All students should be aware of the need for referencing. It is becoming increasingly important. Some teachers attach enormous importance, time and attention to the subject.
So should you. It is one of the fundamental disciplines of worthwhile academic study. All academic work should be able to show that it is based on reasonable deduction from legitimate data.
For scientists, the data is often from observation or from experiment. If it is experimental, then the experiment should be replicable (other scientists should be able to get similar results from doing the experiment again). If it is from observation, the scientist should try to provide convincing evidence of what was seen â€“ photographs or other recordings (seismographic, barometric, or whatever is appropriate.)
For other subjects, the data may well be from books and written sources: old newspapers in modern history, new newspapers in media studies, Domesday Book in medieval history, Homerâ€™s Iliad in literary or linguistic studies â€“ the list is potentially endless.
So for worthwhile academic study, you should tell your reader where you got your data.
There are many fussy details involved. (For a start, every Department has its own rules, and for many Departments these are unique.) But they can all be viewed as boiled down to four principles of referencing