Examining the Reference Management Practices of Humanities and Social Science Postgraduate Students and Academics

Anne Melles, Kathryn Unsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


An examination of Library and Information Studies literature about scholarly communication reveals that less attention has been paid to the outcomes of reference management instruction in academic libraries than on comparisons and evaluations of reference management software (RMS) and surveys of levels of its use. While there are studies examining the reference management practices of academics and students, the practices of those not using RMS have remained largely unexplored. This article reports on the findings of a small-scale applied research project aimed at understanding the reference management practices of postgraduate students and academics in the Arts Faculty at Monash University. A questionnaire was completed by 81 students and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 8 students and 13 academics in the Faculty. Analysis shows that the reference management practices detailed in this study are individual and personal, and do not always involve the use of RMS. The reasons for adopting these practices are informed by a wide range of institutional and personal factors. RMS use itself is also varied, with few of the interviewees utilising all the core features of the software. A broader approach to reference management instruction and support would increase the relevance of library instruction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249 - 274
Number of pages26
JournalAustralian Academic & Research Libraries
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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