'According to ... '

analysing learner development of referencing and evidence integration

Cassi Liardét, Sharyn Black

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The conversation regarding referencing often focuses on punitive measures to respond to plagiarism rather than developing appropriate citation practices. Students are required to reference established scholars; however, as learners developing their 'academic voice', many struggle to effectively synthesise the evidence into their arguments. The aim of this study is to investigate how students in an undergraduate academic communication unit integrate evidence using various voice markers (i.e., direct, indirect and external). Using both quantitative and qualitative analyses, this study examines 16 English as a first language (L1) and English as an additional language (EAL) learners' texts to identify the voice types on which students rely. The findings reveal little variation between the referencing practices of the L1 and EAL students. Furthermore, problematic patterns of deployment were identified with each voice type (e.g., 'drop in' quotes, 'tag on' citations) and overall, students demonstrated limited proficiency in their ability to effectively synthesise the evidence to develop their authorial stance. The paper concludes with pedagogical recommendations regarding the role of referencing as an epistemological construction rather than a punitive measure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-71
Number of pages27
JournalEnglish Australia Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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