Thursday, December 03, 2009

A Piece of Advice for All Writing Students

You can never go wrong citing your sources. Really.

If you paraphrase a bit from a play, cite it! If you read something in a textbook, cite it! If you interview someone, cite him/her!

Please, for the love of all that is Shakespeare, cite your sources.

This message brought to you by the letter A.


  1. This message brought to you by all the letters, except F. I have to admit I snorted at that last line. :)

  2. Hear Hear!!

    I have to say, returning about 1/3 of my ethics papers ungraded with instructions to fix their sources has made the bunch of them more serious about citing sources.

  3. Anonymous5:27 PM

    If you copy and paste text from someone else, cite it! You can never go wrong letting your teacher know that you lifted your gems from other sources.

    The letter A goes great with double S.

  4. Anonymous5:46 PM

    I spent the last two days (5 hours a day) conferencing with composition students saying EXACTLY the same thing. I tell them that in a research paper, we profs just LOVE when they cite research (we also like that they do something with that research, but that's another bloggy posting).

    I have no problem outsourcing that message: do you think if we get someone famous to record it we can just hit "play" and not have to say it over and over again?

  5. What is it with the mental block students seem to have with citing sources? No amount of explanation seems to help. Blah. It's that time of the semester.

  6. Love it!

    @ Philosophy Factory: You know what else makes them more serious about citing sources? Failing their papers and reporting them to the dean for academic misconduct. At least, I'm guessing that will be the result since I just fell kind of bassackward into doing that.

    Obviously, it's the end of the term and I'm very tired . . . .Not a good time to play footsy with cutting and pasting . . . .

  7. Anonymous4:43 AM

    It helps to remind them that it's "cite," not "sight."

    Then again, I pulled the short straw for remedial comp this semester, and I'm a bit overwrought.

  8. YES. Can I just print this out and put it on my door? This goes to all students, not just writing students. Argh.

  9. I should have a tshirt printed that says this: If You Use It, Cite It. Because I say it all the time, I have it on all of my syllabi, I remind them of this when we begin a new project, when we're in the middle of a project, and right before they hand it in. And still get questions like "Well, I wasn't sure if I should cite it because even though I read it somewhere during the course of my research, it's common knowledge" as well as just plain noncitation situations.

    Not sure what's confusing about it. Used? Cite.

  10. but, but, but... then they'd need to remember where they found it, which is like totally unfair!

    my freshman year, one of our profs made us all get index cards and bring them to class. then she showed us how to use them to note the citations to sources, and strongly suggested we carry cards with us in case a new source popped out of the bushes or snuck up on us in the library. most of us made little notes on the back about pieces we wanted to use, with page cites.

    of course, i attended college in the dark ages, when computers were the size of industrial freezers, but it still seems to me that jotting information down is easier than pulling out the laptop. only now, i use sticky notes, which i literally keep with me all the time, everywhere.

  11. Anonymous10:14 AM

    I had a stu who had no citations in a two page report so the grade wasn't so hot. The stu railed in my office about how copy/pasting is NOT PLAGIARISM. "It's copy/pasting" I shit you not. "The text did not come from a book or journal, therefore it's not plagiarism" I shit you not again. The stu said "what do you call text taken from the computer?" and I nearly had to fetch the smelling salts.