The Effect of the Web on Undergraduate Citation Behavior: A 2000 update


Work data:

Type of work: Article (academic)


Information Society | Knowledge Management | Open Access


This paper provides a 2000 update to the 1996-1999 citation analysis of undergraduate term papers by Philip Davis and Suzanne Cohen. 1 The total number of bibliographic citations continued to grow in 2000 from a median of 10 in 1996 to 13 in 2000. The growth however is entirely explained by the addition of traditionally non-scholarly materials (Web and newspaper citations). A significant improvement in the accuracy of Internet citations was found when term papers were submitted electronically. In 2000, the first year of electronic submissions, 65% of the citations pointed directly to the cited document, up from 55% in 1999. Internet citations aged six months in both 1999 and 2000 bibliographies were still irretrievable anywhere on the Internet 16% of the time. If we are to see more scholarly citations in term papers, professors must provide clear expectations in their class assignments. Students should be required to submit an electronic copy of their paper so that Internet citations can be scrutinized for accuracy and plagiarism.