In this chapter, we’ll tackle how to use sources ethically, analyze them and combine them into an effective argument.
But first: a note about the difference between workplace citation and academic citation.
In the workplace, you may often find yourself using your colleague’s words without crediting them. For example, your boss might ask you to write a grant application using text from previous grant applications. Many people might work on the same document or you might update a document written by someone else.
In the workplace, your employer usually owns the writing you produce, so workplace writing often doesn’t cite individual authors (though contributors are usually named in an Acknowledgements section if it’s a large project/report). That doesn’t mean that you should take credit for someone else’s work, but in general a lot of sharing and remixing goes on within an organization.
For example, say that you work in HR and have been asked to launch a search for a new IT manager. You might use a template to design the job posting or update copy of the ad you posted the last time you hired someone for this role. No one would expect you to come up with an entirely new job posting just because it was originally written by someone who’s left the company.
That said, writers in the workplace often use a wide range of sources to build their ethos. Citation is not only an ethical practice, but it is also a great persuasive strategy. The citation practices you learn in school will therefore serve you well in the workplace.
In school in North America, the context is different. Your instructor has given you an assignment to evaluate how well you can perform skills like integrating research, citing, quoting and paraphrasing. Unless your instructor specifically tells you otherwise, they will assume that you wrote everything in your assignment, unless you use quotation marks.
Figure 10a.1 image description: In this XKCD comic, a stick figure is talking into a podium that has an American flag on it and is decorated with stars. A stick figure in the crowd holds up a sign that says ‘citation needed.’ [Return to Figure 10a.1]