Critical Review of Writing Methodology

Every discipline can be seen as a particular knowledge system that is a component of a more general knowledge system. Within each discipline, journal articles, books, and monographs fill the fundamental role of storing and distributing information. Of these three means of formal communication, journal articles are perhaps the most competitive and controversial. (11, 18) Consequently, citations that appear in articles published in the journals of a particular discipline provide an objective measure of the contributions of other knowledge systems to the development and progress of that particular discipline. Citations also give a relative measure of the particular contributions of articles, individuals, institutions, journals, and countries to the progress of a particular field of knowledge. (14) As a result, citation analysis has been used extensively in accounting, economics, finance, management science, and marketing to explore the inner workings of these knowledge systems and their interrelationship with other disciplines.

(6) Prior published studies have assessed the relative contribution of individuals and institutions to international business research by using opinion surveys or number of articles published in international business journals, and has not incorporated citation analysis. In this paper I will try to analyze two business research articles Trends in Consumer Behavior by Alan Kluge, John Mager and Cheri Taylor and The Analysis of Significant Contributions to the International Business by Allen Morrison. (1, 2) Citations are explicit linkages between articles that have common aspects. Therefore, citations included in journal articles are a measure of the innovativeness of pieces of research being cited, reflecting the extent to which other researchers have considered those pieces useful to their own research efforts and, as a result, to the development of their own field of knowledge. (8) Similarly, the number of citations of articles published in journals of other disciplines can be used to assess the influence of these disciplines on international business research. (12) even though citation analysis is widely accepted as a ranking criterion superior to opinion surveys and article and/or page count, it is not without criticism.

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The most common criticisms of the technique refer to negative citations, self-citations, the frequency of citation of methodological papers, and the inability of the method to identify seminal discoveries that go largely unnoticed at the time of publication. (15) For example in The Analysis of Significant Contributions to the International Business it suffices to say that citation count does not measure the “correctness” of scientific work but rather its influence on the development of a field of knowledge. (5) As stated by Cole and Cole [1974], “Much trivial work is correct, and much important work turns out in historical retrospect to have been incorrect ….

A paper which is important enough to receive a large number of critical citations is probably a significant contribution.” (9) On the other hand in Trends in Consumer Behavior one has to admit that self-citations are a way of manipulating citation rates. At least part of the self-citation problem can be explained by the fact that researchers with narrow specialties build on their own work and that of close collaborators. To avoid potential distortions created by self-citation. A comparison of the two sets of results allows us to determine the impact of self-citations.

(7) …