Evidence Based Library and Information Practice
Objective – This study analyzes sources cited by graduate students in philosophy at the University of Colorado Boulder (UCB) in 55 PhD dissertations and master’s theses submitted between 2005 and 2010, to discover their language, age, format, discipline, whether or not they were held by the library, and how they were acquired. Results were compared to data previously collected about sources cited by philosophy faculty at UCB, in books published between 2004 and 2009, to identify how closely citation behaviors aligned between the two groups.
Methods – Citations were counted in the PhD dissertations and master’s theses. Citations to monographs were searched against the local catalog to determine ownership and call number. Comparison numbers for faculty research were collected from a previous study. Results were grouped according to academic rank and analyzed by format, language, age, call number, ownership, and method of purchase.
Results – Graduate students cited mostly books, though fewer than commonly found in other studies. Citations were almost entirely of English language sources. Master’s students cited slightly newer materials than doctoral students, who in turn cited newer materials than faculty. The library owned most cited books, and most of those were purchased on an approval plan. Doctoral students most frequently cited resources outside the discipline of philosophy, in contrast to master’s students and faculty.
Conclusions – The citation behavior of graduate students in philosophy largely, but not entirely, mirrors that of the faculty. Further study of citation behavior in humanities disciplines would be useful. Understanding the behavior of philosophers can help philosophy librarians make informed choices about how to spend library funds.
Knievel, Jennifer, "Alignment of Citation Behaviors of Philosophy Graduate Students and Faculty" (2013). University Libraries Faculty & Staff Contributions. 44.