Why don't students know how to cite research anymore? I would estimate that 75% of my students each semester do not know how to put together a bibliography or provide proper in-text citations. I don't just mean that they make small errors, but that they don't even produce anything close!
I get lists of sources at the end in no order whatsoever. I get students who include the entire entry right after the quote and don't put any bibliography at the end at all. Students use Google and Yahoo for research and have no concept of what a scholarly source is.
I expect a certain amount of mistakes, but don't they teach you to alphabetize your list of sources? Don't students at least know to include the author, title, publisher, and date? I know other professors (in history, psych, etc) don't teach research. That's my job as the composition instructor. But freshman comp is about strengthening skills of grammar, essay structure, and thesis statements. Most composition courses include research, but don't focus on it wholly. And why not? I feel like freshman comp should spend about half the semester on research, citations, bibliographies, etc. How else will the students be prepared when other professors expect they know how to do this?
What really blows my mind is that my students who seems to be struggling are not in freshman comp - they're all in the second level of English composition! So I wonder not only what high schools are teaching these kids, but what did their freshman comp professors teach them? And maybe part of the problem is the curriculum, not the teachers or professors themselves.
This is a very scatterbrained dumping of frustration. I just had to pause in my afternoon of essay grading to express a little confusion and frustration over the mistakes I seem to correcting on paper after paper after paper...
BA in English