How to Cite Sources Online: A Short Guide For Students
Citing sources is an important part what cannot be exclude in all academic writing. It applies to research papers, dissertations, essays, homework and presentations. You can paraphrase a journal or webpage or book. After quoting your reference source, you must credit it to the original author through citation.
If you failed to cite sources properly is considered under plagiarism because it would appear you were presenting another person's work as your own. The common citation styles which are poluar in academics include APA, Harvard, MLA, and Chicago.
Also read:- University referencing guide for beginners
Why to Cite? [The Importance of Citing Sources]
A writer provides citations to indicate the source of information. For several reasons, writers are required to cite the sources they use. First and foremost, referencing sources assists other researchers' to locate the data they want for their own study. People frequently find themselves exploring the same area. By referencing sources right, authors provide a path for future readers and scholars to follow. Correct citation of sources is also necessary (especially for students) in order for professors to evaluate the caliber of the sources that students are using. Last but not least, writers must properly thank their sources by citing them. Writing is an artistic endeavor that takes a long time to accomplish. Writers mention sources to respect and acknowledge where information is from. This aids authors in avoiding plagiarism and taking credit for work that is not their own.
How to Cite? [How Do You Cite Sources?]
There are two types of citing. One is in-text citation and the other is referencing/bibliography. In (In-text citation) the easiest method to follow is to mention the author's last name and year of publication in parenthesis. For example (Hysing 2021). While citing any source first thing you need to know is about the style of citation. There are different styles to cite the sources of information for example APA, MLA, Harvard, and Vancouver. Every style has its own formatting pattern. When you reference information from another author's work, be sure to use your own words to simply and clearly describe any specific information. Always follow the information you've given with a citation to the original piece.
Numerous citation formats are used by the majority of universities and organizations. Before starting a work, always confirm the professor's preferred citation style. No matter what citation style you use, the steps are always the same. For examples of how to create in-text citations, reference lists, and bibliographies, go to the relevant style manual. Some style manuals may be accessed using citation management software, which keeps track of sources and allows for the creation of bibliographies, in-text citations, and reference lists. Consistently adhere to one standard style throughout the whole article.
Bibliographies and reference lists
The last section of a paper is the bibliography, reference list, or works cited. The term depends on the referencing style. For APA style, use the title "references." For MLA, use the title "works cited" and "bibliography" for Chicago.
Provide all the information on the sources you used in your research. The information must also appear in the text. This section mostly uses a hanging indent for every entry. Any citation style includes the following details:
- Name of the author
- Date of publication
- Container (e.g., where the journal appeared)
- Name of the publisher
- Location (e.g., DOI or URL)
The information to include in this section depends on the citation style and the type of source. The format and the order of information also vary. In many cases, you will need to include the author names in alphabetical order. This enables the reader to find relevant entries easily.
In numerical styles of citation, you must number all entries in the reference list. This is based on the order of citation. It will make it easier for the reader to find the entries that are in the text.
Let's discuss the pattern to cite: Here we will be discussing the pattern to cite sources in Harvard style.
In-text citation in Harvard style: Firstly write the name of the author/organization followed by the year in which it was revised.
Referencing: Firstly write the name of author and then year in which it was created or revised. After it write the name of the website in italics followed by name of any sponsor organization/group. Now mention the date, month and year when you viewed that site with word accessed before it and at last mention URL of website in pointed brackets.
For special pages in the websites
Rest everything will be same as written above with only a change in referencing pattern. Instead of writing name of website you have to mention page title name. Rest all the order is same.
For webpage with no author
In text citations: Write title name of page followed by year
Referencing: Write title name of page followed by year. Then mention date, month and year in which the site was viewed followed by URL of website in pointed brackets.
For webpage with no dates
In text citations: Use the abbreviation n.d. instead of date.
Referencing: Same abbreviation to be used in place of date. Rest the order will be same.
Media articles with no author
In-text citations: Write the name of newspaper or any other printing followed by date, year and page number.
Referencing: Write the name of article between single quotation marks followed by title in which it was published. It should be in italics and maximum letters should be capital. After it date, month and year of publishing should be written followed by page number if it is available.
Media articles with author
In text citations: Same as in a journal. It is mentioning name of author followed by year and page number
Referencing: Follows the same pattern as in a journal. Authors name, followed by year of publication, article title within single quotation marks, name of publication in italics with maximum capital letters, then date of publication and last page number.
General way of writing reference section
It is also known as annotated bibliography. Always written at the end of research paper. Its main motive is to relate each mentioned informative knowledge with each other in an orderly manner. Six key factors you should remember while mentioning bibliography are:
- Mention the qualification or authority of the professor clearly and in the initiation of the reference.
- Explain in a few sentences the main theme of the text mentioned.
- Explain the relation of work with other tasks in the same field.
- Mention clearly the conclusion of the author.
- Indicate if any difficulty was produced during driving information from the piece of work by the author.
- End it with a summary section. Write it as a comment and not as a paragraph.
General steps to cite sources
- The first and foremost step is to choose the style of citation as mentioned above. It may be according to the professors need or whatever regulations are for which you are doing the task as every organization follows its different pattern.
- Now read rules thoroughly about how to write in text citations for the chosen format and mention them.
- Now you have to write your referencing section or bibliography part. For this after deciding the style of citation check which type of work you need to site or from where. As it may be a book, journal, website etc.
- Now study the rules for the same. These are usually bit longer than the information used to mention in text citations.
- Now as per the rules create your bibliographic section.
- Repeat the steps for each of the sources you need to cite.
[Note: Specific attention to be paid for capital letters, italics, punctuation marks etc. As these will matter a lot and create differences between different formatting pattern. To avoid errors revise the section again.]
In-text citations - How to do In-text citations?
Most in-text citations are in the made in form of parenthesis. They feature the author's last name & the year of publication.
For APA referencing style, refer to the example given below:
"Social media marketing has changed the way of doing business" (Mwaura, 2020,p 96).
In the numerical citation process, the students will need to insert a number into the text corresponding to a specific entry in the reference list.
"Social media marketing has changed the way of doing business" (1,p.96).
A student can also use note citation styles. Place the citation either on endnotes or footnotes. Since such notes are not within the text, they give the readers more details. Special Latin terms such as "et al" may be used. Use "et al" when quoting multiple authors. For repeated quotations, use the term "ibid."
Enhance the Credibility of Your Paper using Citation in Paper
Citing sources is too much important for any form of academic writing and it decides sometimes your grading. It elaborate to instructor that you are a good researcher and citation enhances the credibility of your paper or academic work. Whenever you face too many challenges with citation, use a citation generator of Expertsminds.
A student has to choose the right citation style and focus on in-text citation / bibliography.