Referencing is a standardised method of acknowledging the sources of information you have consulted. Anything - words, figures, theories, ideas, facts - originating from another source and used in your assignment must be referenced (i.e. acknowledged).
Referencing is done for the following reasons:
Compiling a bibliography or list of references
One of the most important tenets of academic writing is the avoidance of plagiarism. A Bibliography contains all sources consulted, including those providing background reading; a list of References comprises only sources cited in the text. The Cape Peninsula University of Technology uses the Harvard style of bibliographic citation.
Research and the Harvard Method of Bibliographic Citation: a research writing and style guide for postgraduate students.