Learning Skills Unit - Learning Lab

Understanding referencing - Umbreen

Was referencing a new skill for you?

I think that the first thing that comes to my mind is the referencing. That is something which is really, really stressed over here, and not as much stressed in Pakistan.

It is taught to the students but at graduate masters level, not at undergraduate level, so they're innocently and are plagiarising a lot of other people's work, and the stress over here is more on quoting with proper references, and I think that's a major thing that international students need to learn, and it's not that difficult either. You just need to get the hang of it.

There are so many online resources available. There are so many books available for that, and you can, just while you are studying, you can develop that habit of referencing everything.

Intellectually, everybody should be aware of the need of understanding the intellectual ownership of somebody's work. But that is not that much stressed in our country, and we believe that if you quote somebody who has already done some work and even if we repeat that person's words, we are actually honouring that person, that we are quoting his or her study.

But the problem starts from where we don't actually attribute that work to a particular person, or particular organisation, which is a by product of their efforts, and we need to acknowledge that.

It was was an idea which I struggled with for some time when I came here, and a lot of other international students also struggle with that, and we can't seem to understand why we have to reference each and every sentence that use of any other person.

And I think knowing the reasons behind doing that, is more of a problem rather than learning to do it, because, there are so many on-line reference guides that you can learn to use. And there's this Endnote® program which will do it automatically, almost automatically for you as well.

Students need to, especially during the first semester, students need to make special efforts to understand the concept of plagiarism, and referencing, and how does it work, and how does it affect their future publications and their future academic endeavours.

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