Constructing a discourse position: Quoting, referring and attribution in academic writing

Year: 1994

Author: Baynham, Mike, Beck, Dominique, Gordon, Katherine, Lee, Alison, Miguel, Caroline San

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Becoming proficient in academic writing can be theorised as entry/apprenticeship in the ways with words of a discourse community. It follows from this perspective that the writing conventions which students learn will be specific in many ways to their discipline area/discourse community. As Batholomae puts it, "The student has to appropriate (or be appropriated by) a specialised discourse" (Bartholomae, 1985:134).

One set of conventions that the student must acquire are those for quoting and referring to the work of others, primarily published academic sources. Acquiring these conventions can be seen as one of the ways that the student learns to take up a discourse position in text. This paper will report on a study of quoting and referring practices in three undergraduate discipline areas: information studies, humanities and nursing. Through a variety of methods (text analytic and critical ethnographic) the study investigates the role of quoting and referring practices as student writers learn to construct an appropriate discursive position within the text.