It has been shown that including citations in writing is of great importance because using them in texts is a form of communication between the writer and his readers. What is more, providing citations makes research look persuasive by drawing attention to different aspects of the topic under study and helps it gain public acceptance and credibility because seeing references to prior research in the text makes a reader trust the author and his ideas. Besides, it helps a reader find out where the message he concerns himself incomes from and where he can find additional information regarding the point of interest. It is also helpful for the writer himself because borrowing ideas from prior research papers help fill in the gaps of a knowledge deficit.
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Using citations is not only important for the writer himself but also for the scientific community because by referencing every borrowed idea the writer gives credit to other scholars. Second, there is a concept known as the ownership of intellectual property and citing every other researcher’s idea is a way to show respect to him. Moreover, it is useful to conducting research because it helps keep track of the evolution of ideas and knowledge in a certain sphere of investigation and sort out what ideas were the first ones and what are the new and based on them. Besides, it helps define in which field of the investigation there is a need to conduct additional research. In this paper, I will characterize and compare the use of citations in three scientific papers.
Method and Materials
A method used in the research is studying additional materials to gain the needed knowledge and using it to characterize and compare citation strategies that were applied in the chosen scientific papers. As the supplementary materials for the study were used the following research papers – Academic Writing: Writing and Reading Across the Disciplines by Janet Giltrow and Academic Attribution: Citations and the Construction of Disciplinary Knowledge by Ken Hyland. As the scholar papers for analysis were studied Ugly Criminals by Naci Mocan and Erdal Tekin as the primary source, Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers’ Looks and Lucre by Jeff E. Biddle and Daniel S. Hamermesh, and Why Beauty Matters by Markus M. Mobius and Tanya S. Rosenblat as the sources for comparison.
As said by Hyland, a citation is a “reference to prior research [that] is central to the social context of persuasion as it can both provide justification for arguments and demonstrate the novelty of one’s position” (341-342). It helps identify the background and a context of research and as well create a certain atmosphere and establish an ethos of a credible author. What is more, by citing ideas of some authors while ignoring the others, the writer may demonstrate his personal attitude to a particular culture, community or area of investigation. Besides the author can highlight the area with the lack of research and prove why his work is noteworthy. The somewhat similar idea on using citations in scholar papers is expressed by Giltrow:
Citation in the research genres represents and enables a range of actions: listening to the statements of others; identifying the position from which the statement comes; evaluating established knowledge and paying attention to the possibility that it may be incomplete, contradictory or even wrong; and watching for opportunities to improve the state of knowledge. (41)
Hyland in his research has found that the amount of citations used in the scholar texts varies among disciplines and that “softer disciplines tend to employ more citations, with engineering and physics well below the average” (346) that means that writers in the fields of sociology, marketing and philosophy refer to other researchers’ papers more often than by contributors to exact sciences who should provide calculations of their own.
Moreover, he found that, notwithstanding the area of study, writers tend to summarize and generalize the ideas of others and keep direct citations to a minimum, so that they better fit in their research (Hyland 348). Finally, in every field of research, authors present their ideas through the prism of earlier studies with, as mentioned above, more citations used in soft sciences than in hard ones, except for biology (Hyland 352).
As the scholar papers for analysis, I chose Ugly Criminals by Naci Mocan and Erdal Tekin as the primary source, Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers’ Looks and Lucre by Jeff E. Biddle and Daniel S. Hamermesh, and Why Beauty Matters by Markus M. Mobius and Tanya S. Rosenblat that the author of the primary research paper used for reference as the sources for comparison.
In the principal research paper, the authors use a lot of citations. The first thing that grabs attention is that the thesis statement of their work consists of the main findings of the papers they use as the references stating that beautiful people get better jobs and receive higher wages than those of average looks (Mocan and Tekin 15). Further on the authors describe the findings applied to in the thesis in more details based on what draws the novelty and noteworthiness of their research, namely if beauty affects success in school and work, then it should have an impact on the level of committing crimes (Mocan and Tekin 15). In the conclusion, they state that being attractive reduces the possibility of committing a crime because the more attractive a person is, the better socioeconomic status he or she enjoys and again cite other researchers’ findings to find out whether they correlate (Mocan and Tekin 29).
The principal research paper is the work on social psychology. As found by Hyland in his research, it has many references to prior research that are generalized and summarized not used directly to fit in the research. As stated by both Hyland and Giltrow, citations are used to define the field of investigation and the area in which there is a need for additional research. What is more, they are applied to highlight the possibility to improve the knowledge and draw the novelty of the paper.
Speaking of one of the primary paper’s references, Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers’ Looks and Lucre by Jeff E. Biddle and Daniel S. Hamermesh, the authors as well use citations to define the background for research and the area in which there is a need to improve knowledge, more specifically fill the gap between empirical and theoretical researches on labor discrimination (Biddle and Hamermesh 173). They use prior research for the data and some theoretical background but, unlike the authors of the principal paper, they provide more calculations of their own and fewer citations. What is also similar between the two works is that their authors use what is known as self-referencing, i.e. referring to earlier works of their own.
One more reference used in the principal research paper is Why Beauty Matters by Markus M. Mobius and Tanya S. Rosenblat. The authors also use many citations but for their thesis statement, they apply to the findings of their earlier work. Further on, they refer to other researchers to define the background for their paper and draw up the novelty, namely a phenomenon known as beauty premium in the workplace (Mobius and Rosenblat 173). Throughout the paper, they rarely refer to other researchers except for the results of similar experiments and theoretical background. If compared, two scholarly types of research have a lot in common when speaking of purposes of citing, but in the paper of Mobius and Rosenblat, there are fewer citations used and more calculations of their own provided.
The key result of this paper is the analysis of the chosen scholarly works and the comparison of the main motives of citation usage. It has been found that the authors of the chosen scientific papers all applied to citations out of reasons described by Ken Hyland and Janet Giltrow, namely to identify the background for research, define the area that needs improvement of knowledge and draw up the novelty of their works. What is different is that in one of the papers, Why Beauty Matters by Markus M. Mobius and Tanya S. Rosenblat, the authors did not use self-referencing because it was their first research on the topic.
What is more, the authors used them to gather the ideas of different researchers on the topic of interest. Furthermore, speaking of all three articles, Hyland was proven to be right when he said that all scientific writers use citations summarizing and generalizing the main ideas of other researchers instead of direct quoting them and that the contributors to soft sciences use them more than those having the interest in exact sciences.
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So, in this paper, I conducted research on linguistic sources to define the importance of using citations in research papers. Having stated that applying to prior research is significant to credible and persuasive writing, I gave the examples proving by choosing three scientific papers and analyzing and comparing the motives under which the authors used citations.
In the introduction to his article, Ken Hyland says that “one of the most important realizations of the research writer’s concern for the audience is that of reporting, or reference to prior research” (341). This definition demonstrates the relationship between the importance of using citations and the reader’s trust in the writer. Ugly Criminals by Naci Mocan and Erdal Tekin provide rich evidence for proving this statement. To date, relatively little attention has been paid to the significance of the citation usage, so this paper will focus on proving it.
My study will be informed by Academic Writing: Writing and Reading Across the Disciplines by Janet Giltrow and Academic Attribution: Citations and the Construction of Disciplinary Knowledge by Ken Hyland. In my description of Ugly Criminals, I intend to demonstrate the importance of using citations in scientific writing. The above mentioned scholarly papers by Giltrow and Hyland provide useful frameworks that can be taken into consideration and applied while writing a paper.
Biddle, Jeff E. and Hamermesh, Daniel S. “Beauty, Productivity, and Discrimination: Lawyers’ Looks and Lucre.” Journal of Labor Economics. 16.1 (1998): 172–201. Print.
Giltrow, Janet. Academic Writing: Writing and Reading Across the Disciplines. 3rd ed. 2002. Ontario, Canada: Broadview Press. Print.
Hyland, Ken. “Academic Attribution: Citations and the Construction of Disciplinary Knowledge.” Applied Linguistics. 20.3 (1999): 341-367. Oxford Journals Database. Web.
Mobius, Markus M., and Rosenblat, Tanya S. “Why Beauty Matters.” American Economic Review. 96.1 (2006): 222–235: Print.
Mocan, Naci and Tekin, Erdal. “Ugly Criminals.” The Review of Economics and Statistics. 92.1 (2010): 15-30. Print.