The Paradigmatic Differences Between Name/Date and Footnote Styles of Citation

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Two predominant forms of citation characterize citation practices in English-language educational research: name/date style and footnote style. Because of the prevalence of certain APA journals, the name/date style is becoming dominant; some consider this a merely stylistic choice, or a rather trivial concession to the preferred style of those journals. In fact, I will argue, the differences are significant and profound (i.e., ‘paradigmatic’). This chapter will review these paradigmatic differences along three interrelated lines of argument:

1. The epistemic functions of citation practices (see for example, Charles Bazerman’s landmark 1987 essay, “Codifying the Social Scientific Style: The APA Publication Manual as a Behaviorist Rhetoric”), as name/date and footnote styles actually reflect deeper assumptions about the nature and purpose of research as a knowledge enterprise.

2. Name/date and footnote citation styles also reflect certain assumptions about the nature of research communities and who is included in them—to put it in contemporary terms, citation practices as a form of social networking. Audrey Thompson, for example, in her 2004 essay, “Gentlemanly Orthodoxy: Critical Race Feminism, Whiteness Theory, and the APA Manual”, argues that citation forms and citation practices actually discriminate against certain groups of scholars—and as a consequence discriminate against certain substantive points of view, certain theories, and certain areas of scholarship. They are by no means neutral or transparent: they filter and prioritize.

3. Name/date and footnote styles also represent, and reinforce, certain rhetorics of writing (for example, R.J. Connors, “The rhetoric of citation systems”, from 1999). They break up text in different ways and they place different kinds of information in different places on the printed page. At a deeper level, they reinforce certain styles of writing and even connote different views of the writer’s authority.

The nature, form, and logic of empirical social science research generally is being driven by these citation practices; not just as a means of representing research, but as a substantive influence that is changing their methods and content. Finally, there is the added question of how new technologies for publication, and for searching and retrieving published work, influence and reinforce these trends. There has been a good deal written on these matters, across several disciplines. In this essay I will review and elaborate these arguments (partly from the perspective of a journal editor), and then extend them to the question of whether educational research is especially affected by these issues. Within this question I will discuss historical and philosophical research particularly—though not exclusively.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEducational Research: Material Culture and Its Representation
EditorsPaul Smeyers, Marc Depaepe
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-03083-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-03082-1
StatePublished - Nov 12 2013

Publication series

NameEducational Research


  • main text
  • primary author
  • direct quotation
  • citation system


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