An analysis of citation forms in health science journals

  • Marie Frances Clugston member
Keywords: citation forms, postgraduate students, health science journals


Proper citation is a concern for most university students, not least those who are submitting articles for publication. This paper reports on an investigation into the ways in which authors refer to the work of others in research journals to which postgraduate students in the field of health science would be likely to submit articles. The use of integral and non-integral structures and the choice of reporting verbs are quantified in an entire issue of 11 journals in the broad health sciences areas, comprising 93 separate research articles. A general pattern can be discerned, in line with Hyland’s (1999) finding, chiefly that biological subjects such as physiology and radiology are more likely to use non-integral referencing than behavioural sciences, although there are important exceptions. Denotive forms of reporting verbs are far more common than evaluative. The main conclusion, however, is that forms of attribution vary from author to author. Research students writing for any of the journals would therefore be able to use any citation form to articulate their own authorial “voice”.

Author Biography

Marie Frances Clugston, member
Learning Skills Advisor Learning Centre Faculty of Health Sciences Cumberland Campus University of Sydney
How to Cite
ClugstonM. F. (2008). An analysis of citation forms in health science journals. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 2(1), A11-A22. Retrieved from
Research Articles