STUDENT SUCCESS & Should Graduate School Students Use Citations in Discussion Postings?

by Bob Whitesel D.Min, Ph.D., 8/15/15.

Sometimes students in my courses wonder if they need to use citations with their postings.  Yes you should (it will become easier as you go along) and let me explain why.

Graduate school, such as a seminary, is different from undergraduate work.  In graduate school, unlike undergraduate work, you do what is called: “research.”

The word “research” is a clue that means digging into what scholars say about the topic in addition to what you discover when you apply it.  The idea of research is to not only share your thoughts, but investigate (i.e. explore, examine) what scholars are saying about the subject too.  Thus, this exercise is not simply an assignment to share your thoughts, but also to share your growing understanding of what experts are saying about each forum’s (and paper’s) topic.

To facilitate learning in others (e.g. so they can see where your ideas come from) it is necessary for you to cite where your ideas came from.  This doesn’t have to be too formal (APA is optional in the discussion forums) but you should give other students a location (via a citation) where they can look up the info you cite.  This is standard practice in research.  And, it helps others find the scholarly sources you have uncovered!

Don’t worry, I typically grade leniently until our students get acquainted with what graduate research entails.  And, I know many of you are in graduate school for the first time and thus I will be lenient.  Though fairness dictates you forfeit some points if you are not citing research, I will also give you some ideas on what you can do to improve your score.

As you know, if you follow I will 4-6 times a week I cite here new, exciting and relevant research that I come upon.  And, if you follow this blog, you will get an email everytime I post new research … including a short synopsis.

I am here to help you learn.  And, thus I will always share with you some of ideas to help you generate more research/learning (and more points 🙂

So, if your question is “Do I need to use citations on my discussion postings?” the answer is yes, since this is a graduate school where we are studying “research.”