Advice: referencing

Referencing facts/ideas online/in a presentation

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You may have feedback on ‘referencing ideas’ for digisoc1 or digisoc2. As in any academic work, this is important, but the style we are using in this unit is less formal than you may be used to. This post helps you to develop in this area.

You may be referencing: your own ideas, ideas of peers, other’s ideas, or facts established by others. These ideas could have been shared publicly online, privately via digital means, in the classroom, or elsewhere in the ‘real world’.

Why is it important?

Being able to acknowledge and refer to others’ ideas appropriately is an important skill for academic work, but also for writing generally. Doing this well online sets you apart from a lot of writers and improves the quality of your writing. It rewards others for their work by giving credit, and helps people to explore the internet better through links.

How does this relate to assessment?

Because it is important, referencing comes up in all assessments. In digisoc2 (pecha kucha), you are asked to “make use of your existing knowledge and that of peers to solve and confront new challenges”. For the level on this criterion, you need to make reference to both appropriately. You may have missed out on a top mark because of this, but you can quite easily pick up the skill for digisoc3, where you will be expected to reference any facts/ideas appropriately in your post.

How do I reference in a presentation (e.g. digisoc2)?

You’ve already completed digisoc2 now, but this advice is useful in life — it’s unlikely that you’ve delivered your final PowerPoint.

In any presentation — including your pecha kucha for digisoc2 — it would lower the excitement level somewhat to read out all of your references! It’s more important that the references are there. What you say aloud should mention the author, where they said it, and make it clear what their idea or quote is. Use their real name if they’ve said that’s OK, otherwise their Medium name. Your transcript should contain what you plan to say, and include a link wherever possible (you can add links to text outside of the slide notes and then paste the text in — this is a limitation of PowerPoint — or just include the full link in brackets). Phrase it however feels natural for you.

Example — referring to online content

…as Yuki said in her digisoc1 post, “I could not live without online shopping” — I feel the same way too, as do many people of my age. This is both a challenge and an opportunity for traditional retailers…

If the above were real, the link would go to the post. You would say the above (without reading the link) during your presentation. That’s it!

Example —referring to offline content

Barry mentioned in session 2 that he routinely ignores online and offline advertising. This is a challenge for all companies operating today, but especially those targeting a younger audience…

The link would go to Barry’s Medium profile (if he’s happy with that… we’re not sure as we made him up), or failing that the session page. That’s it!

For more examples, see ‘Including a link’ further down this post.

Where to put the reference

In general you would put a reference like the above in the slide itself if you feel it is very important or you want your audience to read it, otherwise in the notes. In a pecha kucha, you have less time per slide, and minimalism is encouraged, so we recommend you put references in the notes (transcript).

How do I reference in a written post (e.g. digisoc3)?

[Image: a pen on some paper] Written content [ licence]

A blog post is closer in tone to a spoken presentation than it is to an academic paper. Now that you have completed digisoc2 and hopefully seen some other student’s presentations, hopefully you have a good idea of what we mean by this.

Our general advice is to take the same approach as above (How do I reference in a presentation), except you don’t have to read it out!

For links, just include them as part of your text. It is always better to apply the link to text, rather than include the link in full, i.e this is better than this: To apply the link to text, just select some text, click the link icon (or press Ctrl/⌘+K) and paste the link into the box. This doesn’t add to your word count, and there’s no need to include a list of references.

If you want to show a preview with your link, and are happy for it to take up more space, you can embed it instead (or in addition). We don’t include embeds in word counts. Just put the link on its own line and Medium will apply formatting like this:

Examples — linking to ideas from different contexts

[Image: Chain links]. Linking is important when referencing online/in presentations. licence

In digisoc2 you were asked to make use of/refer to your ideas and those of your peers.

You do not have to do this in digisoc3 although we strongly encourage it where relevant. It’s likely that there will be cases where you want to refer to your/your peers’ ideas, so please use this section as a guide.

When referring to ideas, as above, you should include a link if at all possible. This can replace a lot of the information in a ‘traditional’ reference because it provides a source. What you link to may depend what you are referencing. Below is a list covering most cases — please ask us if you are unsure.

  • Idea from a post on Medium (e.g. digisoc1 post), link to the post
  • Idea from a comment on Medium, link to the comment. (click the date on the comment to get its direct link)
  • Idea from a student in a session/‘real life’ /group chat, link to their Medium profile unless they don’t want you to, in which case: give their real name (if they’re happy), say where they said it (e.g. the Internet session/in a study group), and link to the most relevant Topic/Mini Mission page. If there’s nothing to link to just give enough detail so we know the source.
  • Idea from anywhere else — name them and give a link to the webpage, or a page with details about the source (e.g. a book)
  • If the idea came out of a group discussion, name as many members of the group as you can as above, in your notes. When you present, you can shorten it to “As Andrea and others pointed out in a group discussion, …”
  • If you don’t know who said it, and have tried your best to find out, just say something like “As one student mentioned in the Engagement session, …” — however you should only do this if you have no other option
  • If you said it, just say, “as I said in my digisoc1 post” / “as I said in the Mini Mission 1 session” etc. and add a link.
  • If you have chosen to keep your Medium profile separate (anonymous) from your real identity and don’t want to give this away to the class, you can refer to your Medium name as if it were a different person, e.g. “as topsecretblogger99 said on Medium, …” — nobody will know it is you.

As always, any questions, contact the course tutors — we’re happy to help.

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