All writers must credit ideas and information taken from someone else’s work. This simply means that you must acknowledge your source of information. If you do not state where the ideas and information have come from, you are plagiarising (copying). This would be a very serious accusation and you should become familiar with your department’s preferred referencing system as soon as you start your course of study.
In academic writing you are expected to read around your subject to make sure you understand it fully. Thus, your references in your writing show your tutor that you have done this.
You need to find evidence from appropriate reading to support your own writing. Thus, again, your references in your writing show your tutor you have done this.
There are several bibliographic styles and it is important that you use the correct style for your discipline or subject. Some examples are: Harvard, Vancouver, Chicago and MLA. Your student or module handbook for your degree course will show you which to use and exactly how you should cite and reference works from your reading within your own academic work.
Using the referencing system correctly is important in the bibliography at the end of your essay, in direct quotations within the essay, in paraphrasing and summarising, and in using visuals, which may or may not be adapted by you, within the essay.