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The first piece of advice you would receive if seeking for the best way to create a research paper is to properly acknowledge your sources. Many organizations have standardized this practice for use in academic research.

Furthermore, conferences and journals have peculiarly stringent formatting requirements. Thus, Ph.D. candidates,  prospective researchers, and even undergraduates need to know how to properly reference a research article and other sources.

For several reasons, it’s crucial that you correctly cite your sources. One of the most crucial is the simplicity with which you can explain your work’s relevance and significance to your reviewers and readers.

An in-text citation tells the reader where you found the idea, information, or image you used in your work. An in-text citation is used in the main text of a work to give credit to the original author of a quote or piece of information.

A References or Works Cited list contains all of the sources used in a study. Author, title, and date of publication make up the bare minimum of a citation.

In any form of academic writing, you must make it clear to the reader what parts of your work are original and what parts are based on the work of others. If the idea is not your own, you must give credit to the original author whether you are summarizing, paraphrasing, or quoting them.

This doesn’t apply to generally known facts. You should always credit sources, even if you are unsure if something is already common knowledge, or you can always ask your lecturer for clarification. Following the guidelines below can help you properly cite your sources, ensuring that your work is both accurate and transparent.



Pick a Format for Your References

Determine the correct citation style by consulting your professor, assignment guidelines, or prior knowledge of your intended readership’s or publisher’s preferences. Then, either buy or request the stylebook or handbook for your preferred style from a local library.


References in Text Creation

You should consult the detailed guidelines for using in-text citations provided by the style you’re using because every citation format has its unique styles and pattern. Fortunately, examples are typically supplied, which greatly simplifies learning the rules. Examples of situations in which your style guide may have differing requirements for citation include:

  • Direct quotes, not summaries or paraphrases
  • Lengthy quotes.
  • Documents that are written by a single author or a group of writers.
  • Books, journals, interviews, and electronic communication. 

Determine your research sources

Decide what kind of source you need to credit, then create the in-text citation and start working on the full bibliographic citation that will appear on the References or Bibliography page. Look over the sections’ headers to get a sense of the guidelines’ scope.

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Study the citation guidelines for your style.

A complete bibliographic citation for the same source is then required. This reference will be included on the Works Cited, Bibliography, or References page. Bibliographic citations typically include more publishing information than you did for your in-text citation, and all of it must be formatted in a particular way. The Rules Of Bibliographic Citation Are Very Strict

When it comes to sources, different rules are depending on things like whether they are books, journal papers, or online sources, sometimes the citation’s lines need to be indented.

The last name of the authors is typically displayed first, Initials may be used instead of first names by authors, and The entire names of sources are not always required, Some sources’ names may need to be italicized, and Some sources’ names may need to be cited using quotation marks. Depending on the style, several locations may have publishing dates.

Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are required by several citation styles when using online sources.

Specify the citation components

Determine which guidelines for reference citation should be used for the source for which you constructed an in-text citation. Apply them to your reference section after that.


For each of your sources, repeat the procedures for adding an in-text and a bibliographic citation.

To create your bibliographic citation, arrange the publication details to correspond to the sample you selected in Step 4. Pay close attention to the capitalization, punctuation, and space usage in each section that the sample demonstrates.



Writing style, whether you are directly quoting your source, or referring to an entire work will affect how you should reference a work inside your document. For in-text citations in APA style, use the author-date system.

In the text, cite the source using the author’s last name and the year it was published, like this: (Jones, 1998), and include a full reference at the end of your work. You need simply cite the author and date of publication if you are referring to a concept from another work without directly quoting the material or referring to a complete book, essay, or other work.

In addition to providing a tool for readers to critique your study and learn more about the research subject at hand, citing your sources also demonstrates to readers where you found the information you used to complete your work. You can use a citation generator to automatically format your citations to the guidelines of the style manual you select.

It is crucial to properly reference the work of others because:

  • If you don’t properly cite your sources, it will be difficult for others to find them. References to other works allow readers to learn more about a subject. For some fields, “citation tracking” (the practice of following a source’s footnotes or references) is one of the best ways to find reliable secondary resources.
  • By referencing the work of others, you demonstrate that you have read widely on the subject and are making decisions based on solid knowledge. Your authority as the paper’s creator will rise as a result.
  • You can utilize the ideas of other researchers to support your own, or you can use them to argue against your position, depending on your philosophy. In many circumstances, the arguments of another researcher might serve as the principal context from which you can emphasize a distinct viewpoint or clarify the significance of what you are saying.


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