Reference Citations

Reference Citations
Every college student will inevitably need to write a college-level research paper at some point in his or her academic journey, particularly after reaching the master’s or doctoral level. As interesting as these studies may be, the challenge of utilizing an appropriate citation format will present a hurdle students will face on a regular basis.

A citation can be a quotation or alphanumeric expression contained within the body of your paper that identifies a piece of literature taken from an external source used within your paper. For example, it can take the format (BellaOnline 2016). Citing work is a way to substantiate your view on a topic by using empirical evidence another has uncovered on the same subject matter.

Many citations share the same basic components such as author name, title of article, publication date, place of publication, and publisher. Depending on the institution you attend and the discipline you study, you will encounter specific citation formats you must use. Citation style guides can be found as published books, online, and on your university library website. Three popular citation styles are as follows:

  • American Psychological Association (APA) is a professional and scientific organization for psychologists.

  • Modern Language Association (MLA) is a professional association composed of professors, graduate students, and academic scholars.

  • The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), published at the University of Chicago Press,focuses on editorial practice in English grammar, document preparation, and history.

Citations are necessary when quoting another person’s work. They give credit where credit is due. All resources cited in a research paper should be listed at the end of the research paper in a format called a bibliography (aka references and works cited). Depending on the style guide used, bibliographies can be a cumbersome chore to create, as the order of cited work varies depending on the style used. Historically, student were required to create the list of cited sources themselves, but today with advancement in technology, students can simply use an online interactive web tool that creates the citations for you. You simply fill out the online form, select the style guide preference, and voilà! The citations appear in appropriate bibliographic format. Nevertheless, not all websites claiming to create citations in the appropriate format produce accurate service. To ensure that your citations are in the correct format, always be certain to keep a style guide pocketbook close by or check your university website to see if it offers a bibliography, reference, or citation generator.

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