What role(s) do cited sources play in a scientific paper? Think BEAM (1).
Background: Accepted facts, core concepts, literature gaps. (Introduction)
[Exhibit or "evidence": What you analyze, then elaborate upon later in the paper. Generally, scientific "exhibits" are your own data in the Results section—not requiring citation within the same paper.]
Arguments: Other research with which you hold a scholarly conversation—agreeing, disputing, extending. (Discussion)
Methods: Research procedures you followed. Explain rationale for selecting a particular procedure, credit others for developing procedures, eliminate verbiage in describing your own procedures. (Methods)
"Common knowledge" within a field is often presented without citations. E.g., no need to cite a definition of "temperate phage" when writing for other biomedical researchers who work with phages.
1. Bizup, J. (2008) BEAM: A rhetorical vocabulary for teaching research-based writing. Rhetoric Rev. 27, 72-86
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