Friday, September 14, 2012

Students Writing for Science...

Students Writing for Science...
need to cite sources and follow style manuals.  Sometimes, they complain about this.  These are basic writing skills, however and need to be applied in science as in other fields.

Look at the previous post and you can see a link to instructions for authors  of the new journal.  Every journal has a section guiding authors to the style needed to be followed for that journal.  Students can gather from this professional use of style that the exercise in the classroom does have merit in the real world... and even in the virtual one (since that journal is on-line only.)

Another indication of relevance to citation is any scandal on plagiarism. Schools, colleges, and universities have rules against plagiarism.  It is against the law in many countries if not all.  The recent scandal at Harvard shows none are exempt from having people break the rules: harvard-cheating-ring-uni_n_1844104.html, however, students are often not aware of what plagiarism is.

Pointing out what needs to be cited, and, identifying both quotations and paraphrases, is helpful.  Students may cite quotes but forget to cite paraphrases.  They need to be reminded to cite both quotes and paraphrases/.  Book publishers have been known to copy, even from this blog, without citing.  Imagine! (I am giving them a chance here to "fess up," and make right.)   But, we all need to be vigilant and give credit to authors for their ideas.  Style manuals and instructions for authors give us the correct ways to cite for a particular publication. Even young students can learn to cite correctly:  I have seen kindergarteners do it well (age 5).

Often students who did cite didn't know of style manuals.  They did it according to their grade school or high school teacher's assignment sheets (which may have used APA, MLA,  or other style manual as a base (Were these cited?)

Where can you get style manuals?  Ask the reference librarian at your local library.  For your information,. there are some style manuals at the bottom of the blog post.  Feel free to add others in the comments.  Thanks.

Note:  Special Thanks to the Librarians at Thrall Library (and likely librarians at many other libraries)  for making every effort to educate students on the library skills they need to stay current throughout their lives..

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