Faulty Citations


Malcolm Wright and Scott Armstrong show that faulty citations are a serious problem in the marketing and management literature. They provide recommendations to solve the problem, and encourage further discussion.

We analyzed citations to one of the most well-known articles in the Journal of Marketing Research, and found that almost all of them were quotation errors. These quotation errors were used to give methodological support to findings that were in turn highly cited. We found omissions of relevant work and incorrect references were also widespread problems in the marketing and management literature.

In commentaries on our article, Don Dillman tells a similar tale of woe, and Mark Uncles and Brian Martin outline other abuses of the citation process. Gary Lilien summarises the debate and gives his view in an introduction.

Other than ensuring that authors read what they cite, we make the following recommendations:

“(1) Cite all papers that you rely on for evidence (or for direct quotations).

“(2) Inform the reader of the content of each citation.

“(3) If only part of the cited work has ben read, include the applicable page numbers in the citation.

“(4) Avoid citing any other papers …

“(5) If you rely on findings of an author, attempt to contact that author to confirm the citation accuracy.” (Wright and Armstrong 2008, p139)

We encourage further debate about the problem, and our solution.

Fulltext of the main article and commentaries is available at http://jscottarmstrong.com/

The references are:

Lilien, G. (2008), The Ombudsman: Who?s at Fawlt in Fawlty Towers? Commentaries on the Citation Dilemma. Interfaces, 38, 2 (March-April), 123-124.

Wright, M. and Armstrong, J.S. (2008), The Ombudsman: Verification of Citations: Fawlty Towers of Knowledge. Interfaces, 38, 2 (March-April), 125-139.