3

I'm basing my dissertation on a study in a paper that isn't available anywhere I've found online. I emailed the author and they sent me a pdf copy. Normally when I write citations for an electronic journal, I would do so like this - using the MHRA Author-Date style prescribed by my English department:

Ke, C., (May 1998). Effects of Strategies on the Learning of Chinese Characters Among Foreign Language Students. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, 33 (2): 99-112 {http://fakelibrary.com/thisisnotwhereigotthispaperfrom} [accessed 2017-12-04]

Because there is no link, I will just have to cite it this way:

Ke, C., (May 1998). Effects of Strategies on the Learning of Chinese Characters Among Foreign Language Students. Journal of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, 33 (2): 99-112

Is this acceptable, or should I include somewhere on the citation that it was accessed via personal communication? I've checked my department's guide for MHRA Author-Date, but it's incredibly sparse. If you know how more popular style guides approach this, please let me know.

  • 7
    Many journal articles are not available freely online. Reference it as any other journal article. A reader who wants to access it will have to do it however they would access other articles in that journal. – Jon Custer Dec 4 '17 at 18:09
  • 3
    @JonCuster You can omit "freely" from your comment's first sentence. – Roland Dec 4 '17 at 18:26
  • 1
    @Roland - quite true, but that was there also to imply that not everyone has access to certain journals through their institutions. The whole access thing is quite a mess (sadly). – Jon Custer Dec 4 '17 at 18:31
  • 1
    I don't quite understand the question. Is it required to provide a website for every reference? That makes little sense. Please explain. Also, if you obtained a copy from the author, you may as well ask them for a weblink – if anybody knows, they do. – Walter Dec 4 '17 at 23:27
  • You say "I'm basing my dissertation on...a paper that isn't available anywhere I've found online." Is the paper available in printed form? – user2768 Dec 5 '17 at 10:10
5

It doesn't matter how you got the paper. Just cite it as you would anything else. I've had papers from Science sent to me from a friend when our departmental internet was down, but that doesn't change how I cite it. Yea, the journal is obscure and others will have difficulty finding it, but in theory they could given the info you provide. That should be sufficient.

  • The exception to this is if there is substantial reason to believe that the copy you received is not actually what was published (e.g. maybe your "friend" is known to send altered copies of papers in order to cause trouble for those who rely on such copies). If this is the case, you really have a bigger problem than just proper citation. – Columbia says Reinstate Monica Feb 19 at 16:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.