Using Hedges to Classify Citations in Scientific Articles

  • Chrysanne Di Marco
  • Frederick W. Kroon
  • Robert E. Mercer
Part of the The Information Retrieval Series book series (INRE, volume 20)


Citations in scientific writing fulfil an important role in creating relationships among mutually relevant articles within a research field. These inter-article relationships reinforce the argumentation structure intrinsic to all scientific writing. Therefore, determining the nature of the exact relationship between a citing and cited paper requires an understanding of the rhetorical relations within the argumentative context in which a citation is placed. To determine these relations automatically, we have suggested that various stylistic and rhetorical cues will be significant. One such cue that we are studying is the use of hedging to modify the affect of a scientific claim. We provide evidence that hedging occurs more frequently in citation contexts than in the text as a whole. With this information we conjecture that hedging is a significant aspect of the rhetorical structure of citation contexts and that the pragmatics of hedges may help in determining the rhetorical purpose of citations. A citation indexing tool for biomedical literature analysis is introduced.


automatic citation analysis hedges rhetoric of science science writing 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chrysanne Di Marco
    • 1
  • Frederick W. Kroon
    • 1
  • Robert E. Mercer
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. Of Computer ScienceUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  2. 2.Dept. Of Computer ScienceThe University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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