Citation content in literature review sections of research articles : A cross-paradigm comparison of design science and interpretivist research in information systems

Research output: Journal Publications and ReviewsRGC 21 - Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

View graph of relations

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Journal / PublicationEnglish for Specific Purposes
Online published14 Sept 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


Despite a long history of citation research, its focus has been on the linguistic and rhetorical characteristics of citations rather than their semantic nature. Using a move-based approach grounded in the CARS model (Swales, 1990), this paper studies the sorts of source ideas cited in different parts of literature reviews (LR) of Information Systems research articles following the design science research (DSR) and interpretivist research (IR) paradigms. Findings reveal three types of epistemically-oriented semantic content – theoretical, research, and methodological – and one type that is non-epistemically-framed, which vary quantitatively and qualitatively between the DSR and IR LRs. For example, both types of LRs cite more often in Move 1 Establishing a territory than in Moves 2 and 3 Establishing a niche and Occupying the niche, with theoretical terminologies, definitions, propositions being referred to more frequently in the IR writing than in the DSR writing. On the other hand, citations in the DSR writing often display prescriptive propositions, design concepts, artefacts, and methods which are absent from the IR writing. These findings not only help us better understand how citation is shaped and constrained by rhetorical moves and research paradigms but also provide implications for the teaching of citation content. © 2023 Elsevier Ltd

Research Area(s)

  • Citation content, Information systems, Literature reviews, Move analysis, Re-contextualization, Research paradigms

Citation Format(s)