Although a great deal has been written about citation in expert research writing, and about novice students’ acquisition of citation skills for the purposes of argumentation, little is known about the typical uses of citation in undergraduate student coursework, in different disciplines, and at different levels of study. This paper describes how typical citations patterns can be retrieved from undergraduate assignments in the British Academic Written English (BAWE) corpus, and examines the linguistic features of these patterns with reference to the types of sources cited and the different functions of citation. It reveals a wide variety of patterns and purposes, well beyond those described in student writing guides. Students’ use of citation was found to increase as they progressed through the years of undergraduate study, although citation was not an essential feature of every type of writing assignment, and was performed in different ways according to discipline. The search queries presented in the paper can be used by researchers, students, and writing tutors as a basis for further investigation into citation practices. The findings also have implications for teaching, and the training of EAP practitioners.
- student writing
- source use