I am writing an article that is analysing an existing article, that only uses secondary research (research that wasn't conducted by myself - and that I'd obtained from this article). When citing this information in my essay do I cite the same article over and over again when talking about each piece of information? Or cite the article's bibliography? I am only obtaining information from this one article.

1 Answer 1


Cite the article(s) you use. If you need to talk about that article in terms of earlier ones, cite those.

An example. Suppose the article you are analyzing is "Smith". Then you cite Smith. But if you have to say somewhere that, for example "Smith was led to this conclusion from ... 'Jones'", where "Jones is in Smith's bibliography, then also cite Jones.

Otherwise you are sort of led to citing a chain of publications back to the foundations of the field. Very few papers require that sort of thing and they are very specialized.

  • 3
    To add to this, though, you need to make sure you actually read Jones too; you shouldn't cite Jones merely because you read Smith's citation of Jones.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 20:54
  • @BryanKrause, yes indeed. Thanks for the clarification.
    – Buffy
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 20:54
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    To add, you can also write something like "See Smith (2016) and references cited therein".
    – Allure
    Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 22:09
  • To reiterate: if you use it, cite it. The question of citing sources cited by the source you cite is subtler. Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 22:47
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    To extend on the point @BryanKrause made: You should absolutely read Jones, as an important part of your analysis should be if Smith quoted correctly - not (only) formally, but with regard to quoting wrong things that never were in the original paper.
    – Dirk
    Commented Jul 27, 2018 at 9:01

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