Loading...

Quotations in academic articles and monographs. The problematic nature of secondary sources

Essay 2015 13 Pages

Literature - Basics

Excerpt

Directory

1 Abstract

2 Introduction

3 Definitions

4 Analysis of problems that go along with the (solely) usage of secondary sources
4.1 Secondary sources in the context of academic work
4.2 Secondary sources regarding the function of quotes
4.3 Secondary sources and intellectual work of other authors
4.4 Secondary sources and the problem of correct academic content

5 Correct usage of secondary sources

6 The use of secondary sources in the context of the plagiarism of Anette Schavan

7 Conclusion

8 Sources

1 Abstract

The handling of secondary and primary sources is always a topic during the writing of essays, these or other academic content. Especially for students who are in the learning process of scientific work this topic is very relevant.

The aim of this essay is to answer the question "Why are quotations in academic articles and/or monographs solely out of secondary and not primary sources problematic from the perspective of academic ethics in general and business ethics in particular?" and to show a situation in which a use of secondary sources is possible. To answer this question several problems in the handling of secondary sources will be observed and evaluated with the background of ethic and concepts / methods of morality. The conclusion shows, that it is very problematic, especially in the context of good academic work, to work only with secondary sources.

2 Introduction

The task regarding this essay was given in the complementary lecture “Responsibility and science in a globalized world” in the winter semester 2015 / 2016 and is: "Why are quotations in academic articles and/or monographs solely out of secondary and not primary sources problematic from the perspective of academic ethics in general and business ethics in particular?"

The basis of this essay is the definition of scientific / academic work, as well as the definition of primary and secondary sources against the background of intellectual property, personal contribution and the correctness of academic work. Furthermore, to show possible consequences of the wrong handling of secondary sources, the dissertation of Annette Schavan and the plagiarism process will be observed.

3 Definitions

First of all it is important to define the most important parts of the questions to get a basis for further analyses.

Academic ethic

Hoyningen-Huenel und Tarkian define academic ethics as:

die systematisch normative Reflexion über moralische Fragen, die sich bezüglich wissenschaftlichem Handeln und der Institution Wissenschaft stellen.“ 1

Furthermore they specify the exact content which is covered by academic ethics. Academic ethics deals with specific questions regarding methods of scientific research and objects science is working with, as well as questions regarding the role and behavior of scientists in the society and in the community of science.2 For the discussed questions of the use of primary and secondary sources in scientific work especially the role of scientists in the society and their community is important. Academic ethics contains also the question of good scientific work and the connected values like fairness and respectfulness.3 That means that all scientists which are part of the scientific community follow the law regarding intellectual property and copyright and follow the standards and rules of scientific norms (See definition of scientific work and the DFG guideline).

Business ethic

Business ethic is a part of ethic which deals with ethical questions which can be found in the area of business like: “[…] conflicts between self-interest and the interest of others, manipulation and cooperation, trust and distrust, honesty and deception responsibility for future generation and so on.”4 Business ethics has its focus on the responsibility of companies and their workers in the context of the society.5

Scientific / Academic Work

Academic work is a specific kind of work which is standardized by certain international conventions and norms to guarantee a high level on which new insights can be found and knowledge can be transferred.6 One definition of good academic work was given by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft):

As important standards of academic work the DFG defines7:

- lege artis zu arbeiten,
- Resultate zu dokumentieren,
- alle Ergebnisse konsequent selbst anzuzweifeln,
- strikte Ehrlichkeit im Hinblick auf die Beiträge von Partnern, Konkurrenten und Vorgängern zu wahren

For the following especially the point “containing honesty” is very important. To guarantee an honest handling in context with the work of other scientists and authors it is important to declare used achievements of other authors as external content. The method which is used for this is the use of quotations. A quote declares a certain part of the text as transferred from another text.8 A quote can be direct or indirect. In a direct quote the original formulation is used by the new author. In an indirect quote the content of the part of the text is the same but it was expressed in new words.9

After defining academic ethic and scientific / academic work, it is important to define the ore of the topic, the term of primary and secondary sources.

Primary sources

Sources are referred as primary sources if they are the first text or content with new empirological, theoretical or methodical insight on a concrete background. Mostly the author is the discoverer itself.10

Secondary sources

Secondary sources are such sources which work with existing knowledge or reflect it. Secondary sources can be identified by their references to the original primary source.11

The differences between primary and secondary sources can be shown on Kant’s categorical imperative and the literature about it as an example. The primary source regarding the categorical imperative is Kant’s text itself where he published his thoughts the first time. Other authors who wrote about the categorical imperative used Kant’s text as primary sources and are secondary sources itself, because they analyze or discuss thoughts of a text from another author.

4 Analysis of problems that go along with the (solely) usage of secondary sources

4.1 Secondary sources in the context of academic work

After defining the major terms know the usage of secondary sources in academic work will be analyzed. The hypothesis is that it is problematic with regards to ethics, to use only secondary sources in academic articles and monographies. Keeping the definition of scientific work in mind, academic articles and monographies shall generate new insights or transfer knowledge. To guarantee this, a topic has to be discussed or described more or less detailed but mandatory with its relevant parts. This is only possible when also fundamental information about the relevant topic is used. Why is it problematic to extract these information out of secondary sources? This questions leads to two sides, to a legal question on the one side and to the question of academic work on the other side.

The correct way of academic work is, as described in the definition above, defined by the scientific community. A scientist, as a part of the community, has to accept and follow these rules. Declining these rules would mean working against the scientific community and their rules. Breaking rules can be, on the one side, a question of legitimacy and on the other side a question of legality. The question of legality can be answered with the question of academic fidelity which is not part of the law. So there is no permission by law to work in that way. Nevertheless there is a question of legitimacy. The question, is it legitimate, to work against rules of the own community could be answered with Kant. The kategorial imperative of Kant is:

handle nur nach derjenigen Maxime, durch die du zugleich wollen kannst, daß sie ein allgemeines Gesetz werde.“ 12

So the own action, in that case, is the denial of the rules of the scientific community and the question is whether this should become a law or not. If denying rules would become a low the whole community would collapse so it should not become a low. From this follows, that the action of breaking the rules of the scientific community is an action which is not legitimate from the perspective of academic ethic. So working with only secondary sources is not legitimate because it breaks the rule of good scientific work and violating this rule as a scientist is not legitimate.

4.2 Secondary sources regarding the function of quotes

Beside the question of breaking the rules of academic work there are more factors which are relevant for the discussed question. Another important point is the function of quotations. First of all it is important to know what a quotation is used for.

“Wer zitiert, lässt erkennen, dass er die Ansicht des zitierten Autors teilt, es sei denn, er bringe im Zusammenhang mit dem Zitat etwas anderes zum Ausdruck.” 13 [Quotations are used to show that you share the authors opinion except the quotation in context with the own text leads to something different.].

This solely is not problematic but it gets problematic in conjunction with the exclusive use of secondary sources. Assuming an author uses only secondary sources for his or her work, he or she will even take the fundamentals of the topic out of secondary sources. In case of using basic content out of secondary and not primary sources, the author shares the opinion of the author of the primary source and not mandatory of the secondary source. Using Eco’s definition of the meaning of quotation, quoting a secondary source for basic content, which is available in a primary source, is not correct. So the use of secondary sources is only allowed, if the content of the author of the secondary source is important and supports the own content.14

4.3 Secondary sources and intellectual work of other authors

Another important aspect, against the background of academic ethic, is the question of using the work of others to reduce the own workload. By referring just on secondary sources one could argue, that this leads to a work reduction of the author based on the work of others. Even if the author keeps all rules of the process of quotation in mind and refers to all secondary sources in a correct way, he or she uses the work of others in that way, that the author of the secondary source had a lot of effort to find relevant parts for his or her work of primary sources and to quote them. Literature research should not be underrated and is also a big part of scientific work.15 So there is again a question regarding the legitimacy of using just secondary sources.

[...]


1 Hoyningen-Huenel, P. / Tarkian, T., (2010), p.3028.

2 cf: Hoyningen-Huenel, P. / Tarkian, T., (2010), p.3028.

3 cf: Hoyningen-Huenel, P. / Tarkian, T., (2010), p.3028.

4 Brenkert / Beauchamp (2010) p. 5

5 cf: Suchanek / Lin-Hi, (o.J)

6 cf: Balzer, Schäfer, Schröder, Kern (2008), p.3.

7 Beisiegel et. al., (2013), p.15.

8 cf: Jele (2006), p.44.

9 cf: Burchert / Sohr (2008), p. 88.

10 cf: Burchert , Sohr (2008), p. 42; Balzer, Schäfer, Schröder, Kern (2008), p.81.

11 cf: Burchert , Sohr (2008), p. 43; Balzer, Schäfer, Schröder, Kern (2008), p.81.

12 Kant (1900), p. 421.

13 Eco (2010), p.198.

14 cf:Eco (2010), p. 197.

15 cf: Brink (2013), p. 59-60

Details

Pages
13
Year
2015
ISBN (eBook)
9783668245976
ISBN (Book)
9783668245983
File size
483 KB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v334439
Institution / College
Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Grade
1,3
Tags
Primärquelle Sekundärquelle Wissenschaftliches Arbeiten Wissenschaftsethik zitieren Zitate

Author

Share

Previous

Title: Quotations in academic articles and monographs. The problematic nature of secondary sources