Answered By: Ashley Guy, Nursing Librarian
Last Updated: Jun 21, 2018     Views: 1375

All situations, of course, are unique. The answer below is to provide general guidance:

If a student's in-text citations do not match their references list, it is likely that you have a formatting error or a teachable moment and not an academic integrity issue.

In most of these cases, the student probably:

  • does not understand how to match in-text citations to their references list items
    • perhaps they are listing the title of the source in-text instead of author and date?
    • perhaps they are providing the URL instead of the web page author and date?
  • forgot to create a reference that would match the in-text citation

If none of the student's in-text citations have anything to do with their reference list you might have a bigger issue. Nevertheless, it might simply be a case of completely not understanding the logic of APA. Consider asking the student to explain how their in-text citations connect to their reference list and assessing that answer before trying to determine if there is an integrity problem.

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