Can I ask for your views on a referencing question?
In my lit review I want to show that a particular approach is common in the literature so include three or four references as examples but then only go on to discuss one paper in any detail since with regard to the point I want to make all the examples say the same thing. I do this a few times and I'm not sure if this will be viewed negatively as padding out the bibliography with unnecessary references or whether its a legitimate approach?
That sounds like it's probably fine to me - I've done similar myself, although I think you have to look out for the balance of things you're citing - sometimes it's better to pick good examples rather than fill up on lots of examples. I've only ever used three examples maximum, and only where it's either a particularly important point for my study or a point that's fairly original for the field I'm writing about, not where it's something very common or familiar already. I find it can be tricky deciding which references to use and which to leave out - mostly I try to find a review type reference, or an original reference if the point I'm making has come from one influential source that then influenced the others, or a very recent/particularly relevant reference. Failing that, I try to pick the most important/most cited paper or best known author.
Hope that helps!
======= Date Modified 04 Jan 2012 13:36:18 =======
I think it's fine to use three or four references but I'd make more than just passing references to all of them. I think it is probably better to contrast different studies rather than go into detail about just one, even if they do all say the same thing. That way you're proving you've actually read the papers you're mentioning. An example might be:
"It has been well established that chocolate is good for PhD students (Green, 2011; Black, 2004; Cadbury, 1959). Green (2011) and Black (2004) agree that the flavour and variety of chocolate helps lift the mood of postgraduates. However, Cadbury (1959) argue that palatability and texture is responsible for this effect."
Oh, actually yes, I agree with Cornflower, that's a much better way of looking at it, if you're not just backing up one single point.
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