you must cite your sources

I finished grading all of my students’ proposals today (finally!). I was surprised with the number of students who either didn’t include a works cited page or didn’t cite their sources (or both!). Out of approximately 100 students, 21 didn’t cite sources or include a works cited page or both. (Some students worked in pairs, meaning that there weren’t actually 21 proposals that had this problem.)

Obviously, my instruction wasn’t clear enough in this regard. I gave my students’ proposals back to them and told those who didn’t cite properly to fix their errors after some one-on-one instruction on how to do so and re-submit them. Each student seemed to understand the importance of what I was talking about (or feigned understanding it?), so hopefully I’ll get these back with some improvements.

I am somewhat surprised by the large percentage of students who had this problem. I guess I made an assumption that because they had taken WR121, they would understand to at least cite sources when I had told them about it, gave them various resources for it, and even had an in-class quiz, two questions of which were:

1. What citation style should you use on your proposals?
2. What are two places you can go to get help with citing sources?

I’m a bit frustrated, but overall, I read some really amazing proposals. They had some great ideas for projects for the course, rising out of exigencies in their own lives (problems in their departments, with University Housing and Dining, with parks and bike trails, etc.).

The next problem to focus on is probably audience. Students seem to struggle with the concept of audience a lot.

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5 Responses to you must cite your sources

  1. sally sue snodgrass says:

    You should automaticly cite our stuff!

  2. sally sue snodgrass says:

    I was grading my students projects and specifically asked them to have a works cited only two did what they were told.

  3. Sally Sue Snodgrass says:

    On my first comment I ment to say that my students should automatically cite their paper.

  4. Sally Sue Snodgrass says:

    I was having the same problem until I faund this superb trick when the students come up I whisper to them to imagine the audience in their underwear they giggle a little but it works.

  5. Michael says:

    Thanks, Sally. When I mentioned audience, though, I was mostly talking in regards to the audience of their writing and how they should consider their audience in regards to their purpose and style. It seems to me that audience is what most people in our society and most students struggle with a lot when trying to make claims and arguments (myself included).

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