Tag Archives: referencing

Referencing a book is not good enough?

A friend of mine returned her essay, and got a peer evaluation. It said her work was good otherwise, but there were no links to proper reference. She had used a book as a reference, the author and title properly cited.

What? Using a real printed book was the worse option compared to using a website? What is happening to academic writing? I agree with my friend it is a  sad day, if using books as reference instead of links is seen as bad.


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I have the utmost respect for people who spend years of their life doing research, then putting all their collected knowledge into book form.

I am sitting here, doing the very thing. Not for a book, but for an essay on Egyptian-Nubian relations during Middle Kingdom Egypt. Picking up crumbs of knowledge, and baking them into a loaf of information takes a lot of work, creativity, and good memory. And we are the fortunate ones, able to use modern technology. Imagine what a scholar’s world was like before computers. Getting the reference materials, doing your notes by hand, keeping an overall picture in your mind, and finally writing it into a valued scientific research.

I love writing fiction, and I feel having done this scholarly writing according to set rules and Harvard referencing system for five years, has taught me much about fiction writing as well. Not falling too much in love with my own words, being able to cut unnecessary things away, spotting the loose ends that don’t lead anywhere…

Maybe writing a few essays with an absolute word limit would be a good exercise for any writer. Short stories, for example. Condensing your story to 2000 words. Makes you really look at your words, and hone them so they still convey your message.

OK, back to my reference books…