Your writing will be a mixture of your own conclusions and those of others. How do you clearly indicate which is which? This page from the Learning Advisers at the University of Queensland’s Student Services works through an example to show you how to make it explicit whose idea was whose in your writing.
It’s not often we directly quote other authors in scientific writing, but when we do, it is important to know how to properly quote the material. This page has advice about when to use quotation marks and when to indent the quote, as well as how to cite the author and page number.
Sometimes you need the Endnote citation to look different to what comes up automatically. I have already discussed (in this previous post) how to change (Smith, 2001) to Smith (2001) so that you can put the author’s name in a sentence like this:
“Smith (2001) found that 6 of 8 dogs treated with…..”
But what if you want to write a sentence like this?
“There have been many published reviews of this issue (for example Smith, 2001).”
If you just insert the citation as you normally would you get this, which has too many brackets.
So instead you can format the Endnote citation to have a prefix. Start by inserting the citation the regular way, without putting it in brackets or writing “for example”. Then select the citation and, on the Endnote ribbon, go to Citations > Edit and Manage Citation(s).
The Edit and Manage Citations pane will open. Type “for example ” in the prefix section. Don’t forget the space after “example”. Then press ok.
Now your citation will be changed to look like this (except not purple!).
You can use the same text to add any words before or after the citation that will appear within the brackets along with the reference. Have a play and you will see how easy it is to get it just right.
Citation distortion occurs when you do not accurately represent what the literature is saying. There are several varieties of this that you should avoid, as this article from the Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library at Emory University explains.
There are two main systems of citations and referencing. One uses the author’s name and the date of publication in the sentence where you are citing the source and lists the full references in alphabetical order in the reference list. The other uses a number as the citation (often superscripted) to indicate the number of the reference in the reference list. The reference list is arranged in the order in which references appear in the text.
Many people prefer the numbered system as they find the author names and dates difficult to read around. However, this is because they are trying to read around them when they shouldn’t be. Instead they should be reading them too because they contain valuable information. Author names and dates let you see instantly, as you read the sentence, where the information is coming from and when the research was done. When you are reading several papers on the same topic, a lot of the sources will be the same and you will start to recognise them by name and year. This is difficult in a numbered system because in one paper Smith (2002) might be number 16 and in the other it might be number 27. Hard to tell these are the same reference unless you keep flipping to the back. The numbered system is therefore actually slower.
The numbered system also makes it difficult to find references in a paper as they are not in alphabetical order. You can’t quickly see if a paper you have picked up has reviewed a particular source. Luckily with electronic versions you can get around this easily with a search, but it’s still an extra step.
Knowing the authorship of papers as you read them, and read reviews of them, is an important part of coming to grips with a body of literature. It’s the who’s who of the subject. So is knowing the history – the dates things were published – as it helps build the picture of discovery and can help you interpret older literature (published before some other things were known) and newer literature (published after some other things were known). Also it helps you to become part of the research community you are working in. You need to know who else is in that community and its history. You want to recognise other researcher’s names when you see they are speaking at a conference and you want to know which is their work when you meet them.
As you become more familiar with reading and writing with author-date systems it becomes easier. What at first might seem like clutter becomes useful information that helps you link the information to other information you already know. While journals often use a numbered system for space-saving reasons, you should always write using an author-date system. If the journal requires a numbered system you can always change over easily when you are done writing. That’s easy with reference management software like EndNote.
If you are doing any academic writing you will need to acknowledge your sources. Endnote is a reference management tool which helps you to store references, find them, and automatically create citations and reference lists that are correctly formatted. You can change the reference formatting at the touch of a button.
For example you may prefer to write using an author-date style of citation. This style includes the names of the authors you are citing in brackets within the text. I recommend you use this method when writing because it allows you to become more familiar with who is who in the world in which you are writing. You will start to recognise key works by their authors names. But the journal you are writing for may require you to use a numbered citation formatting. Endnote can switch between these easily. It will reorganise the reference list appropriately switching it from alphabetical order to the order citations appear all by itself.
Endnote allows you to store references, search the full text and annotate them. No more lost references in the piles on the study floor. You can also download citations ad the full text of references directly from the library databases while searching.
You will save uncountable hours of work if you use Endnote right from the start, when you first start reading for writing. The following introduction to Endnote will help you get around the software and start using it.