Journal Article

Academic attribution: citation and the construction of disciplinary knowledge

K Hyland

in Applied Linguistics

Volume 20, issue 3, pages 341-367
Published in print September 1999 | ISSN: 0142-6001
Published online September 1999 | e-ISSN: 1477-450X | DOI:
Academic attribution: citation and the construction of disciplinary knowledge

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In this paper I explore the ways in which academic citation practices contribute to the construction of disciplinary knowledge. Based on the analysis of a computer corpus of 80 research articles and interviews with experienced writers, the study investigates the contextual variability of citations in eight disciplines and suggests how textual conventions point to distinctions in the ways knowledge is typically negotiated and confirmed within different academic communities. Clear disciplinary differences are identified in both the extent to which writers refer to the work of others and in how they depict the reported information. Writers in the humanities and social sciences employed substantially more citations than scientists and engineers, and were more likely to use integral structures, to employ discourse reporting verbs, and to represent cited authors as adopting a stance to their material. It is argued that these differences in citation practices are related to the fact that the academics actively participate in knowledge construction as members of professional groups and that their discoursal decisions are influenced by, and deeply embedded in, the epistemological and social conventions of their disciplines.

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Subjects: Linguistics ; Language Teaching Theory and Methods

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