Sunday, November 08, 2009

Help from my English peeps -- please!!

I need to know -- am I out of touch?

I assigned a paper in which my students are supposed to research an ethical issue.

I told them to use some form of in-text citations, but I didn't care if it was footnotes or parenthetical references.

Countless papers have come in with some version of a works cited page, but NO in-text citations. Sometimes they'll say "Smith says...." -- but, nowhere do they tell me exactly WHERE in the book Smith says it, or sometimes which Smith article it is. Other times they'll write the citation directly into the text -- which kind of works -- but makes it really icky to read.

Did I miss a shift to this kind of minimal citation?

Do they learn this in comp 1 -- or high school?

or -- are they just f-ing lazy?


Seeking Solace said...

They are F-ing lazy. They should know how to use either MLA or APA and that both require in text citations and a works cited page.

Sadly, you have to remind them.

comebacknikki said...

Yeah, they're totally being lazy! Both MLA and APA require parenthetical citations... and it's taught in high school! Oh, and if they're using Word 2007, there's a function (references tab) that will even format/insert the citations for them!

The History Enthusiast said...

Students' attention to citations is really lax; my history students, who've learned how to do citations in every frickin' history class they've taken, still don't bother to do it correctly. They just don't pay attention to details.

Wish I had some advice to share, but I still can't get my students to do them correctly :-(.

rented life said...

I'd be willing to be that some of them don't know. Teaching freshmen I've found myself asking if they know how to do citations, and then having to give a brief overview.

I scare them by saying every citation mistake is one point off. Periods, italics, page numbers, it all better be there. That usually works.

Breena Ronan said...

I'm not a writing instructor by a long shot, but I always go over the importance of citations and bibliographies in my discussion sections. You can't assume that they know. Although I have no evidence that my instructions make any difference. At least they can't claim they didn't know what I wanted.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I've given them the basics --but somehow it didn't connect.

Last semester I read drafts for my Biomedical ethics classes -- because it's limited to 30 students -- and what I'm reading isn't that different from the drafts. For some reason I figured the peer review process would help, but I suppose that's too much to ask.

Kris Peleg said...

They learn it in comp I. Usually most of them have heard of it before then. I return papers ungraded in my WGST classes when they come in without citations. That convinced them pretty quickly that if they didn't know how to do it, the online writing center was available to help. I do give them helpful links, too, but in non-comp classes, don't make it part of the class time.

Bardiac said...

I'm sure they've been told and seen demonstrations and done class exercises and what not over and over again.

And yet, they're not learning it.

We need to find a way to make citations as interesting to them as texting.

I'm in full despair mode right now.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

I'm coming to the conclusion that I need to return the papers to them without a grade -- because it's a major part of the grade, they'll have to do a revision. They'll need to return both the revision AND the old one to get credit.

The fact of the matter is that most of them have written some papers in the past, and they've been allowed to get away with this stuff. I'm not so interested in making citations interesting as I am in making sure I'm not sending them out into the wider academic world without someone having told them -- bluntly -- that what they're doing is wrong.

I'll also make the stipulation that their final paper cannot be revised and papers without citations will get a 0.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

Just now the use of (ibid) caused me to google... which turned up THREE instances of the use of that exact sentence -- including the "(ibid)" -- hmmm....