Friday, 30 December 2011



Referencing or citation refers to:

  • words taken from a passage, a book, an author, etc; to quote something or somebody” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 1999: 201);
  • “a line taken from a book, speech, etc.” ( Longman, 2003: 266)
  • the inclusion of detailed information about the source of quotes, ideas, or illustrations you insert in your term paper

In academic writing, it is necessary for a writer to refer to other people’s work (i.e. which appears in books, an article in journals, magazines etc.) to support their argument. By doing so, the writer hopes that his/her argument will become stronger. Whenever other people’s works are being referred, writers need to acknowledge the source. The following sub-sections will discuss the purpose of and the method of referencing.


An argumentative essay tries to change the reader’s mind by convincing the reader to agree with the writer’s point of view.

An argumentative essay attempts to be highly persuasive and logical. It usually assumes that the reader disagrees with the writer, but it should be noted that the reader is no less intelligent than the writer. Hence an argumentative essay should be written objectively, logically and respectfully.

When planning an argumentative essay, be aware that the essay should contain the following characteristics:
The argumentative essay introduces and explains the issue or case. The reader needs to know what the issue is going to be.


Opinion essay is written to impart the author’s viewpoint on a particular topic verified by reasons and examples. Sometimes, the opposing viewpoint is also suggested. It requires the author’s unbiased opinion on a particular problem and his/her capability to back his points up so that the readers can easily be convinced with his/her position.

Topic of opinion essay usually revolves around debatable issues. It cannot be facts but opinions. For example:



What is a Problem-Solution Essay?
To answer this question, read the following essay and answer the questions below.

(a) Which part of the text outlines the problem?
(b) Which part proposes solutions?
(c) Which part justifies the solutions and actions?
(d) Underline all the linking words/phrases in the text.

Drugs abuse in Malaysia has reached an alarming rate. According to PEMADAM, the number of drug addicts has increased to 50,000.

Solution: Drug education, rehabilitation and drug policy

Definition: A serious problem which needs a convincing solution (that it will work).



What Is a Cause and Effect Essay?
Cause and effect essay is a common technique of arranging and discussing ideas. In this pattern of essay, a writer normally discusses the reason (cause) or reasons (causes) for something to happen, and later discusses the result (effect) or results (effects) of it.

For example:
Title: Traffic accidents in Malaysia
In determining the cause, we need to ask, “Why did the accident happen?”. In determining the effect, we need to ask, “What happened because of this accident?”.


Title: Compare and contrast Malaysia and Singapore Malaysia and Singapore are two neighboring countries which belong to the same geographical grouping, that is, ASEAN. ASEAN is the abbreviation for Association of South East Nations. Although these two countries share several similarities, they are also different in many aspects. A comparison between the two countries based on language, geography and political system make these similarities and differences evident.
            From a geographical perspective, both the countries are neighbors and located in South East Asia. Both share a tropical climate. However, they differ greatly in terms of physical geography. Malaysia covers a large land mass area of approximately 330,000 square kilometers. In addition, a sizeable proportion of the country consists of mountain ranges. The highest peak in Malaysia is at Mount Kinabalu, which is approximately 4,100 meters above sea level. In comparison, Singapore is a small island which covers a land area of about 330,000 square kilometers. Unlike Malaysia, it is mostly lowlands and the highest point is approximately 166 meters in Bukit Timah In a nutshell, it can be said that Malaysia is larger and has more highlands than Singapore.