So, you wrote your first research article, or you are about to turn in a term paper and the instructor has asked you to include at least 3 references. How do you acknowledge the sources you used? That is precisely where citation comes in. Citation not only gives credit to where it is due, but also helps the reader easily find sources in case they want more information on the topic (Patience et al., 2016). Most importantly, citing the proper source is considered a professional practice for students (Neville. “What, When and How to Reference.”). If the original source is not cited, the work would be considered an act of plagiarism, which is a very serious offence in academics. Before we learn how to cite, lets get the basics right about when to cite.
When to cite and when not to cite? Anytime you refer to another author(s)’ published content, be it a journal article or a web article, you must refer to the original source of information, such as title of the work, authors, year it was published and where it was published (i.e. name of the journal or website). Please note, citing the original source does not mean quoting the original source verbatim. The information or idea from the source must be presented in your words. In case the exact words are quoted, they must be stated within quotation marks. However, when you are presenting your interpretation of an idea, then there is no need for citation since the interpretation is your original work. The same goes for providing an overview or drawing conclusions ("Research Guides: Citing Sources: When You Don't Need to Cite", 2019). Also, anything that is common knowledge does not require a citation. If you write, “it takes 365 days for the Earth to revolve around the Sun”, this statement need not be cited. Citations are not just limited to text, images, schematics, flowcharts, all are within the purview of citable items. If you are using an image from a source, even with modifications, the original source of the image must be referred to with the words “Image adapted from” <source>.
How to cite? There are a variety of ways to arrange references in a citation; each journal has its own citation style. For academic papers, the most commonly used citation styles are MLA, APA, Harvard, and Chicago. These citation styles not only have their unique referencing style, but their own formats of papers, which may include a title page, a running head, an abstract etc. To learn more about MLA and APA styles, please visit: • APA:
• MLA: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_style_introduction.html
• Chicago: https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/chicago_manual_17th_edition/chicago_styl e_introduction.html