Another tricky thing about citations,
What if you know something,
that probably isn't common knowledge,
but you don't know where you got the information from?
For a high school student,
should they look around various texts to
find a citation to provide?
And, not to be a post-modernist about this,
what is providing citations for anyhow? I think
it is a good idea -- but not so much to give ownership
to the idea to someone else - but rather, to give
credibility to the paper the student is writing!
In other words, it's as if the teacher is reading
the paper with the unwritten statement,
"I don't believe you."
and the unwritten question,
"Can you prove this is true, by showing that
this information comes from a source that I
Again, sorry for my post-modernist questioning -
I tend to hate this aspect of myself (but alas, the
culture I was raised in - always questioning, never accepting -
I'm working on it, though, at least within myself)...
I can remember in a religious context, relating
a story I had heard from some of the monks in
the desert from the 7th century. It was a particulary
enjoyable story, to me, at least - and I found myself
quite hurt when I was asked, "What is your source for this
assertation?" Of course, I tend to be a delicate sort,
my curse/blessing, and far too naive for most environments.
But this is a different issue than plagiarism, of course.
Still, when dozens or hundreds of people write on
a particular topic,
and the reader
is well read
on a particular subject,
and the subject
and its inticrisies
become part of the reader,
considering that languages and
ideas are often learned in phrases - chunks
of words - it shouldn't be surprising that,
for example, Martin Luther King Jr's thesis
contained chunks of other ppl's works. Often a
person doesn't even realize where the information
has come from.
Indeed, if the person has incorporated this knowledge
into his/her general body of personal knowledge - is this
not the goal of learning/education?
Providing citations gives credit where credit is due,
perhaps. Providing citations gives credibility to
the writer of the report/essay/thesis/paper/book.
But it seems like it is knowledge that is held out
"at arm's length" -- knowledge that isn't incorporated.
Just my random thoughts, from a non-teacher.