Undergraduate Students' Problems with Citing References

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This study explored the problems undergraduate students are faced with in citing references in their academic work. The study revealed that undergraduate students face difficulties in citing references in their academic work and that they are inconsistent in the way they cite. The article suggests ways in which faculty and library staff can work together to address this problem.

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... For example, McWilliams and Allan (2014) stress the importance of acquisition of academic writing conventions by students, such as referencing and use of formal register. Previous research suggests that students lack confidence when it comes to correct citation and referencing (Kargbo 2010). Universities must also inform students about database research and referencing and citation standards and give students opportunity to work on a range of written assignments. ...
... Faculty comments include statements such as: "practice of citing sources is not always correct and not consistent throughout the thesis", "list of references is not always complete or not completely correct respectively", "the citations in the text sometimes do not really relate to the author or the source" and so on. Findings confirm that students often struggle with the originality and synthesis and that graduate students, in general, struggle with technical and rhetorical requirements of citations (Borg 2002;McWilliams and Allan 2014;Kargbo 2010). Furthermore, students may not be familiar with ethical considerations surrounding information (Virkus et al. 2005) ...
... Due to an expectation that researchbased writing must also be of high practical relevance, students may be confused with it comes to information sources or they simply rely on Google for quick and simple information search (Rempel & Cossarini 2013). Students also lack knowledge when it comes to citation and referencing (Kargbo 2010). ...
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The paper investigates the state of academic writing literacy and research skills of graduate business program students based on an evaluation of assessment rubric evaluations. Results indicate that graduate business program students have sufficient general writing skills, but struggle when applying these to academic writing for a specific discipline. Results also show that students have significant deficiencies when it comes to research skills. This paper discusses the implications of these outcomes and proposes a number of recommendations for program managers
... The researchers chose not to focus on this search aspect of IL in this study, and the literature review reflects this decision. Several of the studies mentioned above also cover evaluation of information sources whereas other research focuses specifically on source evaluation (Walraven et al. 2009;Hogan and Varnhagen 2012) or citation of sources (Kargbo 2010;Lee 2013). Students' use of Wikipedia is a question that is addressed, and one which also has been studied by Head and Eisenberg (2010), Biddix et al. (2011), Traphagan et al. (2012 and Head (2013). ...
... These observations are similar to those by Andrew Y. Lee (2013), whose research also reveals students' lack of basic understanding of citations, especially with regard to citing electronic sources. The survey findings also correspond to those of John A. Kargbo (2010), who found that undergraduate students at a university in Sierra Leone lacked the skills necessary to write proper in-text citations and references. ...
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This study aims to document first-year undergraduate students’ information literacy (IL) skills at a typical university college in Norway. This research is the first of its kind in Norway as previous studies on new students have focused mainly on the literature search. Prior to library instruction a selection of these students completed a survey with questions on the critical evaluation of sources, on plagiarism and on citing sources. Survey questions were designed to reflect the content of the library course in IL. Although most students were confident that they could avoid plagiarism when writing, many had large gaps in their knowledge, and lacked essential skills. Results also show that new students are better at evaluating sources than they are at citing them. Ethical aspects of plagiarism are discussed and comparisons drawn between students coming directly from upper secondary school and those who have some previous higher education. The article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License:
... Kargbo [6] looked into the difficulties that undergraduate students face when referencing sources in their academic papers. The research found that undergraduate students have difficulty citing references in their academic work and that their citation styles are inconsistent. ...
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Citation is important in academic writing because it informs the reader about the quality and authority of the information quoted. In-text citations and end-text citations or references are the two types of citations. A reference list provides readers with the information they need to locate and retrieve books cited in a text. End-text references are used to provide this information. Writers can use a variety of citation styles in their writing, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, and others. The goals of this study were to identify the end-text reference forms used in written final project reports and identify the issues using end-text references in written final project reports. The data were collected using an analytic qualitative method, which included the use of a note-taking technique. The research’s data came from a selection of final projects done by English teacher candidates. Identification of end-text reference forms and difficulties with end-text references were used to examine the data. The findings show that (i) the writers primarily use end-text references, as recommended in the department’s final project writing guidelines, and (ii) there are several major issues with the use of end-text references in written reports of selected final projects, including incompleteness, inconsistency in the use of end-text reference styles, and incorrect citation order. Keywords: end-text reference, final project, teacher candidates
... 23 In his 2014 study, Kargbo found that 62.1 percent of undergraduates were not confident in their ability to cite sources correctly and that even those who considered themselves confident often produced inconsistent references. 24 This growing complexity of source types may be one of the reasons libraries are fielding an increase in student citation questions. 25 Another may be the unique position libraries have in students' academic life. ...
... Se ha analizado en artículos de investigación (entre otros, Bazerman, 1988;Hyland, 2000), en tesis de maestría en inglés (Petric, 2007;Samraj, 2013;Sun, 2008) y en tesis doctorales (Thompson y Tribble, 2001). También ha atraído la atención las diferentes dificultades que estudiantes de pregrado muestran a la hora de citar en sus trabajos (Kargbo, 2010). Sin embargo, no hay estudios relacionados con esta temática en trabajos de grado de la licenciatura en mención. ...
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El presente estudio intenta hacer una contribución a la comprensión del uso de las citas en el trabajo de grado a la hora de fundamentar el saber disciplinar en la enseñanza del español como lengua materna. El objetivo fue analizar los tipos y las funciones de las citas en estos trabajos en relación con la construcción discursiva del saber pedagógico. La investigación fue un estudio cualitativo, empleando el análisis de género de citas de un corpus de 30 muestras de estudiantes de la Licenciatura de Español y Literatura como lengua materna de una universidad pública en Colombia. Para el análisis, se determinó la distribución de los tipos de citas y las funciones que cumplían las citas. Los resultados mostraron una alta frecuencia en el uso de citas integrales con función sintáctica y que las funciones de las citas con más frecuencia fueron: dar créditos a trabajos relacionados, proporcionar trabajos de fundamentación e identificar publicaciones originales. Se concluye que los estudiantes del programa proporcionan baja incidencia en sus aportaciones al saber pedagógico de su disciplina puesto que por el tipo de cita y sus funciones, simplemente se limitan a recrear un discurso que ya está, hasta cierto punto, elaborado. Por ello, se debe incentivar el uso de ambos tipos de citas, en especial, las citas no integrales y de incluir otras funciones con las que los estudiantes puedan aportar al saber pedagógico de su disciplina de manera más asertiva, crítica y constructiva
... Studies show that students in higher education institutions fail to acknowledge their sources of data in academic discourse such as assignments. For example, Kargbo (2010) found that undergraduate students faced difficulties in citing references in their academic work due to inconsistencies in the manner of citing. Jomaa & Bidin (2017), in a study of perspectives of EFL doctoral students on challenges of citations in academic writing, found that challenges in citation included difficulties of addressing the credibility of information in published sources, adopting a stance toward the citations, insufficient knowledge about citations, and second language difficulties (Jomaa & Bidin 2017). ...
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This study investigated whether students of the School of Education at the University of Zambia were adequately prepared in referencing and citation or not. A mixed methods approach was used; both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed in this study. Self-administered questionnaires were used to collect data from two hundred and ten (210) third and fourth year randomly selected undergraduate students. Further, five hundred (500) students' assignments were collected and checked to verify lecturers' marking and comments on referencing and citation. Quantitative data was analysed by the use of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS version 16.0) to derive frequencies, percentages, mean, standard deviation, significant differences and similarities between programmes and the responses provided. Results indicated that students were exposed to many different referencing styles. The most common among these were the American Psychological Association (APA) referencing style, followed by the Harvard and Chicago referencing styles in that order. The results further showed that the majority of the students did not demonstrate understanding and skills in referencing and citation. Failure by students to understand referencing was reported to result from, among others, inconsistencies by lecturers in their own understanding of the referencing styles. Additionally, little emphasis was put on referencing by lecturers when marking assignments. The study recommends that referencing and citation should be accorded serious attention in teaching university students in order to prepare them as scholars and for advanced studies. Further, lecturers themselves need to upgrade their understanding of referencing and citation in order to provide appropriate guidance to their students.
... While Kargbo (2010) has found that students judge their informational skills to be sufficient for their needs, other researchers have found that students need more training to further develop their informational skills in order to properly evaluate and use the information collected (Brand-Gruwel, Kammerer, van Meeuwen, & van Gog, 2017;Rodicio, 2015;Serres, 2012;Steeves, 2014). According to Roy (2009), many students would like their teachers to train them in order to be better able to assess the relevance, value and credibility of the information they find on the web. ...
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Max 150 words. If possible, please submit your abstract in both English and French. When writing an assignment, most students start by searching for information online, which they integrate in their writing and conclude by producing a bibliography for the sources used. They use their informational, writing and referencing skills to do this as well as refer to their plagiarism knowledge to make sure their text is exempt from plagiarism. In this paper, we examined which skills and knowledge students feel the need to further develop in university to prevent plagiarism in their assignments. Professors were also questioned as to their perceptions of their students’ skills development during their pre-university studies. Questionnaires were administered in six Quebec Universities to students (n = 1170) and professors (n = 279). Results show that students feel the need for more training while professors expect students to have already mastered the skills and knowledge to prevent plagiarism. Recommendations are made on how to implement better training for students through a program approach. Lors de la rédaction d’un devoir, la plupart des étudiants universitaires commencent par chercher des informations en ligne, qu’ils intègrent dans leur rédaction et terminent en produisant une bibliographie des sources utilisées. Ils utilisent leurs compétences informationnelles, rédactionnelles, et de référencement documentaire et se réfèrent à leurs connaissances en matière de plagiat pour s’assurer que leur texte en soit exempt. Dans cet article, nous avons examiné les compétences et les connaissances que les étudiants ressentent le besoin de développer davantage à l’université pour prévenir le plagiat dans leurs travaux. Les professeurs ont également été interrogés sur leur perception du développement des compétences de leurs étudiants durant leurs études pré-universitaires. Des questionnaires ont été administrés dans six universités québécoises à des étudiants (n = 1170) et à des professeurs (n = 279). Les résultats montrent que les étudiants ressentent le besoin d’une formation plus poussée alors que les professeurs s’attendent à ce que les étudiants maîtrisent déjà les compétences et les connaissances nécessaires pour prévenir le plagiat. Des recommandations sont formulées sur la façon de mettre en œuvre une meilleure formation pour les étudiants par le biais d’une approche-programme.
... D'autres vont laisser le libre choix à leurs étudiants d'utiliser des normes de présentation ou un style particulier. Cela fait en sorte que les professeurs n'ont pas toujours toutes les connaissances des différents styles ou normes pour corriger ou indiquer les erreurs de référencement commises par leurs étudiants (Kargbo, 2010). ...
... 77). Lewis (2008) argued that the new APA Style conventions for electronic resources would frustrate users who already struggled with basic citations, and Kargbo (2010) showed that undergraduates typically have low confidence in their own citing abilities. Numerous online citation tools exist to mitigate this confusion; however, they are characterized by high rates of errors (Dahlstrom, 2012;Stevens, 2016;Van Ullen & Kessler, 2012). ...
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The ability to effectively cite information sources is key to both student avoidance of plagiarism and the ongoing scholarly conversation. Previous research and experience indicated that students had significant trouble distinguishing and citing various information formats when viewed online; items are often cited as websites, and citations are incomplete or contain erroneous and extraneous information. The authors investigated the prevalence of these problems at their university, seeking out common patterns in the data to determine what, if any, information literacy objectives may be useful for future studies and instructional practice.
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The prevalence of plagiarism among college students has posed challenges to academic integrity in higher education institutions (HEIs) all over the world. Through mixed methods, this study determined students’ level of knowledge of plagiarism along five areas to provide baseline data as basis for an intervention that would promote intellectual honesty. Participants consisted of 283 randomly selected undergraduate students. A validated survey questionnaire was used to gather the data, which were treated using descriptive-inferential statistics and thematic analysis. Results revealed that the participants had very high level of knowledge in terms of the basic concepts about plagiarism, the ways of detecting this form of intellectual theft, and the possible adverse consequences when one was caught plagiarizing. The students, however, had low level of knowledge of the subject in terms of its more technical aspects such as its different forms as well as accurate citation and documentation of sources. Moreover, sex had a significant main effect on students’ knowledge of plagiarism in terms of its harmful consequences while department exerted a significant main effect along harmful consequences including citation and documentation. Furthermore, sex and type of senior high school (SHS) graduated from had a significant interaction effect along ways of detecting plagiarism and consequences of intellectual theft. Considering the findings, the researcher forwarded the establishment of the SPUP Honor Code that would provide the necessary structure for managing academic dishonesty especially plagiarism through educative, corrective, and restorative mechanisms towards promoting the principles and values of academic integrity.
New image citation standards need to be developed for college and gradu­ate students to meet visual literacy standards. The MLA Handbook, 8th edition, and Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition, do not adequately clarify how to caption, attribute, and cite images. Other image captioning and citing resources are available, but they refer to the MLA and Chicago manuals. Image captions from scholarly journals vary widely and cannot be used as examples for students to follow. Recommendations are also provided for future editions of the MLA Handbook and Chicago Manual of Style.
Young people today use the web when they need information for school assignments. Quick and easy access to this information leads some students to copy and paste. To prevent plagiarism, a series of seven workshops on digital scrapbooking strategies wasoffered to 63 high school students. Participants completed questionnaires and participatedin interviews. The results show that scrapbooking strategies are unfamiliar to high schoolstudents. Students would benefit from being taught these strategies in order to developbetter writing habits and learn how to write without plagiarizing.
Information is a resource for development, which every country, developed or developing, must use to produce a national outlook. Many people view it as a raw material and commodity capable of being exploited for personal gains and for the good of a nation. However, the idea of an information society is not a global phenomenon. While there is a glut of information in developed countries, there is a dearth in developing ones. Against this background of information lag, this article examines the information divide in contemporary societies.
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REFERENCES Damarell, Rachel, Jan Badcock, and Rebecca Miller. 2005. Author-date (Harvard) referencing guide, 3rd ed. Adelaide: Flinders University, School of Nursing and Midwifery. Faculty of Arts, Fourah Bay College. 2006. Handbook for students 2005/6-2006/7. Downloaded by [York University Libraries] at 05:55 27 December 2014 Undergraduate Students' Problems with Citing References 233 Flinders University. 2002. Style manual for authors, editors and printers, 6 th ed. Canberra: Smooks and Company.
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