I first heard about speed referencing at the HEA Teaching Research Skills to Law Students workshop earlier this month. It’s a format for an activity in a referencing workshop – think speed dating meets OSCOLA. I decided to give it a go in my Referencing for Law workshop earlier this week. The workshop started with a traditional introduction to OSCOLA referencing, and the speed referencing activity followed thereafter.
I created 10 referencing exercises – a book, book chapter, journal article, website, UK Act, UK SI, UK case, EU legislation and EU case. A copy of the title page or key information for each item was placed on a table. The students were given a blank worksheet and a copy of the OSCOLA quick guide. They had 90 seconds to reference an item, and then move on to exercise at the next table. The speed referencing activity took about 20 minutes altogether – allowing some time between exercises. At the end of the activity, the students were given a copy of the answers, time to review their results, and to ask questions and receive feedback.
The speed referencing went surprisingly well. The students said they enjoyed the practice. The time constraint made them realise that they could reference legal materials quickly, and that referencing did not have to take forever. Eleven students attended the workshop, so it was a fortunate match of numbers – number of students to number of exercises. The students preferred to stay in their seats around the tables and move the exercises around. This worked well with the number of students, but did detract from the ‘active’ part of the activity. I wonder if students are conditioned to learn while sitting still? It’s certainly not the case for my 5 year old daughter – who appears to learn whilst maintaining a constant state of (com)motion!
I will definitely give speed referencing another go – I am scheduled to teach referencing again to LLM students as part of their dissertation preparation training. I think it’s a fun way to liven up an otherwise dull workshop!