Ethics and Documentation交际伦理与文献引证
The word ethic means moral custom—beliefs about good or bad behavior. Ethics can refer to
individual standards of behavior, standards of a particular group, or universal standards. In this chapter, ethic specifically refers to the standard governing the conduct for a particular group—those
who communicate technical information.
Documentation means supporting statements in a book or article with in-text citations and reference lists. 使用引证和和参考文献表来支持文中的陈述。If you write for publication, you
will be required to document your sources. Writers acknowledge their sources in order to increase their credibility and avoid plagiarism. They document their sources as a service to the reader by providing the information that allows the reader to locate the original source of the information cited.
I. Intellectual Property and Ethics知识产权与伦理
In writing you must respect the intellectual property of others and give complete credit to those whose information you use. Failing to acknowledge the ideas of others is unethical; publishing the ideas of others as your own is illegal. 在写作中要尊重他人的知识产权：并对引用的信息说明材
Therefore, you must document the sources of all ideas or expressions that are neither your own nor common knowledge.
However, it is often difficult to distinguish just what is common knowledge and what is not. Common knowledge refers to facts and ideas that are widely known and available from a number of sources. Read the following examples and tell which expresses common knowledge and which should be documented.
1) The Mars is the fourth planet from the sun.
2) The Mars has a sidereal period 恒星周期of revolution around the sun of 687 days at a
mean distance平均距离 of 227.8 million kilometers and a mean diameter二次平均直径
of approximately 6,726 kilometers.
3) There are living organisms on the Mars.
The first two sentences are common knowledge because they are generally recognized knowledge that can be found in common textbooks, dictionaries and encyclopedias. However, because there is some disagreement over whether there are really living organisms on the Mars, the third statement should be documented.
One popular problem now is the widespread availability of information on the Internet. Information gets passed around very quickly through the World Wide Web. You should avoid the temptation to simply download information from the Internet and use it, without giving credit. Even if you don‟t know whom to give credit to, you should at least cite the source.
II. Incorporating Source Material in Your Writing把原始资料引入文章
In technical writing you may frequently use the ideas you have learned from others through your reading. Reporting the results of reading can be as important as the research itself. Generally there are three methods of reporting the results of your reading.
• Quotation: using the author‟s exact words
• Paraphrase: putting the ideas into your own words
• Summary: condensing the ideas into a shorter passage
Quotations are direct citations from the previous works of others or your own. Quotations are accurate, but they can be lengthy and difficult to understand. In general, you should only use direct citations when you cannot say the same thing more clearly or more concisely than the original, or when the original language is so distinctive that you would lose something in a paraphrase or a summary.
Quotations are introduced and closed with double quotation marks. For clarity, you should incorporate quotations into the text as much as possible:
Stickle et al. reported that “the patients who received nifedipine were about half as likely to
need an aortic-valve replacement as those who took digoxin over the next five years” (1996).
To indicate a quotation within a quotation, use single quotation marks:
The Medical Quarterly reported that “Taylor found „spirochete-like elements‟ in skin-biopsy
specimens of erythema chronicum migrans.”《医学季刊》报告说：“泰勒发现在慢性游走性
Use ellipses省略号 to indicate omitted material. If the omission occurs within a sentence, use three periods with a space before and after each period to indicate omitted material: 如果省略出现在句
The disaster of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986, which killed all seven astronauts on board,
is regarded as the most disastrous space-traveling accident in history.
“The disaster of the space shuttle Challenger in 1986 . . . is regarded as the most disastrous
space-traveling accident in history.”
You can use brackets to clarify something in the original that might not be clear to the reader. For example, since the reader might not know what the pronoun “it” refers to in the following
citation, the writer has added the reference in brackets:
Taylor claims that, “Indeed, if it [the virus] exists, it may be much shorter lived in animals than
in human beings.”
You can also use brackets to show that an error in the text appears in the original. The most common way of indicating an error in a quotation which is not the writer‟s mistake is to place “sic” (Latin for
“thus” or “so”) within brackets:
“The epidemic is nondiscriminating, as it effects [sic] both sexes and all ages.” ；此处本应该
If the quoted material is lengthy, you should set it off as an indented block缩排的信息块.
There is little agreement among technical writing as to exactly what “lengthy” means and just how many spaces to indent. A general rule to follow is that if the quoted material runs longer than four lines, you‟d better indent the passage five spaces with single space between the lines. Do not enclose the passage in quotation marks but set it in italics.
We think they (Chinese colleagues) need to continue along this line (teaching vocabulary) but
we also think they should make additional efforts in a somewhat different direction. For
example, they could take advantage of the current ESP courses to introduce rhetorical issues,
such as audience, purpose, information selection, and page layout. When both instructors and
students feel more comfortable, other rhetorical issues may be introduced. (Ding & Jablonski,
2001, p. 432)
Be careful when you copy information, and double-check when you edit. If you spell a source‟s
name wrong, if you write the wrong date, if you transpose numbers, or if you inadvertently give the wrong page number in your documentation, that error might well cause a reader to question all your facts.
Paraphrase means to restate the ideas of others in a more easily understood form. Generally, a paraphrase is about the same length as the original passage, and is used when a writer wants to include many of the details in the original:
The instability of the heavy elements relative to those of mass number around 60, as is shown
by the binding energy curve, suggests the possibility of spontaneous decomposition of the
heavy elements into fragments of approximately half size.
The binding energy curve shows that heavy elements are less stable than those of mass number
around 60. This suggests that the heavy elements can possibly split up by themselves into parts
of about half size.
The original is a long sentence with complex structures, including nominalization and too many modifiers. The paraphrase simplifies the structure by dividing the original into two sentences, and converting nominalization (instability, possibility, decomposition) into verbs or adjectives (less stable, possibly, split up). Thus the meaning of the passage becomes clearer and easier to understand.
A summary also retells the idea of the original but is much briefer than the original. It reflects the language and tone of the original, and is used when the writer does not want to include many details in the original. The following is an example of a summary.
Laser light is very different from ordinary light. The light from a flashlight, for example, is
incoherent, that is, it travels in all directions. Laser light is coherent, which is to say that the
outer edges of the beam are almost perfectly parallel to each other. A laser beam one-half inch
in diameter will diverge to become only three inches in diameter after traveling more than one
mile; or, to look at it another way, that half inch beam, if fired from the earth to the moon,
would illuminate an area on the lunar surface only slightly greater than one mile in diameter. By
focusing the laser beam through a lens system, even smaller areas of coverage can be achieved.
Laser light, in addition to being coherent, is also monochromatic. Ordinary light is
polychromatic, which means it consists of all light frequencies ranging from infrared to
ultraviolet. Laser light normally consists of only one frequency or at most a few frequencies.
Laser light is different from ordinary light in that laser light is a kind of parallel light which
consists of only one color or one frequency, whereas ordinary light is a kind of unparallel light
which consists of all colors or all light frequencies.
Summary is the most frequently used form for reporting the results of your reading. In writing summaries you should make complex ideas more easily understandable by using more familiar language. You need to combine information from several sources in the same summary section, rearrange the material, and delete the material that is not important to your writing.
Guidelines for Incorporating Source Material 4.
• If your readers are experts, you will not have to define many terms or offer many
paraphrases. A direct quotation may be necessary.
• If your material is highly technical and your readers are novices, they will likely need
summaries and paraphrases that they can understand.
• If readers are concerned primarily in getting a general understanding of the material than
in absorbing details, you may use more summary than paraphrase.
• If readers are looking for information to help them make a decision, they will likely be
looking for summaries that will help them make those decisions.
• If your readers are looking for detailed information, you will likely include a lot of details
in your paraphrases.