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RMIT University Library - Learning Lab

Student stories


International students were asked "Was referencing a new skill for you?"

I found that here at RMIT that referencing is very important. Now having done my Bachelors back home, I knew it was too, and I had been socialised into referencing.

It's just that the extent to which it is emphasized here is a whole lot more different, and there's a whole lot more emphasis on referencing, and a particular type of referencing.

So you really have to learn it, otherwise you get into trouble for plagiarism and stuff. So you must learn and it's a good idea to ask also even if you knew .. like I was familiar with APA and a bit of Harvard.

There's a whole lot more emphasis on actually changing the information that you extract from the source. They really want you to put it in your own words so that was new for me .. it was very new.

I think that the first thing that comes to my mind is the referencing. That is something which is really, really stressed over here, and not as much stressed in Pakistan.

It is taught to the students but at graduate masters level, not at undergraduate level, so they're innocently and are plagiarising a lot of other people's work, and the stress over here is more on quoting with proper references, and I think that's a major thing that international students need to learn, and it's not that difficult either. You just need to get the hang of it.

There are so many online resources available. There are so many books available for that, and you can, just while you are studying, you can develop that habit of referencing everything.

Intellectually, everybody should be aware of the need of understanding the intellectual ownership of somebody's work. But that is not that much stressed in our country, and we believe that if you quote somebody who has already done some work and even if we repeat that person's words, we are actually honouring that person, that we are quoting his or her study.

But the problem starts from where we don't actually attribute that work to a particular person, or particular organisation, which is a by product of their efforts, and we need to acknowledge that.

It was was an idea which I struggled with for some time when I came here, and a lot of other international students also struggle with that, and we can't seem to understand why we have to reference each and every sentence that use of any other person.

And I think knowing the reasons behind doing that, is more of a problem rather than learning to do it, because, there are so many on-line reference guides that you can learn to use. And there's this EndnoteĀ® program which will do it automatically, almost automatically for you as well.

Students need to, especially during the first semester, students need to make special efforts to understand the concept of plagiarism, and referencing, and how does it work, and how does it affect their future publications and their future academic endeavours.

Of course I cannot come up with something and take the credit for it, if it's not the work of myself.

The Study and Learning Centre at the Learning Lab they have a very good resource on the RMIT website where there's very good help to actually find out how exactly it's going to look where are the commas put, and how do I put the brackets and all that stuff, so that's a good resource.

Everything .. the style and the actual thing, how you put it in your assignment, because you have to say, this person said this and that, and you support yourself, but for me I haven't done it so it was totally different idea.

I think I understand more about how referencing works, and why do you need to reference, because it's a big thing, and now I understand that.

Why do I have to reference because, if I write something like a book or something, of course I really want to be acknowledged. So this is acknowledging somebody else's work so knowing about it is really important, finding out about it from the library from the learning HUB.

There are lots of resources that you can do, so by not knowing how to reference, how much you lose the marks is really painful.