The Art of Referencing in Scholarly Articles

book-look-1382050-mThe reference section of an academic work is more complex than you might think. The references not only provide validity to one’s argument, but initiate meaningful discussion with the scholarly community. So how can authors ensure that their references are successful? Allison W. Pearson of Mississippi State University and Family Business Review Editor-in-Chief Pramodita Sharma discuss the process for perfecting citations in their editorial “Referencing in Scholarly Articles: What Is Just Right?”

From the editorial:

The scholarly reference (1) gives credit to the original source of materials used and (2) provides FBR_C1_revised authors color.inddevidence of the depth and breadth of scholarly work, via the materials reviewed, integrated, and synthesized to form the basis of the research. The reference list of a manuscript reflects the authors’ due diligence in exploring and understanding the research topic. To situate its contribution, a scientific text must establish a context and convey to readers the extent and nature of its relationship to the existing literature. References are the means to establish this context and the nature of contribution (Locke & Golden-Biddle, 1997).

References, then, serve as a critical component of the scholarly article, worthy of careful time and attention by authors, and careful review and evaluation by reviewers and readers. The goal of this editorial is to provide a thought-provoking discussion of references in the scholarly manuscript and identifying key points to be considered in selecting and presenting references for publication in family business and other areas in management and organizational research.

You can read “Referencing in Scholarly Articles: What Is Just Right?” from the September 2015 issue of Family Business Review. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have all the latest news and research from Family Business Review sent directly to your inbox!

Lucy Gilson on the Reviewing Experience

[We’re pleased to welcome Lucy Gilson of the University of Connecticut. Dr. Gilson is currently serving as a Senior Associate Editor of Group and Organization Management.]

Much has been written about what should, and should not, be included in a rejected-865417-mreview.  Therefore, I would like to shift the conversation in this blog post to discuss an important topic that I often think get missed in reviewing – that reviewing should be all about the conversation.

Over the years, I have written and been on the receiving end of many reviews. Now that I’m in an editorial role, I am seeing reviews through a different lens yet again. When I think of this experience holistically, I am concerned about the nature of the conversation we are engaging in as educational professionals and scholars. It seems to me that all too often reviews are adversarial in nature. It becomes the reviewer’s opportunity to say everything that is wrong with a paper and pick it apart line by line. Recently I even heard an Editor say, “My role is to accept papers as the reviewers reject everything.”

Now, I am not saying we should be lenient or too easy, not point out flaws in a manuscript, or sugarcoat our reviews. What I am saying, however, is it’s time to start thinking about reviewing as engaging in a conversation with the author(s). As a conversation, reviewing means sitting down with a manuscript and thinking about the experience as one in which a friend or colleague has just entrusted into your care a valuable piece of themselves. A piece of work that they have invested hours in crafting, thinking about, developing, and writing. They know it has flaws – all works have flaws – but they are looking to you, an expert, for guidance and direction. Your responsibility is to engage with them in their work. What did you learn about the work? What have they done well (not the cursory, I enjoyed reading this manuscript, now let me spend two single spaced pages ripping it apart)? Where can you help them extend their thinking? What was lacking? How can these flaws be overcome? What questions did the manuscript raise in your thinking? A conversation does not mean recommending that every paper be accepted or even that the editor requests a revision, it means engaging with the author in their work. Let us as a profession start thinking of the review as a two way conversation with the focus on “talking with” the author rather than at them.

You can click here to read detailed guidelines for reviewers on the Group and Organization Management home page. Like what you read? You can get all the latest research from  Group and Organization Management sent directly to your inbox! Just click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Reflections on Academic Research and Writing: The Ecstasy and the Agony (Part 1)

As a blog catering to academics, researchers and practitioners, Management INK features important content on key research topics. Besides highlighting top scholarship, we (the editorial team for the blog) wish for this venue to serve as a resource to inform but also to equip and grow readers in their research and writing activities. Lately we have seen some excellent articles published that speak to various issues surrounding academic research and writing. Over the next few days, we are pleased to provide a forum for reading and discussing articles that touch on topics, such as, the purpose of research, ethical publishing, peer review, writing practices, and collaboration in research. We invite you to read, share, and offer comments both here in the blog and on our Twitter page @SAGEManagement. Let’s dive in!

In this month’s issue of Administrative Science Quarterly, Editor-in-Chief Gerald F. Davis, asks “What is Organizational Research For?” In his article, Davis asks whose interests management research serves and whose interests should it serve? For research to shape decisions for public benefit, he adds “we need to make sure we know the constituency that research is serving.”

Organizational research is guided by standards of what journals will publish and what gets rewarded in ASQ_v60n2_Jun2014_cover.inddscholarly careers. This system can promote novelty rather than truth and impact rather than coherence. The advent of big data, combined with our current system of scholarly career incentives, is likely to yield a high volume of novel papers with sophisticated econometrics and no obvious prospect of cumulative knowledge development. Moreover, changes in the world of organizations are not being met with changes in how and for whom organizational research is done. It is time for a dialogue on who and what organizational research is for and how that should shape our practice.

Access the rest of the Table of Contents for this issue of Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here. Keep up-to-date on all the latest news and research from ASQ by clicking here to sign up for e-alerts.


This article was featured on Harvard Business Review’s blog this week.

Tips for scholars writing an op-ed

[Editor’s Note: We’re pleased to welcome SAGE Publications’ Michael Todd.]

“We need to apply the science of communication to the communication of science”  – Preston Manning

While the study of communicating will never be an exact science, it certainly behooves researchers to take some time to study the best ways to communicate their research to the public to extend their work’s impact. With special expertise on topics related to so many of today’s headlines, scholars can write op-eds and opinion pieces for news outlets and blogs from a unique and important perspective.

In an effort to share some best practices for writing an op-ed, we enlisted the insight of our own resident journalist (and Social Science Space Editor) Michael Todd. Read through his tips below.

wrenchesI.  Mechanics

–          Generally op-eds are 750 to 800 words long.

–          Unlike some academic writing, keep sentences reasonably short and clear, and paragraphs much shorter than you might be used to.

–          Do not use footnotes, and keep citations in your text to a minimum. If you must acknowledge others’ work (and with the word limit, be sure it is a must), identify the person/organization only. In other words,  do not use “as Smith (2006) found,” but “Innovative medical sociologist Susie Smith’s work with teens suggests …”

–          Avoid passive voice (but don’t obsess over this).

–          Be learned, but also be colloquial

–          Avoid all acronyms unless they already have a claim on the public consciousness (e.g. PTSD).

II.  Structure

–          Start by explaining why you’re telling me this now. This does not have to be a bald statement, and probably shouldn’t be. It can be an anecdote, a reflection on a current headline, or even a call to action, but it should be explicit and quick. Yes, there will be a headline that helps accomplish this, but ultimately the headline might change.

–          Consider explaining why you are telling me this. If you are writing about your specific research output, that’s easier. If you are writing about a current event and your expertise shines a light on some facet, briefly mention your background. Note: in general, your actual work will carry more weight with the public than your degrees.

–          Pick one facet of the issue and go deep. Do not attempt to sketch out the entire history or scope of the issue and end up dealing in broad generalities. Instead, stay focused and specific. There’s probably lots of interesting tangents you could find yourself on – save them for your next op-ed.

–          Know what you are asking and make sure your piece includes a call to action. The usual point of an op-ed is to spur action, and the reader should both be convinced of your point of view and know what to do about it.

–          Readers don’t care about literature searches and rarely care about methodology.

III.  Strategy

–          Identify who your audience will be before starting to write. Foreign Affairs or Wired readers can be assumed to have some background in their publication’s focus, but you can’t assume that about a or New York Times reader. Nonetheless, it’s dangerous to assume everyone already knows something that’s well-known in your field.

–          Satire and sarcasm rarely work. Humor can be misconstrued – don’t abandon it, but be careful. And if you’re not particularly funny, this is a bad time to try and change that.

–          Provide some specific and real-world examples. Readers live on the ground, not at 30,000 feet, so try not to use speculative examples. Remember the maxim: Show, don’t tell.

–          Briefly acknowledge obvious arguments against your position and equally briefly rebut them. If you’re seeking funding, explain why your project should have a claim on taxpayer money. While it is a zero-sum game, try not to pit your pork against someone else’s pork.

–          Also, acknowledge weaknesses of your position that you may not be able to rebut (e.g. it will be expensive or this will inconvenience some stakeholders) but explain why it’s worth acting anyway.

 IV.  Extra Tips

–          Having trouble? Start by writing a headline or a tweet that really summarizes what you want to say – this can really help cut to the chase and focus your piece if you have too many things to say.

–          Start writing even if it’s imperfect at first. Weak, but begun, is better than perfect and undone.


This post originally appeared on the SAGE Connection blog.

Introducing SAGE Language Services!


SAGE is proud to announce the launch of SAGE Language Services, a new online source that provides pre-submission manuscript preparation services that lower obstacles to publication that many authors face.

SAGE Language Services offers four key tools for authors:

Language Editing: This service is designed for authors who need help editing the language and grammar used in their paper. Language editing emphasizes natural grammar and appropriate field-specific terminology to prepare the manuscript for journal review. Language editors strive to preserve the author’s intended meaning and voice; they do not copy-edit to a journal’s style sheet or provide authors guidance on the content or organization of the manuscript. Our language editors are native English speakers who are subject-area experts with advanced degrees from the highest ranked universities in their respective fields.

Translation: We offer academic translation from Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese into English, as well as translation from English into those languages. Manuscripts are matched to a translator in the author’s subject area who provides an accurate, natural translation of the manuscript.

Manuscript Formatting: Our formatters check the target journal’s guidelines and Captureformat the manuscript’s citations, references, layout, and editable tables to the journal’s style sheet. They also note areas where information is missing, such as missing keywords or author information.

Figure Formatting: Our managing illustrators adjust the size, layout, resolution, and file type of the author’s figures to the preferences of the target journal. They also correct the text in the figures if necessary and adjust figures’ layout and colors to improve legibility and appearance.

You can visit the SAGE Language Services website by clicking here.

Ready to get started? Click here to create an account and submit your manuscript today!

Have a question or simply want more information? Submit your query via email to SAGE Language Services Customer Support at

Is Your Research Boxed-In?

wooden-crate-1426375-mMany academics find themselves in an increasingly specialized area of research, which has benefits like creating an identity, increasing productivity and a feeling of belonging intellectually. Mats Alvesson and Jörgen Sandberg point out in their paper recently published in Organization Studies entitled “Habitat and Habitus: Boxed-in versus Box-Breaking Research,” that keeping within a particular research ‘box’ is a key mechanism for success within the Management and Organization Studies community. However, they argue for more ‘tolerance for box-breaking’, suggesting that by being skeptical and challenging of the field, by drawing on theories and conventions from other fields, and by deconstructing and negating dominant viewpoints in one’s own and others’ research, box changing, box jumping and box transcendence can lead to more dynamic and critical research.

The abstract:

This paper argues that scholarly work is increasingly situated in narrowly circumscribed areas of study, which are encouraging specialization, incremental adding-to-the-literature contributions and a blinkered mindset. Researchers home_coverinvest considerable time and energy in these specialized areas in order to maximize their productivity and career prospects. We refer to this way of doing research and structuring careers as boxed-in research. While such research is normally portrayed as a template for good scholarship, it gives rise to significant problems in management and organization studies, as it tends to generate a shortage of novel and influential ideas. We propose box-breaking research as a strategy for how researchers and institutions can move away from the prevalence of boxed-in research and, thus, be able to generate more imaginative and influential research results. We suggest three versions: box changing, box jumping and, more ambitiously, box transcendence.

Click here to read “Habitat and Habitus: Boxed-in versus Box-Breaking Research” for free from Organization Studies. Don’t miss other research from Organization Studies! Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

Tips for Academic Writing Success

tips_academic_writingIf you’re writing or planning to write a journal article or book chapter, take some advice from Deborah Lupton of the University of Sydney, whose article “30 tips for successful academic research and writing” was highlighted this week on the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog. Dr. Lupton provides detailed tips on planning your research schedule, time management, online networking, maximizing the impact of your research, and more–along with the one piece of advice she says is most important:

Choose something to research/write about that you are passionately interested in. I find that most of my research and writing tends to spring from wanting to find out more or understand more about a particular phenomenon that intrigues me. In explaining it to myself I end up explaining it to others, hopefully in a new and interesting way that is worthy of publication.

Click here to read more via Impact of Social Sciences.