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What percent of a research paper should be quotations

While we admit there are very few hard-set rules regarding this issue, in this article, we will try to provide more concrete guidelines that will help you assess whether you have enough references in your paper. Before we do so, let us briefly explain why references matter and whether the number of references you include can project certain perceptions about the quality of your work.

There is such a thing as having too many or too few. Why references are necessary References show that you have carefully reviewed the relevant literature and are now contributing something novel to the academic community. You establish authority and credibility when you can critically assess other literature and distinguish your findings from previous works if any exist.

Surely someone else has thought about related topics or used similar techniques. Were you just as sloppy with conducting your study? The answers to these questions need to be evident. Additionally, readers might be concerned what percent of a research paper should be quotations you may have plagiarized by failing to properly cite information. If you have too many references, readers may wonder if you did any original research at all.

Additionally, let us highlight the difference between the number of references versus citations. References are the source materials; therefore, each reference should be listed only once in your references section. Citations are meant to identify the source of the information you use in your paper. You can cite a reference multiple times.

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Therefore, the number of citations you have is typically larger than the number of references. The opposite situation should never happen!

  1. For additional information regarding journal restrictions on the number of references, click here. Critical thinking entails the ability and practice of perceiving a problem objectively and intellectually.
  2. You need to introduce, analyze and put into context the paraphrases you use.
  3. The writer is introducing and placing the Cousteau quote into context.

Key factors influencing the number of references you use What percent of a research paper should be quotations following are some of the many factors that may influence the number of references you use: For example, literature and systematic reviews are surveys of existing studies. Similarly, newer fields will have fewer published papers that can be referenced.

If you find yourself in this situation, review the references used by relevant current literature and see if you can expand your research, and thus your reference list, with valuable content from there. While rare, they may have specific limits. More commonly, journals restrict the number of references due to printing constraints. In such a situation, you may wish to look for an institution that may be able to provide you access to that literature for the purposes of reviewing the content.

Given that more papers are being published than ever before in most fields, it is likely that reference lists will grow longer simply because there are more data points and discussions available to cite. Keep track of changes to the size of reference lists in publications related to your field.

We also provide some general reminders on how to effectively use references. After all, references are meant to enhance your paper while still maintaining your research as the focal point. Let journals be your guides One way to gauge how many references you should have is to survey academic journals for your article type in your field.

Review their author guidelines for limits on the number of references for your article type, and make sure your reference list complies with those journal restrictions.

Read recent articles relevant to your topic; check how many references other authors have included in their papers for the same article type as yours, and how frequently those works were cited per page. The latter is impossible to state simply because certain sections may have no citations at all the results section, for example. Statistics regarding the number of references and citations To give you a general idea, the following are some estimates from a couple of studies that examined the citation characteristics of articles published in various disciplines.

Since then some fields have increased the number of references. In another study by Falagas et al. On the other hand, health professions and earth and planetary sciences had the fewest references per article at an average of 8 and 17 references, respectively. Math and engineering averaged at roughly 29 references per article. Biochemistry, genetics and molecular and other biological sciences averaged at 51. Hard and natural sciences more frequently cited recent literature while social sciences and math were likely to include older sources.

Note that the Halevi study is limited in size, fails to factor in article type and does little to account for variances across different fields and journals. For example, it is possible that more review articles could have been reviewed for certain fields than others. With that said, we provide the above information to provide a rough estimate.

At the end of the day, please keep in mind the requirements of your institution or target journal and the general trends for your specific article type by examining the most recent relevant publications. For additional information regarding journal restrictions on the number of references, click here. Make sure to balance your discussion with external literature citations.

Be careful about citing old references. The rule of thumb is to go back at most five to six years. Be careful not to cite several references in one place without discussing the relevance of each work to your research.

Paraphrasing vs. Quoting -- Explanation

Confirm the quality of the work you cite. Are there any ethical issues regarding the paper that would disqualify it as a good source? Do your references come from reputable sources such as respected journals rather than random blogs and website links?

Remember that your analysis is only as good as the verifiable information you use to conduct your research. Therefore, make sure the works you reference naturally lead readers to wonder about the research question you address in your paper. To explain further, think about your favorite fictional story. A successfully written story only reveals the background information needed for the reader to follow along in the story.

Similarly, the references you cite should support the story building you create in your research paper. You want to show objectivity and that you took a balanced and unbiased approach to conducting your research.

Mention the potentially conflicting evidence and explain why you believe it is flawed or inapplicable to your research. In qualitative research papers, you may have fewer references.

Anything you cite in your paper should be listed in the references section. Anything listed as a reference should have been quoted or paraphrased in the text. If either rule is violated, something is wrong. Finally, remember that a paper will typically have more citations in the Introduction and Discussion sections than in other parts.

Additional reading Stefanie Haustein. Chapter 2 of Multidimensional Journal Evaluation: De Gruyter Saur, 2012.