of intellectual property. People who write for a living can often file lawsuits against those who plagiarise their work and if proved true, it can even lead to a prison sentence. There have been news reports about plagiarism in journalism, fiction and even among researchers. Monetary penalties can also arise from indulging in plagiarism. When research is plagiarised it can even have an adverse impact on human lives. For instance is a medical work is plagiarised out of context it can cause loss of lives as well.