I'm currently researching the origins of a well known software engineering model - the waterfall model. The paper most cited for the model didn't invent the model, but rather said that it doesnt work and didn't even mention the name waterfall. To solve the "accident" I tracked back the origins of it and so on.

Now to my question to you guys: in the beginning years, most researchers quoted the paper and put quotation marks around the term "waterfall model" - since I'm not an english speaker and I dont really know how to interpret this, I thought I'd shoot my shot here. I'm happy for any suggestions!

Is it metaphorical, to emphasize, a scare quote, or just to quote a concept name of another author?

Some examples of the quotation mark usage:

The same top-down approach to a series of requirements statements is explained, without the specialized military jargon, in an excellent paper by Royce [5]; he introduced the concept of the "waterfall"of development activities.

A number of process models have been proposed in the literature, including the “waterfall model” [20,21], the “spiral model” [2], and “iterative enhancement” [l].

A "waterfall" phased methodology is used to plan, design, code, and test each release of software.

  • 3
    "Scare quotes" are normally used in informal contexts rather than scientific papers. It is more likely to be used to indicate the name given by someone else, as with a quotation from another paper; quotation marks indicate that the precise term is used in the source. I guess this could be proven by looking at other scientific papers and analysing their use of quotations.
    – Stuart F
    Aug 31, 2022 at 14:13
  • its just funny, cause the cited source does not even use the term at all Aug 31, 2022 at 14:28
  • Since technical papers usually use formal, literal language, it's not uncommon to put metaphors in quotes, to indicate that they're not literal.
    – Barmar
    Sep 1, 2022 at 20:29
  • It's also likely that most of the authors haven't actually read the paper being referenced. It may just have become common knowledge that the model was introduced in that paper, and few people realize that the term was coined later.
    – Barmar
    Sep 1, 2022 at 20:30


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