College Students Fail To Grasp Research Paper Citations

04/11/2011 01:35 pm ET | Updated Jun 11, 2011
  • Inside Higher Ed

ATLANTA -- An analysis of research papers written in first-year composition courses at 15 colleges reveals that many students simply copy chunks of text from the sources they cite without truly grasping the underlying argument, quality or context.

"The findings are not happy news for how writing is taught," Rebecca Moore Howard, an associate professor of writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University, said here Thursday at the annual meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. "[Students] are not selecting authoritative, meaningful sources and not reading them carefully. They are not, in a word, engaging."

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