How to do citations in a research paper?

What is a citation? A citation is a reference to a particular piece of writing like a tutorial, an article or a report, produced by specific authors or editors. A citation clearly identifies the place where you can find the work. Different fields of study have different citation formats, but all citations have an author(s), heading, date of publication. An insufficient citation can make a source difficult or impossible to find.

While dealing with a certain major field of study, we have to use essential vocabulary, document references, and format text in an appropriate way. Now we will consider the APA style, and the information about how to do citations in a research paper?

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Take into consideration that the term “citation” is a more specific term than “reference.” A citation can also be called a bibliographic reference. Most sources of information include a list of citations at the end. These are often called work cited or references. If the list is called a bibliography, however, it may also include citations to sources not used explicitly in a given work but suggested by the authors for further reading.

While dealing with general knowledge or well-known facts in the introduction we do not need a citation. The same with common knowledge, something that is known by everyone or nearly everyone in a specific field, academic discipline or community. Common knowledge is acquired as you research a topic and notice some facts and concepts repeated in sources without citation. You will be acquiring common knowledge as long as you research.

Statistical information that is not common knowledge and is associated with a single source must be cited. You may choose not to quote but put an author`s information into your own way of saying, i.e., paraphrase or summery. When you paraphrase, do not replace a few words with synonyms. Truly put it in your own words. This is a good choice because a quotation should be used only when the original wording is crucial for some reason. Citation in the introduction provides clarification of your thoughts. The in-text citation refers to the full reference citation on the references page at the end of a paper. In the body of the sentence, the data should appear in parentheses when it is next to the name of the source.

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Citation in the body of a research paper

While writing body paragraphs, you should state the topic sentence, explain and support the main points and conclude the paragraph. It is a good idea to provide a citation while supporting the essential idea of the paragraph. It is common to use the findings of various scholars to support the point you have just written in your own words. Doing so shows that what you claim is accepted by experts in this field and therefore your assertion is given credibility.

State an opinion or observation in your own words, then back up what you state with the credible source material, especially quotes. Doing your research paper and thinking on the topic you form some specific opinions and positions, they belong to you, and you should express them in your own words. They do not need to be cited. Anything in your paper that does not have quotation marks is considered to be your thoughts. But because this is an academic research essay, you must add the voices of published authorities to support your assertions. Use of powerful quotes is justified by its detailed language and powerful construction. So you can use the author’s exact words to take up space in your paper since they serve to be strong evidence of your position.

You should think carefully how to set up a quote with your leading sentence. The quote is a natural continuation of your sentence right before it. The quote should be formatted in regular font with no italics or bold. Remove irrelevant portions of the quotation and replace them with bracketed ellipses. Concluding sentence should be in your own words. So you can only do two things with a source either summarize information from it in your own phrases and sentences or quote from it directly. Before opting for which way to follow, be sure to have a good reason to do either one or the other since it should be relevant.

Signal phrases

It is always a good idea to introduce any quote with a signal phrase. You should introduce a researcher, scholar or expert. It should be clear how the quote relates to the sentence immediately before it. If the scholar is indifferent, maybe he comments, illustrates, notes describes or explains something. If it is a somewhat controversial point, maybe the author argues, claims, maintains, insists or contends something. If it is something he concluded from his research, you can simply write he concluded, predicted, proposes, found, suggests, considers or reveals.

One more issue to consider is a tense used. When you are referring to what an author says, you conclude about the topic, use the Present tense. If you are referring to information that is a part of a clinical study, it is something that happened in the past, then use the Past tense.

Use quotations sparingly. Make sure you understand the source material you are using. If you have trouble putting it into your own words because you do not understand it well, then it is hard for you to use it to support your argument, so maybe you have better find another source that is easier to understand.

How many citations should be in a research paper?

An in-text citation can only apply to the sentence that includes it. You must cite the source as many times as you use it. But you should not state the author’s last name, date of publication and page, for example, three times in one paragraph, and it is too much. You should give the source`s publication information once per paragraph that is why just avoiding repetition of the author’s last name is necessary. While discussing a single source in one paragraph use the phrases such as, “the result,” “this approach,” “the researcher” that make it clear that the information is taken from the same source that you have already mentioned.


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