Are citation machines helpful?

In recent years the issue of academic honesty has become crucial in our country. The teachers, university and even school students are requested to cite the authors while preparing reports, presentations etc. This is a good tendency, however the teachers need to always be aware of the fact that probably not all of their students do actually know the structure of citing. The reason for that goes back to the Internet. There are many online citation machines that help students to precisely cite their authors. I can understand the fact that one does not always have time to sit and consider all “points” and “brackets”, however this is a useful skill, that once remembered can further lead a student to careful citing.

Another important thing to mention is that APA style is not the only one used for proper citing. Two years ago in our school we had MHRA citing style, which later was found quite complicated and we gradually moved to APA. Today, all of our students are introduced to APA and try to fit its standards while writing their papers, however I have a fear that not all of them are “familiar” with original requirements. Moreover, the habit of using the machine instead of trying to deduce the structure of original citing technique can play tricks with students, as not all of the citation sites are trustworthy, as a result the students do not have a chance to check the originality of citations.

Personally, I always do my citations by hand and consider this right, I also try to teach my students not to rely on Internet much. I do hope that this will help my students to become autonomous and keep the knowledge in their heads, so that even in the right middle of the desert they could use proper citation style.

6 thoughts on “Are citation machines helpful?

  1. Dear Laura,

    Thank you very much for your interesting post. I agree that it is great challenge to recognize the technique like APA. I even can say that there are a lot of students who are always trying do not follow of the structure of APA. I think there are a lot of reasons why they do not follow, first is the language of instruction. It is not news that not all NIS students have proper English it is a myth actually. Second, the level of understanding APA style is high which even difficult to the university students is.
    Taking into account all these reasons, I can say that whatever ‘citation machine’ will describe of the formats of APA style, students will not understand it until they will not collaboratively support each other. That is my own subjective point. Thank you!


    1. Dear Oral

      Thanks for your opinion. Although it is not quite clear to me what do you mean by collaboratively support each other, I appreciate that you share my opinion about the negative influence of citation machines.


      1. Dear Laura,

        Collaboratively support means when students help each other. In case, when someone behind than other students, still strugle with APA style. In that situation the students can teach and explain to other student in a simple way. That is I think the solution of the challenge.


  2. I agree with you, Laura, that there is an issue of academic honesty in Kazakhstani educational environment. In many cases it is more the issue of unawareness of what academic honesty is, I believe. Many teachers and students do not realize that instead of interpreting some others’ words or findings as their own, they need to give credit to the authors of conlusions and information by citing these sources. There are teachers or students who consider plagiarism as a solution but not as a dishonesty. And it is great that there are some positive shifts in this field which take place and which you have mentioned about.


    1. Dear Kairat

      The issue of Academic dishonesty cases is actually my thesis topic and hopefully I have already researched some works on this. If you would like, I can share them with you.


  3. Nice job, Laura. In particular, you make a good point about the danger of automation in citing. It is much like learning math only through the use of a calculator. Tools are great, but we want to be able to understand the underlying concepts and thought processes in addition to “making” the citation. I would also argue that far too much attention is spent on the FORMATTING of citations, and far too little on the PURPOSE and PHILOSOPHY of citing others’ work throughout ethical researching.

    One minor grammar note: Be careful of comma splices, like the one you wrote here. “Personally, I always do my citations by hand and consider this right, I also try to teach my students not to rely on Internet much.” Two independent clauses need a clearer division (period or semi-colon) or a clearer connection (coordinating conjunction, etc).

    Nice work!



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