Citations and References - From a Research Project to a Journal Article - Conference Proposals and Article Types

Writing for Publication: Transitions and Tools that Support Scholars’ Success - Mary Renck Jalongo, Olivia N. Saracho 2016

Citations and References
From a Research Project to a Journal Article
Conference Proposals and Article Types

In preparation for conducting and writing the study, you will read many previously published articles that directly or indirectly relate to your research. This information helps to “situate” the present study in the body of knowledge (BoK). For instance, studies that (a) helped researchers define their topic and identify the knowledge gaps that need to be filled are cited in the introduction; (b) described measures, materials, and methods that were used in the study are cited in the methodology section; and (c) helped support and interpret the study’s outcomes are cited in the discussion section. Therefore, the accuracy and value of the citations and references become very important (Annesley, 2011).

Rigor in searching for and accuracy in documenting these sources is just as important as statistical precision. In addition to acknowledging others’ contributions, citation of sources reveals other work that influence the present study, aids in drawing conclusions and interpreting the findings, assists editors in identifying suitable peer reviewers, and supports peer reviewers in evaluating the work. To illustrate the importance of accuracy in citing sources, a journal article was sent out for anonymous peer review to several people who were leading authorities and whose names appeared in the reference list. However, not only did the author spell one of the reviewer’s names incorrectly, he also attributed the results of a study to the wrong person. As you can imagine, this did not yield positive reviews and it was not because the reviewers took it personally. Errors of this type call into question, not only the author’s attention to detail but also how conversant she or he is with the subject matter. It is important to check and double-check details to avoid embarrassing errors such as this. References should be accurate, original source documents that have been read and validated by the researcher (Annesley, 2011).

While there are different referencing styles, the one most commonly used with research is the American Psychological Association (APA) style. In APA style, references are cited in the text and are listed in alphabetical order at the end of the manuscript (Derntl, 2014). Each citation that is inserted in the text indicates that the information needs to be credited to a researcher’s previously published and related study. The citation has the name of the author, comma, and the publication date of the cited study. When a citation in a text refers to several authors’ research, these are cited in alphabetical order. These citations are listed alphabetically in the reference section to help other researchers and readers access these published studies (Annesley, 2011). Authors must follow these guidelines for the references section, citing the researchers’ work in the text, and formatting the manuscript. Be aware, however, that each publisher has a “house style” that may deviate slightly from the style manual in use. For example, Springer does not use the comma for in-text citations even though that is APA Style. So, if citing a work by Smith published in 2017, APA would have it as (Smith, 2017) while Springer’s house style is (Smith, 2017).