【英語論文の書き方】第56回 参考文献について

2018年6月1日 10時00分

第55回では次のテーマを取り上げました。

 実験計画について
・実験条件の管理
・サンプルサイズ
・三角測量
・分析したデータの確認
・まとめ

第56回(今回)のテーマは参考文献についてです。
論文を書く上でとても重要な参考文献。
参考文献は、自身の論文を手に取ってくれた方への情報提供であり、参考にした先行する研究情報を明示し、自身の論文内容の信頼性を明確にするものです。

-文献を引用する主な理由-
・本研究の背景(先行研究とその結果)
・研究データの取得方法の詳細
・本研究以外で得た研究結果と測定結果
主な理由の詳細を下記にまとめています。

最後に参考文献の言語についてGeoffさんからのメッセージです。
次回論文を提出する際の参考にしていただければと思います。
ぜひお時間を作ってご覧ください!


 

Literature citations By Geoffrey Hart

Literature citations are how we suggest that readers consult another author’s published work, and they’re a common feature of the Introduction, Methods, and Discussion sections of a manuscript. These citations are done for the following main reasons:
 
  • To describe previous research and its results as a background or context for the present study.
  • To provide a more complete description of Methods than we can provide in a paper that uses those methods to obtain research data, but that does not focus on those methods.
  • To provide test results or measurements that we could not or did not perform ourself.
  • To provide supporting and contradictory results as a way of comparing our results with previous work.

Providing context

 The goal of the Introduction of a paper is to provide a summary of the context for your study. It begins with a description of a scientific question that must be answered or real-world problem that must be solved. Because it’s not possible to do this in great depth (the goal of your paper is to describe your research), it’s necessary to instead summarize that previous research rather than providing full details. In this context, the cited papers provide the missing details. The literature review in the Introduction should also identify problems that have been solved, problems that have not been solved (including contradictions among previous studies), and which unsolved problems you focused on in your study.
 

Describing methods

 The goal of the Introduction of a paper is to provide a summary of the context for your study. It begins with a description of a scientific question that must be answered or real-world problem that must be solved. Because it’s not possible to do this in great depth (the goal of your paper is to describe your research), it’s necessary to instead summarize that previous research rather than providing full details. In this context, the cited papers provide the missing details. The literature review in the Introduction should also identify problems that have been solved, problems that have not been solved (including contradictions among previous studies), and which unsolved problems you focused on in your study.
 

Providing additional data

It’s never possible to measure everything you want to measure, particularly since your results often reveal phenomena or possible mechanisms that you did not know existed before you began your study. Since it may not be possible to perform additional experiments to obtain data on these phenomena, those experiments become part of your plans for future research. But if forming a hypothesis about those phenomena or mechanisms is important to understanding the present results, you may be able to find data to support or contradict that hypothesis in previous research. Even if that research used a different experimental system, it may nonetheless provide support for your hypothesis—though the more different it is from your experimental system, the weaker the support.
It’s also possible that you measured only some components of your experimental system (e.g., a specific protein or species), but previous authors measured a different component (e.g., a different protein or species). Taken together, your results and the previous results provide a more complete description of the experimental system.
 

Comparison with previous research

 In most cases, it’s not possible to solve all the problems you stated in the Introduction that you would solve. In that case, the results of others who have worked on those problems may provide information to replace what you could not provide. Some previous results will support your conclusions. For example, if you studied a species that has not been studied before, but research on other species found similar results, you have provided support for the hypothesis that a similar mechanism exists across multiple species. Contradictions may invalidate your results (e.g., if there have been many studies that found a different result and you did not provide triangulation and repetition to prove that your result is correct. More often, the contradiction reveals something important: a difference between experimental systems that provides insights into each system. Other times, you can explain the differences in ways that make the contradiction seem less important. For example, the contradictory results may be for different species, climates, ecosystems, or methods. Explaining those differences provides more confidence in your results and can potentially improve our understanding from both the present and past studies.
 

Language of the cited publication

When you are writing a paper for a journal that publishes in a specific language (e.g., Japanese), you know that readers of that journal understand that language. It is therefore appropriate to cite both papers from the international English literature and papers published in the journal’s language. This means that it’s completely appropriate to emphasize papers published in that language (e.g., Japanese papers for a Japanese journal). It’s still likely that you will need to cite papers from the international literature, but they can be secondary citations that support your paper rather than being crucial to understanding it.
In contrast, when you are writing for an English journal, it’s important to remember that remember that most of the journal’s readers can only read and understand English—the journal’s language. This means that although it’s appropriate to cite non-English papers that contain results that are only published in that non-English language, it’s important to find results from the English literature for readers who can’t read that other language. This is particularly true for general principles, such as standardized methods. Remember that the reviewers who will decide whether to accept your paper for publication can only read papers in their own language or English. If you haven’t cited English papers, they may be unable to understand what you did or what the cited paper did.
In many fields, it’s easy to guess who will be assigned to review your paper, particularly if the journal asks you to propose the names of the reviewers. In that case, be sure that you cite papers by these reviewers, since they will expect you to cite their work.
 

***

Geoffrey Hart is a Canadian science editor with more than 30 years of experience. His goal in writing these articles is to help you write more efficiently and communicate the importance of your research more successfully. If there’s a topic you want him to cover or a question you want him to answer, please contact World Translation Services to make this request.
 

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第43回 Quality Review Issue No. 17  Compared with とCompared toの違いは?​

第44回 Reported about, Approach toの前置詞は必要か?​

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第50回 SinceとBecause 用法に違いはあるのか?

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