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Citing with Integrity


Why Cite

This guide reinforces concepts presented in BC's Academic Integrity Tutorial, with an emphasis on research for written reports.

Citation in Context

In the citation (in red) below, the author is doing more than just avoiding plagiarism. What else is happening?

Excerpted from:

Karniol, R. (2011). The color of children's gender stereotypes. Sex Roles, 65(1-2), 122.

In a parallel fashion, male action figures, which accounted for about 1.3 billion dollars in worldwide sales in 2006 (Ebenkamp 2006), are stereotypically associated with boys. In particular, both Batman and Superman are recognizable superheroes even by individuals who have never read a comic book (Bongco 2000), possibly because of their prevalence in toy stores all over the world (Fleming 1996). They have become what Macdougall (2003) calls transnational commodities. Batman in particular appears to hold a special fascination for boys (e.g., Gardner 1982), with a Warner Brothers executive commenting that Batman “is literally part of the process of boyhood”, especially for 6–11 year olds (Cooney 2004, p. 148). This fascination is evident in boys’ tendency to draw male superheroes, including Batman, in their spontaneous drawings (Gardner 1982; McNiff 1982). Importantly, boys play with action figures (Marsh 1999), not with dolls, denying vehemently their association with dolls (e.g., preschool boys protest “Only girls play with dolls!” and “boys don’t have dolls”, Lowe 1998, p. 218). This dissociation is also evident when in a letter to Santa a boy declares, “No Barbie stuff because I’m a boy!” (O’Cass and Clarke 2002, p. 44). In fact, playing with Barbie dolls is taken to be a sign of gender-variance (e.g., Gerouki 2010) and boys tease each other with accusations of playing with Barbie dolls (Renold 2004). In this light, then, illustrations of dolls and action figures are clearly gender-stereotyped in the eyes of children and adults.

Cited work:

Macdougall, J. P. (2003). Transnational commodities as local cultural icons: Barbie dolls in Mexico. Journal of Popular Culture, 37(2), 257-275.

10 Purposes of Citation

Depending on how one counts, there could be considerably more than 10.


In Plain English

To give credit

A shout-out to MacDougall!

To refuse credit

The opinions of MacDougall are not necessarily shared by the author.

To add authority

MacDougall is an expert who has studied this; her words carry some weight.

To help a reader find the original article

If you want to find out more about MacDougall's idea, go to this page of this article in this issue and year of this journal.

To signal a connection to an influential school of thought

MacDougall is a well-known transnationalist.

To emphasize a noteworthy study or the origination of a theory or idea

Macdougall developed the concept of transnational commodities in this article.

To borrow particularly apt wording

MacDougall said it best.

To establish that research on a topic is exhaustive and need not be repeated.

MacDougall  has published her studies of this idea in these 7 articles, and it has been confirmed by other prominent scholars in these 6 articles.

To criticize or draw attention to flaws

MacDougall ’s methodology was flawed in these 3 ways.

To protect against charges of plagiarism

Taking credit for this idea would be unethical. It's MacDougall's idea, not mine.

System of Credit

When one scholar credits another scholar with a citation, it can be form of payment.

Citations count! More citations means faster career advancement, authority and prestige. The citation count is part of how scholars get tenure, promotion, grants, fellowships and awards.

For example, what do you suppose could happen to authors with one article cited 9,721 times in other professional articles?

The image above was captured in June, 2013. How many times has it been cited now?

You might be wondering:

  • If students' citations don't get counted this way, why do we still have to give credit, if the credit is kind of "pretend"?
  • Why are the consequences for not giving credit so severe?

I recommend discussing these questions with faculty members.