A Few Insights on Citing Sources

Reference Section in a Department of Education Module


One of the things that shocked me the first time I taught at our community college was that students pursuing degrees in education simply copied and pasted text in their papers or reporting handouts.  No anti-plagiarism software was needed because these were just too easy to spot.

I remembered then the fear we had in college at the possible consequence of failing an entire course or getting suspended for plagiarism infractions.  After graduation, that fear was replaced by a better understanding of basic human relations -- of giving to others what they deserve, that in the exercise of our rights, we must give everyone their due -- and attributing works of fellow human beings allow emotional satisfaction and possible earnings out of their intellectual creations.  

This is also why I find today's "CTTO" (credit to the owner) a lame excuse and a lazy practice in social media.  I also think CTTO partly causes, or is the fruit of, fake news and irresponsible online political propaganda.  Since I already digressed, Friends, please understand that "CTTO" is not enough.  It is only the first of two parts.  It only informs the reader that it is not your content but you actually have not given real "credit to the owner"  yet because you haven't identifed who that owner is who deserves credit.  I understand that that burden rests more on the original "sharer", but please consider these thoughts.  Sorry for the digression.

My students at the time ran the entire range from 1st to 4th years.  Either they were not taught or their training in scholarship was ignored, perhaps causing them to associate the word "scholarship" only to phrases like "Equal scholarship", CHED scholarship, or Free Tertiary Tuition. There was absolutely no conviction to acknowledge borrowed content and no effort to refer the reader to a particular source should they want to check the veracity of the statement/s. I thought I wouldn't care what guide they followed -- APA, MLA, Turabian/Chicago, or any other functional format -- for as long as they at least substantially cited sources.   But they didn't.

The moment you required them to make citations, their references would merely  indicate "www.google.com".  

A couple of days ago, my nephew and I were finishing up with one of his modules and this was the exact entire entry in the first of two references cited:  "goggle.com".  

Am I wrong to assume that a module coming from the Department of Education would have been prepared by someone who has a scholarly background, such as a teacher who possibly even has master's credits and that this is not a good reflection thereof?    

I hope this was just an isolated careless mistake.  I hope my radar and expectations were not simply too high after having recently edited three undergraduate theses of students from two universities/colleges in the city.

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