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Practical Guidance On How To Cite Sources In A Research Paper

A research paper is considered complete when there is a list of sources for the content or claims made in your writing. Scholars are known to provide evidence of the sources used by them in addition to the quotes, ideas or concepts they have espoused. The citation is the presentation of sources or links used to buttress any research effort.

The Choice of Citation Style

Deciding on your choice of citation style is not meant to be hard and fast. There are a number of conventions that have been developed for various disciplines. If your research paper is moderated by a professor, he will likely give you the citation pattern. For other journals or publications, their submission guidelines also contain citation style guides.

The Purpose of Citation

A citation gives credit to organizations or individuals in recognition of their intellectual work or creativity. If you have used their works to support or establish your ideas in a research paper, the governing codes of intellectual property requires that they are acknowledged. Typically, this will mean outlining the author by name, date and location of the publication title. Sometimes a digital object identifier is also recognized.

The Citation Style

A citation style is deployed to provide details that are considered necessary for a citation along with how they are ordered, punctuated and formatted. Many citation styles are in use, and your field of research is a major determinant of the citation style you will use.

  • Education, Sciences, and Psychology research papers use the APA (American Psychological Association) style
  • The idea behind the APA is founded on rules, which a publisher adheres to ensure that written presentations are consistently and clearly presented. Vital elements covered here include heading selections, tone, length presentation of numbers, punctuation and abbreviations, construction of tables as well as references and other parts of a manuscript.

  • Research papers in the Humanities use MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • The MLA style is founded on the use of parenthetical citations in the body of the text so as to key it to a list of sources that have been presented in alphabetical order. This list is at the end of the research paper.

  • Fine Arts, Business and History commonly use the Chicago/Turabian style
  • The Chicago style presents two major documentation systems, and this includes the notes and bibliography as well as the author- date. The style to use depends on the type of sources and the subject matter in consideration.