Henrik Johan Ibsen, the Norwegian playwright and theatre director, once said, “A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed.” Unfortunately, after his death, this quote was plagiarized and para-phrased into what we know today.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
But motion picture has completely changed the way we consume data. Not only does it enable us to take in more information in a short time, but it also makes the information more credible. Hearing it straight from the source makes a difference.
Robert Kennedy College (RKC) is pleased to share with you, our readers, students, alumni, and potential students a series of video interviews with some of our graduates, sharing their challenges and tips and tricks for successful studies. It does not matter the programme or the university these students graduated from, they were all students of RKC, they all faced similar challenges in doing a master’s programme online, they all faced a decision – to do or not to do an online master’s degree.
Here is your chance to hear directly from our students and hopefully help you make an informed decision, to help you study better, or simply to motivate you to live your dreams and to achieve your goals.
Meet Christina, RKC alumni and graduate of York St John University, as she shares her thoughts and decision-making process on why she choose to get back to studying and the challenges she faced.
Hopefully this interview has answered some your questions about RKC and doing a master’s programme online, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for a more personalised discussion of your needs and best match with the programmes we offer, and the application process.
In my previous blog, I wrote a step-by-step guide on how to write an effective abstract for academic papers. Continuing further in the same direction, this week I would like to discuss referencing and citations. As I mentioned earlier, writing an abstract is not rocket science, and neither are referencing and citating.
Now, referencing is an important academic practice. But it becomes even more important when you are studying at University level. It is thus imperative to understand the correct way to reference and cite your sources in your master’s degree assignments, academic papers, or dissertation. This blog is your one-stop shop about what, how and where, style guides, and examples of referencing and citations.
So, first things first, what is the difference between referencing and citations?
While undertaking your masters’ studies, you will constantly hear from your professors to reference your work and cite the sources of your research and ideas.
As the name suggests, referencing refers to the source of work that you used in your paper. The readers should be able to find and read for themselves the original source of information that one has read or considered in their academic piece.
Citations, on the other hand, are brief mentions of the author or the external source used in writing the paper. A citation is, in other words, an abbreviated reference. While both inform the reader of the sources of information used, there is a fine difference between a reference and a citation. Here are some key differences between references and citations:
A reference is a complete record of the source that has been sought or cited in the paper.
A citation is disclosing the source within the main body and thus is also referred to as an ‘in-text’ citation. It provides just basic information such as the authors’ names, year of publication, and perhaps the page number if a sizeable quote is provided.
References are listed at the end of the document, on a page having its own title (“List of references”, “References”, “Works cited”).
Citations are presented within the body of the document where we speak of the ideas or results of the source we are citing..
References provide the reader with information such as the authors’ names, the publication date, the title (of the book or article), page numbers, publisher and place of publishing, etc.
A citation provides less information, such as the last names of the authors and the publication year, such that it does not disrupt the reading flow.
Both references and citations give credit to the authors whose ideas have been discussed in your work, in addition to supporting or criticizing an argument. This is additionally critical to avoid plagiarism in academic writing (topic for another blog!).
Different styles of referencing and citating
Different academic disciplines prefer specific referencing styles. In business programmes (such as the MBAs, MSc’s), you will often be asked to use Harvard or APA styles, whereas in Law programmes (LLM, LLB) you will most often be asked to use Oxford or OSCOLA. You should always check the programme handbooks and assignment briefs, and in doubt, with your instructor what referencing style they expect for the assignment or academic paper you are writing.
The references should be regrouped on a new page at the end of the paper. This list gives the complete information to identify and locate all sources used in the paper. There should be a corresponding entry in the list of references for all in-text citations that were used. References typically follow an alphabetical order of authors’ last names but under certain styles the order of appearance will rather be used.
Among the different styles used by different disciplines, here are the 6 most frequently used styles in writing academic papers, each with a very specific purpose they fulfil:
APA (6th or 7th Edition)
The style guides specify the kind of information and how it should be displayed for different types of sources (books, articles, websites, images, ebooks, etc.) – ensuring consistency across not only your work, but across the entire field of study that uses that style.
At first look, these may all seem complicated, and daunting, but there are tools that can help you manage your sources, references, and citations.
For example, Word has a tool called “Citations & Bibliography” which allows you to enter your sources in a database (“Manage Sources”), to insert in-text citations that are automatically updated if needed (“Insert citation”), and to generate your list of references (“Bibliography”) according to the specific style you need (“Style”).
External tools also exist, such as Zotero, Mendeley, EndNote, or CiteThemRight – which have pretty much the same functionalities – managing your references with one of these tools will save you a gigantic among of time and effort, so by all means, pick the one that works best for you and run with it.
I promised you some examples, so here goes:
Harvard / APA styles
Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2019), or Saunders et al. (2019), when the author’s names are part of the sentence, or (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, 2019) or (Saunders et al., 2019) when they are not.
Reference list entry
Saunders, M. N. K., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2019) Research methods for business students. Eighth Edition. New York: Pearson.
Oxford style (OSCOLA)
OSCOLA uses numeric references, with the full reference given in a correspondingly numbered footnote. So, in your text, you would simply put a superscript number by inserting a footnote1 and then the footnote would contain the reference as:
Mark NK Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill, Research Methods for Business Students (Eighth Edition, Pearson 2019).
Reference list entry
Saunders MNK, Lewis P and Thornhill A, Research Methods for Business Students (Eighth Edition, Pearson 2019)
Note the difference between the footnote reference and reference list entry – in the footnote, you give the author names in “firstname, lastname” format, whereas in the reference list you give it in “lastname, f.” format.
If this looks complicated, it is! 😊 Which is why I reiterate my advice to use a reference management tool – whichever one works for you.
Hope this prepares you well for writing your academic paper or assignments. If you are stuck or have any questions, our highly qualified, world class faculty will guide you through using the correct methods and techniques for referencing and citations.
What is the best way to study online? Should you do an online programme? How to better manage time when learning online?
These are all questions that we at Robert Kennedy College (RKC) get asked regularly by students who are looking to join one of our online programmes. Undertaking to do an online master’s degree programme will be an additional commitment to your time and finances, and it is wise to get information beforehand, cross your T’s and dot your I’s before making your decision.
Through this continuing series of blog posts, some of our past and current students have shared their thoughts and opinions and given their feedback on handling some of these choices and situations. Hopefully, this will help you to make an informed decision.
Learning from those who came before you is smart. I am not asking you to follow what they are saying blindly, but to take what they said worked for them and see if it will work for you, maybe make a few changes (or a lot). In the end, only you know what works best for you!
Anthony Cairns is one of our successful students who graduated with a Master of Arts degree in Leading Innovation and Change (This programme has been discontinued, we now offer a 100% Online MBA in Leading Innovation and Change in its stead). Anthony says that his experience in doing an MA via RKC resulted in his now doing a PhD.
Once you get the academia bug, there is no stopping the roller coaster! 😉
Anthony Cairns, RKC Graduate
Who you are, really?
I am a software test management consultant, specialising in software testing, governance, and ISO standards.
Which Uni are you studying with?
I studied with York St John University for my MA.
Which programme did you choose and why?
MA in Leading Innovation and Change
The Study Plan
How did you plan to study each module, and what was the reality? For example, how many hours did/do you have to put in each day/or in a week?
I decided to study 2 modules at the same time, the reality being that I achieved this, but with detriment to perhaps I could have gained higher marks had I studied one at a time. But the end result was I managed to gain my MA in less time than I would have otherwise taken. Although I was working full-time as a contract consultant test manager, I worked every evening from around 7pm until about midnight. I then got up early at around 6am to do a couple of more hours before going to the office.
What part of the day did/do you find most suitable to study? (e.g. early mornings, lunch break, evenings, weekends?)
I used to personally love the 8pm to midnight, as well as the 6am (if not earlier).
How much time did you devote for each assignment?
Hard to say when I did 2 at the same time, but perhaps I estimate about 20-30 hours each week across 2 modules.
Travelling and Communication
How did travelling impact your ability to study?
Not at all, as when I travelled it was via flight and it gave me extra time to work on my MA.
How were you able to interact with peers and/or professors given the time differences?
There was no real time difference as such as I worked whatever time I need to allocate to get the work done and delivered.
A typical day as a master’s student
What does a typical day as an Online Masters’ student look like for you?
Get up early, do some University work. Go and perform my daily paid-for-work. Get back (to home or hotel), then do another couple of hours before dinner. Stop for an hour or so for dinner, then do another 3-5 hours after dinner in the evening.
Any advice you have for students to better plan their studies.
Perhaps work on a single module at a time. Take all the advice you get from your supervisor, as they have been there many times before. Read, read, read, then read some more. Research is paramount. Give advice and guidance to fellow students who may need a little help and guidance. I did this all the time and found it also personally very rewarding.
I hope this blog has answered some of your questions, and please watch this place for more similar blogs. You can also chat LIVE on WhatsApp with one of our Education Advisors for more information on all the programmes we offer, and the application process.
The Dean of Robert Kennedy College, Dr. iur. David Costa recently held an online presentation and live discussion session about our 100% Online BA, MSc, MBA, and LLM programmes. The online Master’s programmes are offered in exclusive partnerships with the University of Cumbria, the University of Salford, and York St John University. The participants – the potential and current students accepted into our programmes – had a chance to ask the Dean questions directly.
Introducing the Dean
Professor David Costa is one of the founders of Robert Kennedy College. In his current capacity as Dean of Faculty, he oversees the faculty review process and several of the college’s academic programmes.
He holds a Dr. iur. (Doctor Iuris, Doctor of Laws) degree from the University of Basel, Switzerland, where he researched the law and regulations related to synthetic investment products. With other Law degrees from Scotland (Robert Gordon University, LL.B), England (the University of Northumbria at Newcastle, LL.M International Trade Law), and the United States (Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, LL.M in U.S. Law), he has acquired extensive expertise in Comparative Law.
In addition to his legal qualifications, Dr Costa holds a BA in Business Studies from the University of Derby, an MBA in eCommerce from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, a PhD in Strategy, Programme, and Project Management from the École Supérieure de Commerce de Lille for which his doctoral thesis was a study of index-based commodity investments.
David is a frequent guest on business TV channels such as CNBC Europe and Bloomberg Television. His recent research on risk-adjusted portfolios with both stocks and commodities has been used for the creation of a Swiss publicly traded investment certificate issued by the second-largest German Bank, Commerzbank AG. In addition, he is the author of The Portable Private Banker.
Professor David Costa lectures at Robert Kennedy College in Contracts Law, Transnational Business Law, Investment Law and Money Management
Professor David Costa began with a short presentation providing details about each of our exclusive partner universities. Then, he introduced the programmes offered – the MBAs, MSc, LL.Ms, and the BA (Hons) that was recently added to the list of the wide range of programmes RKC offers. He then gave the programme overview and explained what makes our Master’s programmes so unique. Here are some of the highlights that set RKC’s Online programmes apart:
Duration – Minimum 12 months and maximum 5 years
Contemporary, practical courses
No Exams. Evaluation based on assessments
100% online courses
British Degrees that are recognized worldwide
Further, he dived into the real reason they were all gathered together, and it was the pursuit of higher and quality education. David himself has been studying for over 20 years. With several academic degrees and two PhDs, he said that education had been his best investment, and each programme he studied gave him the best return on investment. He went on to tell why:
Discovering new horizons
Applicable learning – learn it today and apply it today!
Finally, the Q&A round! The Dean himself answered several questions by the students from the questions about the programme, the payment plan, eligibility requirements, the study schedules, and many more.
Watch the recordings of the live sessions held by Dr. iur. David Costa to find out for yourself if any questions that you might have have already been answered.
It is indeed a very informative session. Would you like to attend a similar session in the future? Let us know in the comments section below, and we will notify you of the dates for future live session.