Do you ever find that your eyes feel tired, dry or stinging after a session on your computer? We often find ourselves staring at a computer screen, iPad, Kindle or other device for long periods of time, absorbed in what we are doing without giving much thought to our eyes.
The solution can be very simple.
Citing and referencing are both essential for academic writing, but they are often forgotten by students. Citation can be fiddly, and referencing can take some time when you are already fed up with an assignment, but don’t make the mistake of ignoring these practices. All the best assignments cite and reference beautifully. Citing and referencing is especially important for Diploma students, and those thinking of going to university.
“Any argument which does not provide evidence is invalid”.
This is the general rule we teach at the Academy for Distance Learning. However, there are some infamous argument types which, even when they do give evidence, are still not accepted. One of the worst contenders is the ad hominem attack.
Caricatures of the leaders of the G8 by Donkey Hotel, CC BY-SA 2.0
are a few free websites which can automatically generate references.
My favourite of these is CiteThisForMe,
but others like EasyBib and
CitationMachine work in
a similar way.With
websites like these, you search for the source you want to cite. Once
you’ve found it, you can copy and paste a citation into your essay
or assignment. It’s as easy as that!
are a couple of small problems with these websites. First, only the
basic functionality is free, which means there can be lots of
advertising. Second, because the websites work from basic catalogues,
they sometimes miss required information like publication date and
shows a screenshot from CiteThisForMe.
academics prefer a more serious solution. Reference management
programs are downloadable pieces of software. To use them, you import
“metadata”. This is information about your source like the title
and author which is put into computer code by catalogues. You can
also add personal notes describing each source.
you’ve downloaded and checked the metadata, citing is easy. A
“citation” button is added to your word processor. With that you
can search through your personal library to find the correct source
and automatically generate a correct citation. At the end of the
document you can create an automatic bibliography of all the sources
which have been cited in that document.
The Mendeley plugin
on Microsoft Word.
reference management program available in most universities is
EndNote. However, if you are not affiliated with a university,
EndNote is expensive. Two competitors, Mendeley and Zotero work just
as well and are free to download and use.
software trick is usually more reliable than the website trick,
because the metadata can be more easily checked and altered. However,
this solution does still have some problems. Most importantly, it
takes some manual work to populate your library with all the metadata
for your sources, so this approach only really saves time if you cite
the same sources frequently.
If you are reading
this, you are probably looking for help with academic research. Here
at ADL we offer distance-learning modules to develop
your research skills and have expert tutors ready to comment on
your work. Contact us to find out more!