Citation Question
November 16, 2012 9:27 AM   Subscribe

As I'm writing a literature review I'm reading another review paper (Paper A) and found a citation to a source (Paper B) that makes a point I want to incorporate in to my own work. I've tracked down that source (Paper B) and agree with the way it was paraphrased in Paper A. How do I ethically and accurately cite this in my own work using APA?

Do I just cite B? Do I cite "A (as cited in B)"? Do I cite both papers?

I guess my main source of confusion is that A was instrumental in me finding out about B, and shaped the way that I think about the point B was making, but didn't technically generate the knowledge that I want to cite.
posted by codacorolla to Education (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would just cite B. Only if I could not get access to B itself would I resort to "B (as cited in A)".
posted by Rock Steady at 9:31 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Just cite B.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 9:32 AM on November 16, 2012

Citing references is not like reblogging. You have no obligation to credit the source that led you to the original article. The only reason for the citation is so that others can go to the original themselves. The only time you should use 'as cited in' is if the original is for some reason unavailable.
posted by srboisvert at 9:40 AM on November 16, 2012

Cite both; it takes two seconds and helps someone who helped you.

Simple way to think about it: if you had written Review Article A, would you hope that someone in your shoes would cite it?

I'd write it up as "Whammy whammy whim wham wozzle (Cite A, Cite B)."

If a prof or editor gives you shit for it later or is all "OH NOES IF YOU CITE CITE-A YOU MIGHT AS WELL CITE EVERYTHING I DON'T BELIEVE IN JUSTICE ANY MORE!" and then faints, you can always cut it to just Cite B at that point.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:46 AM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]

I don't think it's at all out of place in a literature review to cite A because you like the paraphrase. Someone like Updike would do this without a second thought simply to highlight the phrasing that pleased them.

Unless it really is just the chain of discovery, in which case it's only interesting if there's a story to it.
posted by dhartung at 9:53 AM on November 16, 2012

From a nonacademic perspective, I'm wrestling with this right now for a publication. I feel strongly that I should smooth the matter over most ethically by quoting A, and then going on and quoting B, including materials from B that weren't included in A. Two reasons: 1. it makes ME look the best, and best-read, and most fair, and most honorable and 2. I won't have any sleepless nights worrying about being called a fraud or a thief. (I've also seen this done in academic contexts, with a usage like "as quoted in A.")
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:53 AM on November 16, 2012

Did you get anything else from A? If so cite A in the broader context and cite B in the narrow context of the specific point in B. If not, cite both as multiple references for the idea...
posted by NoDef at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2012

Citing a source within a source. Replacing "as cited in" with "as paraphrased in", while a little clunky, is acceptable.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:04 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

If it's more that a sentence or two, I'd consider revising it anyway.

Otherwise, I'd use a construction like this:

Jones (Jones, 2012), notes that Smith (Smith, 2012): "Found a blue thingy when looking behind their fridge."

The goals are to make clear that it's a direct quote (which is fine), from whom the quote comes, and which original work is being referenced.
posted by bonehead at 10:09 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

You _must_ cite B in this situation. Whether A has to be cited is a little more complicated. If you are actually using A's paraphase/summary or even paraphrasing it, than you must cite A as well. My inclination is that at a minimum you would say something like "(B 199x; see also discussion of this work in A 200x)". A good literature review adds value in the form of summary and organization of ideas, and it sounds like this one did -- this is what you should be citing it for. This can be just as important as the technical contribution. Your personal chain of discovery doesn't merit a cite, though.
posted by advil at 10:16 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]

You've read both papers, the information from both will be in your paper, you should cite both. Were you only reading A, you should cite "as in A," but since you've read B you can go ahead and cite it as well.
posted by OmieWise at 10:17 AM on November 16, 2012

Citing more hurts no one. Citations are currency: I think of them as part thank-you note to the authors and, part clue to future readers. Cite both.
posted by k8lin at 12:30 PM on November 16, 2012

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