Citation Practices in the Literature Review: A Contrastive Study of Sudanese and British Applied Linguistics Ph.D. Theses

Nauman Al Amin Ali


Manifest intertextuality is a fundamental aspect of all academic discourse, and, hence, this study purports to explore
the myriad functions of citation in a representative and contrastive corpus drawn from 20 Literature Review chapters
in the domain of Applied Linguistics, and equally divided among Ph.D. theses successfully defended in Sudan and
Britain. A variety of typologies were utilized to elicit citations, including Thompson’s (2005) classification of
integral and non-integral citations, together with Hyland’s (2002) designation of denotative and evaluative functions
associated with reporting verbs. Groom’s (2000) and Petric’s (2007) notions of averral and attribution, propositional
responsibility and knowledge transformation also inform this investigation. Results indicate that the dense
deployment of citations and the predilection both corpora have for integral structures, verbatim quotations and
present active Discourse reporting verbs are largely dictated by the discursive and human-imbued nature of Applied
Linguistics. On the other hand, the findings reveal that Sudanese candidates formally and functionally employ
citations in manners markedly different from their British peers. Thus, the Sudanese corpus is characterized by
blatant errors, repetition and awkwardness in both documenting sources and reporting the findings of research.
Moreover, naïve unwarranted quotations and authorial evaluations were ubiquitously observed, as compared to the
British corpus. More significantly, there were ample variations in the way in which the two groups conceive of the
role of the Literature Review. While the British adopted a range of Writer-oriented and metadiscoursal strategies to
amalgamate and integrate the cited materials within their mainstream arguments, the Sudanese candidates were
strictly concerned with unmediated and uncontested attribution of ideas to their authors. Such is the synthetic nature
of the resultant type of this Literature Review that the writer’s textual voice is submerged under the sheer burden of
successive descriptive citations, thus eclipsing almost all of the objectives of this chapter in critiquing sources and
subordinating the cited literature to the overarching transformative perspective of the thesis writer. The Discussion is
illuminated through extensive quotations from the two corpora.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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