End-of-semester citation thoughts

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As online information becomes more abundant, it has also become more complex.  Manjoo (2010), for example, discusses how blogs and web magazines have grown to resemble each other.  Many resources don’t perfectly fit the garden-variety examples in style manuals.  Then how do we foster the skills for citing these sources properly?

I offer three interconnected thoughts:

  1. Practice.  Obviously students need practice citing these materials.   Even citing the class text in an informal essay would add practice without making busywork.
  2. Emphasis on the Why.  I’ve seen students get so caught up in the mechanics of citation that they lose sight of the purpose.  Schick (2011) calls for a focus on the basic elements and function of a citation, especially in the early stages of s student’s career.  Time spent on the fussier mechanical details could then be spent on evaluating sources .
  3. Modeling.  When we prepare something for publication or presentation, we can share our struggles with citation.  We could also share the times when we’ve had to find something based upon incomplete or faulty citations.

Here’s wishing you and yours a safe and happy Holiday season.  Enjoy the intersession!


Manjoo, F. (2010, October 15). This is not a blog post: Blogs and web magazines are looking more and more alike. What’s the difference?  Slate.  Retrieved from www.slate.com

Schick, K. (2011, October 30). Citation obsession? Get over it!  Chronicle of Higher Education.  Retrieved from http://chronicle.com