Do unis actually check essay references?

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Anonymous #1
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As in, thoroughly?
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artful_lounger
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You're writing an essay for an academic familiar with the field who is also reading probably 20-100 other essays on the same topic. They can in most cases pretty quickly figure out where a) you've selected totally random and irrelevant titles and b) where you've referenced something but clearly not understood it. They know which texts are going to be relevant for the essay questions set and will be familiar with their contents usually, so I'm pretty sure that it will be quickly picked up. The exception is if you pick as a reference something relevant but quite niche - then they might not have read that particular book/article. But it'll probably stand out to them and lead them to look it up...
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StarLinyx
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In my experience no, unless they really don't like you and are obsessed with catching you out with something (yes some lecturers are nutters, but only a few of them). As long as the format is correct, and turn-it-in doesn't raise anything serious.
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gjd800
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I do
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random_matt
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My experience is it depends how anal the lecturer is.
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gjd800
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
You're writing an essay for an academic familiar with the field who is also reading probably 20-100 other essays on the same topic. They can in most cases pretty quickly figure out where a) you've selected totally random and irrelevant titles and b) where you've referenced something but clearly not understood it. They know which texts are going to be relevant for the essay questions set and will be familiar with their contents usually, so I'm pretty sure that it will be quickly picked up. The exception is if you pick as a reference something relevant but quite niche - then they might not have read that particular book/article. But it'll probably stand out to them and lead them to look it up...
Yes, pretty much this
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
You're writing an essay for an academic familiar with the field who is also reading probably 20-100 other essays on the same topic.
Exactly. So they're most likely not to check every essays' references. It will just be a quick look
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Exactly. So they're most likely not to check every essays' references. It will just be a quick look
Checking the bibliography is probably one of the quickest and easiest ways for an academic to get a quick "temperature reading" on an essay I think tbh. I'd be very surprised if they didn't check it and maybe look at any "outliers" in there (or immediately begin to wonder if you've failed to reference some key paper in your area). They will also probably check your referencing is consistent and appropriate in terms of plagiarism issues.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by StarLinyx)
In my experience no, unless they really don't like you and are obsessed with catching you out with something (yes some lecturers are nutters, but only a few of them). As long as the format is correct, and turn-it-in doesn't raise anything serious.
This is what I assumed, too. I've previously added sources in the bibliography that I didn't even use in the essay, just to increase the appearance that I did a lot of research for my work. Nobody's ever said anything

Pretty sure I also made some referencing mistakes other times, too. Was almost never told anything. Just got a little friendly warning in feedback a couple times
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Anonymous #2
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(Original post by Anonymous)
This is what I assumed, too. I've previously added sources in the bibliography that I didn't even use in the essay, just to increase the appearance that I did a lot of research for my work. Nobody's ever said anything

Pretty sure I also made some referencing mistakes other times, too. Was almost never told anything. Just got a little friendly warning in feedback a couple times
Bibliography padding - it depends on the level of other issues with the essay as to whether this gets mentioned: don't think it's because it's not been noticed, but it's more likely that there are even bigger issues. A "friendly warning" in feedback is something you shouldn't get more than once - it won't go your way if you end up in front of an academic integrity panel, as your department will be able to show you've had this raised previously.
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lucyyy12
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(Original post by Anonymous)
As in, thoroughly?
yes mine do
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mt_zz
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(Original post by Anonymous)
This is what I assumed, too. I've previously added sources in the bibliography that I didn't even use in the essay, just to increase the appearance that I did a lot of research for my work. Nobody's ever said anything

Pretty sure I also made some referencing mistakes other times, too. Was almost never told anything. Just got a little friendly warning in feedback a couple times
It's not a good idea to make this a habit, bibliography padding is a form of academic misconduct, just like plagiarism. Perhaps you haven't been caught yet, but the last thing you want is to be caught out on an important assignment and suffer serious consequences.
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DrSocSciences
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Bibliography omissions are my pet hate. Learn how to cite in your first term and your teaching staff will think better of you for the duration. Being confident with your references will also remove a huge amount of stress by the time you reach your longer submissions. So, yes, on the whole, unis do check references for assessed coursework.
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artful_lounger
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Note that technically speaking a bibliography, in contrast to a reference list or works cited list, contains all texts you consulted in the writing of a piece of work - even if you don'tt directly cite it. So in principle "bibliography padding" to a point might go unnoticed if they don't have any reason to believe you hadn't read it based on your understanding that was demonstrated.

It is however pointless since then you've learned nothing from the thing you listed in your bibliography, and learning about this stuff is why you're at uni in the first place!
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xxx0xxxo
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I think they are prone to silly mistakes like everyone else, i've had the odd mistake with my bibliography that has never been picked up on by multiple tutors, and at a top ranked uni too. If it's a silly mistake of yours it's more likely to be forgiven but if you have a poorly compiled bibliography/sources altogether, or it's not in the right order, or inconsistent in style then of course it will be an issue.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Note that technically speaking a bibliography, in contrast to a reference list or works cited list, contains all texts you consulted in the writing of a piece of work - even if you don'tt directly cite it. So in principle "bibliography padding" to a point might go unnoticed if they don't have any reason to believe you hadn't read it based on your understanding that was demonstrated.
Yeah this is why I do it. Because bibliography isn't only for what you've directly cited. It's simply for what you used/read, too.

How would they know what I've read?
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Yeah this is why I do it. Because bibliography isn't only for what you've directly cited. It's simply for what you used/read, too.

How would they know what I've read?
Well if you've demonstrably failed to understand some key point of theory covered in one of the listed texts they might have a suspicion...
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Reality Check
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(Original post by Anonymous)
Yeah this is why I do it. Because bibliography isn't only for what you've directly cited. It's simply for what you used/read, too.

How would they know what I've read?
I check references. If there are some unusual papers, or a particularly long reference list, then I make a point of checking them.

I think that what you've written above speaks more to a slight problem with your attitude towards academic work (in the nicest possible way). It shouldn't be some exercise in trying to hoodwink the 'teacher' - the point of not doing it is that it is not helping your learning or academic development. In the end, you're just cheating yourself and wasting time - and why would you want to do that?
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Final Fantasy
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If you’re thinking about cheating, don’t.
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Anonymous #1
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(Original post by Reality Check)
I check references. If there are some unusual papers, or a particularly long reference list, then I make a point of checking them.

I think that what you've written above speaks more to a slight problem with your attitude towards academic work (in the nicest possible way). It shouldn't be some exercise in trying to hoodwink the 'teacher' - the point of not doing it is that it is not helping your learning or academic development. In the end, you're just cheating yourself and wasting time - and why would you want to do that?
It's not that deep.

When I say I sometimes add sources I didn't use, I'm talking one. Maybe two. This doesn't mean that my essay was bad or that I don't have a good understanding of the work. It's just to help avoid the possibility of the marker thinking I didn't use enough material and subsequently mark me down significantly based on this thought.
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