An established academic wrote an editorial opening for a journal and it hit some very profound concepts in the field that I want to raise in my thesis.

Obviously I want to extend credit to them. However, no new studies or precedents were revealed in the article. It was a roundup and discussion of the field as it stands, much like a mini-review.

Is it appropriate to use and cite these type of articles in a thesis, or would I be expected to make the same general conclusions by citing the original studies.

  • 8
    If you got the idea there, and you repeat them, then of course you must cite it.
    – GEdgar
    Jul 13, 2015 at 14:56
  • 1
    @gedgar well it's obvious whe you put it like that
    – James
    Jul 13, 2015 at 15:02

1 Answer 1


Absolutely cite any source you get information from, but don't rely on popular sources too heavily. To use the arguments and not cite them would be plagiarism. To ignore important arguments would be irresponsible. Sometimes the best source for arguments are found in popular literature, because scholars bring together all of their main work in one place, after the heavy academic lifting (which you should also cite).

However, if the only cites you find are non-academic, you need to ask whether or not the question is sufficiently important to merit study. It may be difficult to get such an article published. In the early stages of some ideas or issues the only writing is in popular outlets, but beware that it is very hard to build a good academic paper at that point.

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