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Teaching proper citation practices: avoiding “Daisy chains” and grandparented cites when doing citation tracing

I have written a lot about how to do proper citation tracing (both forward and backward) to search who has cited whom and facilitate proper attribution of ideas.

I am a fan of always going back to the original source.

And I know grandparenting citations is often the result of not being able to go back to the original source.

Robust and ethical citation practices are an important part of what we do as scholarly writers. I am not a fan of what I used to call grandfathered citations

This is an example of a grandparented citation:”As Pacheco-Vega argues (2010, p. 874, in Gomez-Alvarez 2013, p. 30)…” I understand that historians will push back against my dislike of grandparented citations, but as noted by several scholars elsewhere (and in the paper I link below), there is a high risk that you’ll end up quoting someone saying something they did not intend to say.

Dr. Harrison, Dr. Academic Batgirl and I aren’t the only one concerned with Daisy chains and grandparented citations. See Patronek et al (2016) “Who is minding the bibliography? Daisy chaining, dropped leads, and other bad behavior using examples from the dog bite literature”

I think grandparented citations should be only valid when it’s really next to impossible to find the original source. Thoughts?

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Posted in academia.

One Response

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  1. Iara says

    Long time (Twitter) follower, first-time commenter. A bit of trivia: in Brazil we call grandparented citations “apud”, after the latin word we use in those cases – “As Pacheco-Vega argues (2010 apud Gomez-Alvarez 2013, p. 30)”. I agree those should be a very last resource. On the other hand, I’ve seen cases where grandfathering happens because the original is in a foreign language the student/researcher does not speak… How to deal with this?

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