Helping students improve their referencing practice

Appropriate citation of source documents is a key element in all academic writing. As anyone involved in the teaching of undergraduates will know, however, suitable ways of organising reference lists, and conventions for highlighting within the new text the points at which the sources have been used, are not always intuitive.

Colleagues and students may therefore be interested in an online tutorial about referencing that has recently been launched at the University of Leicester.

The student reference guide is the latest online tutorial produced at Leicester

The student reference guide is the latest online tutorial produced at Leicester

It is very clear that different subjects have their own discipline-specific rules governing citation and referencing. Developed as a project of GENIE, the Genetics CETL, the referencing style is contextualised for students in the Biological Sciences.

The tutorial has evolved from a need identified by both staff and students. The team was convened by Raymond Dalgleish and the bulk of the graft in producing the tutorial was undertaken by Nicola Suter-Giorgini. One of the tensions has been to distinguish necessary aspects of a reference scheme from individual preferences about ‘the best way’ for citation to be undertaken. We are sure that the current version has scope for improvement, and suggestions would be gratefully received.

The new tutorial is a useful addition to a growing collection of online tutorials to aid students in different aspects of writing. An earlier tutorial, Don’t cheat yourself, was originally developed by Stuart Johnson for students in the biosciences. A range of versions with different subject-specific examples are now available.

advice for avoiding plagiarism

"Don't cheat yourself" has proven to be a popular tutorial dealing with the issue of plagiarism

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