• Why Cite?

    [Swales & Feak]

     Citations are widely recognized as being an important and distinctive property of academic texts. Indeed, the very presence or absence of citations allows the casual reader to get an immediate sense of whether a text is an “academic” or “popular” one. 'Because citation is such an obvious surface phenomenon, it has been much discussed in the academic world. Indeed, there are several theories about the role and purpose of citations in academic texts. ...

     1.  This theory is widely proposed in manuals and standard practice guides.

     Citations are used to recognize and acknowledge the intellectual property rights of authors. They are a matter of ethics an( a defense against plagiarism ...

     2. This theory has many supporters, especially in well established fields like the sciences.

     Citations are used to show respect to previous scholars. They recognize the history of the field by acknowledging previous achievements.

     The remaining theories have been proposed by individual authors

     3.  Ravetz 1971:

     Citations operate as a kind of mutual reward system. Rather than pay other authors money for their contributions, writers "pay" them in citations.

     4. Gilbert 1977:

     Citations are tools of persuasion; writers use citations to give their statements greater authority.

     5. Bavelas 1978:

     Citations are used to supply evidence that the author qualifies as a member of the chosen scholarly community; citations are used to demonstrate familiarity with the field.

     6. Swales 1991:

     Citations axe used to create a research space for the citing author. By describing what has been done, citations point the way to what has not been done and so prepare a space for new research.

     Swales, John M and Christine B. Feak. Academic Writing for Graduate Students. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P., 1994. 180-1.

     For educational purposes only.  Reproduced under fair use for classroom use only.


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