In recent years, there may have been a lack of academic rigour among students from higher tertiary institutions when it comes to both in-text and end-of-text citations, not because these institutions do not provide the necessary scaffolding and support for the students but rather, it’s often the students themselves who often expressed a detached and lacklustre interest in adhering to these rules. The question may be less of a discipline issue but more of the fact that these students do not necessarily have the basic understanding of the reasons and benefits of such academic practice and find such a demanding adherence to academic rigour mentally strenuous and technically tedious.
The purpose of such a practice is hence lost among the younger generations of students.
What then are the reasons that drive the implementation of academic citations? The reasons are many, and below are some of the more prominent ones:
i. Increases credibility of the writers’ research writings/reports
ii. Establishes the academic pillars of evidence that in turn supports the conclusion of the writers
iii. Ensure the continuity of these particular lines of research studies and findings
iv. Enable readers to continue the research if they wish to
v. Enable interested readers of the subject matter to further read up on the specified content and conclusions
It is therefore crucial for educators and lecturers of various higher-level institutions such as polytechnics and universities to inform their students up front and right at the outset of every module which requires academic citations what these reasons are. There would probably be incidents whereby students still express hesitancy or reluctance to adhere to these rules of citation despite being informed of the reasons and benefits. If this occurs, one will probably only attribute their inaction to either laziness or downright defiance. Nevertheless, as educators and lecturers, we should still develop the patience to treat each student as a positive potential contributor to society and encourage them in the best and most appropriate ways that we can. There are often numerous instances of students who produce very interesting reports and writings, with substantiated evidence that just wasn’t cited properly. For such instances, these students should be commended and praised for their research efforts and writings, but of course, their lack of academic citations would be penalized ( as their practice of loose attention on the technicalities of academic citations would no doubt dent their credibility of their writings).
It is saddening that the importance of academic citations has not received much acclaim or recognition from all academic learners to date. Much education would be needed to be given by educators from higher institutions to their students to educate them on the usefulness and benefits of keeping to the high standards of academic rigour.
After all, the educators are not only role models for their students, but their messengers as well.