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In the academic world, various forms of written communications have been identified. Much of the documented work has proved to be valuable to different people as they try to expand their knowledge on various issues that affect their lives and the environment that they live in.
While some writers rely on legitimate means such as intensive reading and carrying out research exercises prior to writing their work so as to increase their likelihood of conveying genuine facts, others resort to the illegal and non-conventional means of cheating such as plagiarism. According to Hyland (2000), a citation facilitates the writer in describing the background to which the facts or issues of contention under discussion help to shed some light on.
As such, this paper shall discuss source citation as being among best examples of academic research practices that should be used by students to prove the legitimacy of the works they submit as their own. This shall be done by providing a literature review of various works that emphasize on the importance of citing the sources from which information contained in a student work was retrieved.
Citation: Literature review
As has been mentioned above, citation in academic writing refers to the writer’s inclusion of all sources used to gather the information used to write down any form of document. Arguably, citing sources is among the outstanding features of academic conversations (Swales, 1990). There are various styles which have been developed over the years to assist students reference their work in an ethical (properly without violating the rights of the original author) manner.
As Hyland (2000) stated, accrediting the sources used by citing it accordingly, the writer shows his/her affiliation and loyalty to a particular niche of people, allows other readers to critique his/her work and creates a positive reputation for him/herself as a writer who respects others and depicts ethical practices as a professional writer (Hyland, 2000). Some of the citation styles include but are not limited to MLA, APA, HAVARD, CHICAGO-TURABIAN and OXFORD among others.
The main aim of these citation styles is to equip students with the necessary skills needed to give credit to authors whose works have been integrated in the student’s written project. Though they make differ in appearance and arrangement, these citation styles encourage students to name the author(s), the title of the work, place and date of publication and the publisher’s name. In some styles, page numbers of information used is required.
In their article on analyzing citations, Thompson and Tribble (2001) asserted that idea integration between the source’s ideas and the arguments being proposed by the writer is among the reasons as to why referencing is required in a writer’s written work.
In addition, the authors further stated that through references, a writer is able to relay what other people have found out about the topic under discussion, highlight the flaws present in other peoples’ arguments or, side with a particular group of people who share common beliefs and perceptions as those of the writer regarding various issues (Thompson & Tribble, 2001).
According to Hyland (2000), a citation facilitates the writer in describing the background to which the facts or issues of contention under discussion help to shed some light on. Similarly, citations have proven to be of great assistance to modern academic writers who use them as communication tools geared towards developing facts about various issues. Besides being used to convey ideas forwarded by other writers in their work, a citation is an essential attribute in research articles (Hyland, 2000).
In his book Disciplinary Discourses; Social Interactions in Academic Writing, Hyland (2000) claimed that in today’s society, citations played a pivotal role in assisting writers to develop facts through the works that they write. Hyland (2000) further stated that evidence of this could be cited from the high rate at which modern academic writers use citations as an essential tool through which the writer’s ideas can be supported to be facts in their works.
On the same note, Hyland (1999) stated that verbs used in reporting were of great importance due to the fact that they enabled the writer to express in detail, the nature of the activity being reported, all the while allowing them to come up with an attitude regarding the information and indicate whether or not the readers should buy into the arguments being forwarded by the reporter.
Additionally, Swales and Feak (2004), states that while citing sources, a writer has options when it comes to deciding which tense to use when writing down the reporting verb. To support this claim, the authors use an example of a single citation which by changing the tense of the reporting verb from past to present perfect and finally to present tense, shows that the researcher has been doing the reported research for a while and as a result, he has a closer connection to the research than when he started.
Hyland (2000) further supports this claim by stating that reporting verbs are important in citations. From his discussion, it can be inferred that Hyland (2000) acknowledges the roles played by reporting verbs and the tenses used to report them. This assertion can be backed by the fact that the author mentions this shared sentiment as one of the important features of a citation.
However, Hyland (2000) further extends his analysis on features of a good citation by mentioning that other than the presence of a relevantly tensed reporting verb, the difference between integral and non-integral citation structures is the other important feature towards which researchers have directed significant interest.
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On matters regarding to these citation structures, Swales (1990) states that when the name of the researcher is integrated within the sentence and becomes part of the sentence, that is what is referred to as an integral citation. Hyland (2000) alternatively describes an integral citation as a form of citation in which the author of the cited work is used as an important part in conveying an idea.
Hyland (2000) then compares this type of citation to a non-integral citation which in his definition is described as a citation in which the name of the researcher is not included in the sentence but is referenced elsewhere in parenthesis, or appears elsewhere within the work in form of a superscript or in a different format (Swales, 1990).
However, Hyland (1999) declares that the choice to use either the integral or non-integral form of citation is dependant on whether the writer wants to emphasize on the source’s author or the message that is being reported.
This paper set out to present a literature review on documented facts regarding citations in academic writing. From the discussion herein, the importance and functions of citation have been provided. As such, prospective as well as professional writers should ensure that they give credit where its due as they do their research and document their ideas.
Hyland, K. (1999). Academic attribution: Citation and the Construction of Disciplinary Knowledge. Applied Linguistics, 20(3), 341-367. Web.
Hyland, K. (2000). Disciplinary Discourses; Social Interactions in Academic Writing. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.
Swales, J. M. (1990). Genre Analysis: English in academic and research settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Swales, J. M., & Feak, C. B. (2004). Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills (2nd ed). Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
Thompson, P., & Tribble, C. (2001). Looking at Citations: Using Corpora in English for Academic Purposes. Language, Learning and Technology, 5(3), 90-102. Web.