How should the forum be referenced?

  • tmsinnovation
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How should the forum be referenced?

Quick question:

Was just wondering if a student found information in a discussion that they wanted to use in a paper for university, how would they reference the forum?

Rgds
Trevor

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Trevor Surridge
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Climate-friendly sanitation services in peri-urban areas of Lusaka (CFS-Lusaka) project
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  • Florian
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Re: How should the forum be referenced?

Hi,
in principle, one should be careful with using web-sources like wikipedia entries or posts in forums like this one in a scientific work. If ever possible quote the publications referred to in a forum post, and not the post itself.

Besides that, I'd quote web sources in the same way as publications (author, title, date, institution, etc.) including the url and the date viewed the source (websource may change or be edited). For example:

Trevor Surridge, 2013, How should the forum be referenced?, Forum of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance, Entry #4891, viewed 1.7.2013, http: //forum.susana.org/forum/categories/135-questions-about-using-the-forum/4891-how-should-the-forum-be-referenced#4891

Regards, Florian


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  • muench
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Re: How should the forum be referenced?

And I think another option could be to quote it as "Personal Communication" like one used to do e.g. with e-mail exchanges one had with expert, for example:

Klingel, F. (2013) Personal communication, 13 July 2013, forum.susana.org/forum/categories/135-qu...m-be-referenced#4900

Perhaps people working in academia could enlighten us further on this, how they would want their students to cite something they found on the forum. Whilst "formal" publications are of course best as a source, I think that the use of "grey literature", such as a forum, is unavoidable and growing when doing applied research on developing countries issues.

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(Forum moderation used to be funded via SEI project ( www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 ))

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Sanitation Wikipedia project leader: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation
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  • Marijn Zandee
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Re: How should the forum be referenced?

Both answers so far focus very much on the technical side, e.g. How to put an internet source in a reference list. Both options seem fine to me, it also depends on the general format that you use in your reference list. Naming the date you accessed the information is indeed crucial.

What I think is more important perhaps is how you use the reference in the actual text of your report / article. There, I think it would be very wise to mention something along the lines of: On the susana forum, where experts from the field exchange information and their views, there seems to be a growing consensus..... (or there seems to be very little consensus....). Or person X on the online susana forum suggests that....

That way in the article itself it is made clear that you are referencing an opinion from an internet forum and not "hard" data or a peer reviewed work.

Kind regards

Marijn Zandee

Marijn Zandee

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  • F H Mughal
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Re: How should the forum be referenced?

I tend to agree with the views of Florian. I have seen many, many references, on the pattern indicated by him, with a slight change (and slightly shortened), like

Trevor Surridge, 2013, How should the forum be referenced?, SuSanA, http: //forum.susana.org/forum/categories/135-questions-about-using-the-forum/4891-how-should-the-forum-be-referenced#4891, accessed on 3 July 2013.

"Personal Communication," as I understand, would be like if I seek some information from Elisabeth through email(s); and then referenced it as ......, personal communication.

F H Mughal

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