how to cite a research paper

How to cite a research paper

Research papers and official documents are very important. A research paper is a large scientific work, which presents your opinion (it may be a personal evaluation, judgment, agreement or argument). In other words, we can call it an academic writing. You have to be aware of the basic elements of a research paper. Of course, people find out a lot of difficulties in choosing a topic, making the title, determining main ideas, identifying problems, organizing the notes, creating a strategy etc. But one of the most difficult and responsible parts for us is the citation of this document.

You may think it’s not a difficult step of the writing process but in reality every research paper format has its peculiarities and tricks. If you want to know how to cite a research paper, you’ll have to choose an appropriate format of text and read all strategies.

First of all, in order to cite academic writing it’s necessary to know 4 main research paper formats:

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  1. APA
  2. MLA
  3. Chicago
  4. ASA

Let’s make a brief description of each of them and discover the best tips, which are very useful in citation.

1. How to cite a research paper in APA format

This acronym means the American Psychological Association. Be sure you know exactly if it’s appropriate to use this style, because APA is ideal format for the next subjects as behavioral and social sciences( such as Psychology, Political Science, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Economics, Human geography and others).

There exist four significant elements to consider (which are approximately similar for all formats):

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main Body
  • References

The initial element with the title page has to include the name of the work, the author’s name and other information about the author. Moreover, your title has to represent the main idea of the whole report. Sometimes you may find it difficult to do it properly, but always remember that the title immediately tells us about what the whole research paper will be. Having said that, be careful and don’t write it too long, don’t include any titles, abbreviations and, generally, a lot of text. Conciseness is like the logo of this section. 10-12 words would be quite enough. If you manage to think up an impressive headline, you’ll increase the chances to be noticed.

Abstract is the part which helps researchers to comprehend your overall meaningful message and the depth of your thoughts better. Some essential steps: prepare a summing-up with crucial elements of this report, no more than 250 words. Forget about the rule: the more you write – the better. You will just spend a lot of time and make an impression that you are not a specialist in the specific topic. The summary has to be double-spaced. Don’t omit key words, which show your competency, awareness and the skill of selecting the most significant parts of the entire text.

Main body must be written very attentively, according to all requirements. You have to start with the main body. Then add information about the Title, the Introduction ((here you reveal the problem, which you have chosen), the Method (here you inform how everything was done, the materials, which were used etc.), the Results (here you summarize everything to demonstrate you work) and the Discussion (here you analyze and interpret your final result).

References are the last, but still very important part. The research paper is an official document, not your own freestyle writing. You just have to write the title References and alphabetize all entries.

Remember about the important rules such as to write down the year when you have written the paper. Provide this data in the citation form which you use in the main body.

2. How to cite a research paper in MLA format

It stands for Modern Language Association. We use this format to cite sources which are connected with liberal arts and humanities.

There exist some general guidelines:

  • You don’t have to use MLA style citation for well-known quotations. It’s a piece of advice that may prevent you from spoiling the work.
  • Do not overdo in trying to mention the author’s name as much as possible. It’s quite enough to name his/her only in the main body.
  • It is advisable to prepare your citations in the alphabetical order regarding the author’s last name. However, you may have only one author (sometimes your topic is wonderfully described in one book and it’s really better for you). In this case, you should focus on the title of the work.
  • The usage of parenthetical citation in MLA format is obligatory, because we have mentioned earlier that all formats are very similar, but they still are somewhat different.

Now, we will describe in detail step by step the process of citation

First of all, you have to write the author’s name in reverse order (last names and then first names. Don’t confuse, because it’ll be the blunder).

After that, come up with the title of the research paper. Enclose the title and subtitle in quotation marks. The next step is to identify the paper’s location.

Now, you’ll understand what it means. MLA operates on the concept of containers (we can advise you to list the smallest container and then write it up to the largest).

And, of course, the last requirement is to use parenthetical references in the body of your work. An important element of the work is to do everything in this order.

3. How to cite a research paper in Chicago style

The Chicago Manual of Style includes a large number of topics (manuscript preparations and documentations are the ones that are most often used). You should know two systems for citations: a notes and bibliography system. Some people use only one, which is better exactly for their papers. Chicago style also helps the writer to express credibility to the written material, because specialists can easily distinguish between plagiarism and your own text.

In order to do it right, you should follow the next tips:

  • The first advice is clear. It concerns the author’s name and its order in the writing. Everything is the same as in previous styles.
  • Necessarily, point the title of this document in quotation marks.
  • Don’t forget about the place and year of publication.
  • Add all the necessary additional information at the end of your work.

The most important advantage of The Chicago Manual of Style is that it offers writers a unique opportunity to comment all cited papers.

4. How to cite a research paper in ASA format

It stands for American Sociological Association. This format is especially important for those people who are interested in the field of sociology. ASA includes in-text citations.

It’s necessary to find out all information about the title page, text formatting, abstract, first page, subheadings, endnotes, page numbering and figures. These elements have their features. So it’s better to be aware of all tricks.

What concerns citation, here you can find the basic tips:

  • Mention the last name of the author and year of publication.
  • Your page numbers shouldn’t precede the year of publication, because this may confuse the reader or scientists who will take your paper for further investigations.
  • If the author’s name is not in the text, enclose last name and year in parentheses.
  • You have to write short quotations only in quotation marks. Even if you rewrite the quote, you have to give the information about the original source.
  • Separate a series of references and, of course, alphabetize them. You have to finish your work correctly. So, be attentive even with ending.

To sum up, you have to careful not to plagiarize information, but still integrate information from published sources into your own writing, expressing your ideas and attitude. Always remember that citations must be identical to the original, but copyright it wisely. Don’t forget that the main aim of such projects is to express your opinion and reveal hidden talents of people in different spheres. So, to do it properly, we advise you to read the whole text, summarize it in your mind and find out the key sentences and ideas.