Friday, 7 July 2017

Quoting: the idea of pants, or actual pants?

Students have difficulty sometimes in getting their heads around putting in an APA citation versus quoting.

They think that just including an "(Author, date)" APA citation is all they have to do, regardless of what they have used from that author.

Quotes, if from a numbered document, require a page number. It is a flag to say "this is exactly where I borrowed this from". The marker allows both yourself and others to return to the exact spot that the borrowing originated. It also indicates who wrote the words.

I often have students who have referenced (great), but who haven't yet indicated who wrote the actual words. I point out that it is fine to borrow from others, as long as we put the borrowings in quote marks to show that this writing was created by someone else. I tell them that we do this by using double quote marks as a flag to the reader to say these are "the EXACT words of the author" (UNE, 2015, p. 1).

Please note the inclusion of the page number there :-)

However, this seems to be such a hard idea to get across. So I thought of an analogy. I tell my students that it is like someone saying to us "I love your pants!" And we say:
"Yes, I got the idea from Sam!"
When we should have said "Yes - they're Sam's pants. Aren't they great?!".

I think this illustrates the difference in borrowing ideas versus borrowing things. But I would be interested in any other analogies you have come up with - the more the merrier!


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