Citing Methods Literature: Citations to Field Manuals as Paradata on Archaeological Fieldwork


Introduction. This article investigates how researchers cite methods literature, and to what extent and how these citations could function as a form of paradata i.e., descriptive data on research processes. Method. Citations to two prominent field manuals were retrieved using Scopus; full-texts were obtained for analysis. Analysis. Descriptive statistics and qualitative content analysis were used. Results. Field manuals are cited both for compliance and contrast to clarify procedures and actions, understanding of what is considered conventional and extra-ordinary, to elucidate work processes in broader terms, and to explain concepts and what is common disciplinary knowledge. Even if literature use seems indicative of work procedures, a citation to a method cannot necessarily be considered as direct evidence of what was done in reality. Conclusions. Citations to field manuals can function as a complementary form of paradata to other information on how archaeological work has been conducted. However, rather than forming a standalone corpus of evidence, they can be expected to function best if combined with other indicators. A citation to a specific methods text can be indicative of certain patterns of work or presence of a shared scope of relevance with other works citing the same text.

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Information Research
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