What is the Citation Project?
The Citation Project is a series of research studies on source use and citation practices. Their purpose is to provide data and analyses that can help with educators’ questions about plagiarism, information literacy, and the teaching of source-based writing.
By collecting data and replicating or adapting the methods of other studies to analyze it, ongoing Citation Project research builds on and extends the work of other scholars generating deeper and more nuanced understanding of source-based writing.
History of the Citation Project
Jamieson, Sandra. “The Evolution of the Citation Project: Lessons learned from a multi-year, multi-site study.” In Points of Departure: Rethinking Student Source Use and Writing Studies Research Methods. Ed. Tricia Serviss & Sandra Jamieson. Utah State University Press, 2017. 33-61. DOI: 10.7330/9781607326250.c001
This chapter traces the evolution of the Citation Project from its origins in a graduate seminar to the publication of pilot data and the development of a transcontextual, multisite research project with internationally reported and replicated data. Based on interviews with principal and participating researchers and coders, analysis of research and coding notebooks, two blogs and various shared Google Docs, and emails as well as shared personal experiences, this chapter offers a historical account of methodological development that reveals the complexity and messiness of multisite research as well as the necessary adjustments that allow pilot research to be scaled to multisite projects. By being willing to expose not only their methods but also the false starts, challenges, and lessons they learned, Citation Project researchers hope to ease the transition to data-driven research and thereby increase the frequency of information-based policies and pedagogies. [downloadable PDF]
The importance of replicable (RAD), transcontextual, and multi-site research
The first Citation Project study, “Writing from Sentences,” revealed that data from a single collection point–one class, one instructor, or one institution–tell a very limited story. Such data may reveal a great deal about the pedagogical success of that one teacher or of a program or institution, and they may suggest questions for further exploration that are ultimately confirmed (as was the case with “Writing from Sentences“), but findings cannot reliably be generalized beyond a single case. To generate the multi-site, transcontextual data necessary for such generalizations, Citation Project researchers collected papers and sources from sixteen diverse colleges and universities across the US, creating the CPSW (Citation Project Source-Based Writing) Corpus. This corpus has provided the basis for several transcontextual studies, the best known of which are “Writing from Sources” (aka “The Sixteen School Study”) and “Selecting Sources.” Armed with data from a statistically reliable range of contexts and sites, researchers can begin to draw broad conclusions about the citation practices of US undergraduates. From the data generated, teachers and administrators can develop more effective policies and pedagogies that reflect the complexity of information literacy and source use.
Citation Project research may involve the collection and analysis of multi-site data like the CPSW corpus. It may also be comprised of smaller, single-site research that replicates or adapts previous research and thereby tests its transcontextual applicability (as does “Students And Their Sources“). In each case, it is essential for researchers to be fully transparent and to share their methods, coding sheets, and other materials that allow replication.
Theoretical framework for replicable (RAD), transcontextual, and multi-site research
- Serviss, Tricia. “The Rise of RAD Research Methods for Writing Studies: Transcontextual Ways Forward.” In Points of Departure: Rethinking Student Source Use and Writing Studies Research Methods. Ed. Tricia Serviss & Sandra Jamieson. Utah State UP, 2017. 3-22. DOI: 10.7330/9781607326250.c00b [download PDF]
- Serviss, Tricia, and Sandra Jamieson. “What do we mean by Transcontextual RAD Research?” In Points of Departure: Rethinking Student Source Use and Writing Studies Research Methods. Ed. Tricia Serviss & Sandra Jamieson. Utah State UP, 2017. 25-31. DOI: 10.7330/9781607326250.c00c [download PDF]
- Serviss, Tricia, and Sandra Jamieson. “Replication and the need to build on and expand local and pilot studies.” In Points of Departure: Rethinking Student Source Use and Writing Studies Research Methods. Ed. Tricia Serviss & Sandra Jamieson. Utah State UP, 2017. 83-88. DOI: 10.7330/9781607326250.c002a [download PDF]