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Answered By: Jeneen LaSee-Willemssen
Last Updated: Mar 04, 2016     Views: 1002

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.

If this answer does not apply to your situation, you many want to visit with your academic dean before submitting a case.