What’s the point in it?
I feel that a lot of students do not like spending much time on accurately and precisely referencing their assignments, because they don’t see a point in it. If you are a first year university student, and you started reading an article found on Google Scholar or your university online library, the name of an author, and perhaps the content of this article might seem so abstract, so remote from your life. Who is this person writing the article? What is she trying to say? And why do I need to acknowledge her in my essay? The article can be a complete mystery, and referencing it properly can be the last thing the student will have on her mind. I was in the same position myself, when I got in trouble for not referencing properly a dozen of articles I used in my International Relations assignment during my Bachelor degree. Soon enough I learnt how to reference properly, but only much later I understood, what the real reason for acknowledging academic literature was. It is basically a gesture of showing respect to someone who shared their knowledge with you. It is like saying thank you for spending years of research and then putting it online for you.
Choose a style guide that is readable and relatable
The most important thing I’ve learnt while teaching how to reference is that every student needs to find a document or a website with referencing rules that suits his or her individual preferences. There is a lot of material out there on how to reference, finding a resource that resonates with your needs is the key.
For example, this is a list of referencing guidelines that worked for me and for some of my students.
There are a lot of websites for generating references automatically, but I think it is important to know how to reference from scratch, using original guidelines. Otherwise, it is easy to fall prey to inaccuracies and misleading information that are inevitable online.