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Citation Function Analysis in Two or More Discourses

Leslie Bruce

Different disciplines cite sources for different reasons, and they use different methods and styles as they
attribute information to those sources. In this exercise, you will analyze two excerpts from journal
articles to analyze these variations.

Student Instructions:
With your group, read the pages you’ve selected from a journal article in your discipline, making notes
about how each citation is functioning (see the non-exhaustive list of possible functions below for
ideas). Do the same thing for one of the excerpts provided by your instructor—ensure that you choose
an article from a different discipline. Fill in the chart below (add rows as necessary). Afterwards, discuss
your findings with the class.

Source (Title) Citation Function Example from Article

Rublee et al, on Dinoflagellate  “Orienting the known” “Since it was first discovered in
 Establshing past…, 1988, Pfiesteira piscicida, and
 Establishing facts its sister species, P.
shumwayae, have been the
focus of intense research and
frequent controversy.”
Rublee et al, on Dinoflagellate  Attribution “Definitive identification relied
 Application on SEM observation of the
thecal plate structure”
Rublee et al, on Dinoflagellate  Exemplification “An additional approach has
 Establishing links… been competitive PCR”
 Comparing one’s work
Wang et al, on SNS addiction  Exemplification “According to the coping style
 Evaluation theory, if people cope with
 Extending an argument their problems negatively, it can
lead to decreased well-being.”
Wang et al, on SNS addiction  Establish link between Prior studies have mainly
sources focused on the mediating
 Establish ppf effects on envy and social
contributions comparison between SNS use
 Establish the authority… and depression
Wang et al, on SNS addiction  Attribution Then, we followed the four-step
 Application procedure to execute the
 Establishing the mediation effect

Examples of Citation Functions:

o Establishing facts
o Attribution (e.g., give credit for an idea or data)
o Exemplification (e.g., providing an example to illustrate an idea or argument)
o Further reference (e.g., if someone wants to read more about an idea or field)
o Application
o Evaluation
o Establishing links between sources (e.g., a relationship to previous work or current
o Summarizing
o Comparing one's own work with others’.
o “Orienting the known,” (e.g., providing a “review of the literature”)
o “Extending an argument,”
o Establishing the authority of a particular argument or method (e.g., of interpretation of
o Establishing newness, difference, or gap, etc. in previous knowledge (often to justify current
o Establishing past, present, or future contribution to the knowledge in the field.