Citing blog posts

As you all are getting your bibliographies ready this week, I thought it might be useful to point out how we cite blogging in academic work. This is a pretty new space for most people, so I encourage you to read this blog post for specific instructions on how to cite.

Whether to cite, though, is a quite different answer. Recall that any time you use someone’s ideas or words, you should be citing it, giving proper credit. Blog posts are of varying quality, so I caution you against taking facts away from a blog post. Statistics, figures, numbers, and other factual information that you cannot back up using a peer-reviewed or otherwise published work should not be taken from blogs. If you find one of these things on a blog and it seems compelling, see if the author links back to another source, or if you can find it elsewhere. It’s perfectly reasonable to email the author and ask where they got the information. If you cannot confirm it though, it’s probably better left out.

Blogs are a great source of ideas. They might help you think better about your paper, the variables in your model, the way you talk about a certain aspect of your results. In this case, you should always cite the blog, just like you would cite any other published work.

As a side note, this includes citing yourself. If you take words directly from a blog post and put them into your paper, they should be in quotations and cited as originally published on your blog.


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Filed under Issue in Class, Writing and Blogging

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