How To Cite Sources In A Research Paper – 5 General Rules

If you don’t understand how exactly to cite sources in your academic paper, here are the top five rules of thumb for you. Keep in mind that separate marks are allocated for proper citation and referencing and you need to follow the rules below to avoid deduction of marks on the ground of poor citation.

First rule

If you are using the words or phrases of some other author verbatim, you must not misquote him or her. You need to use quotation marks and place the words and phrases within the quotes. If you are using APA format, you also need to list the bibliographic information on the references page of your dissertation. To find more about the right format, you can just visit your college library and get a reference book. Alternatively, you can use an online citation generator for doing the same.

Second rule

If you are not going to use exactly the same words or phrases but you are about to summarize the central idea obtained from a source online, you need to paraphrase and quote the author in due manner. In this case as well, you need to include the bibliographic info in the end.

Third rule

If you are deriving some piece of information from the public domain, such as an online encyclopaedia, you need not include the source. However, you cannot just copy and paste the information. Instead, you need to paraphrase it.

Fourth rule

You need to double check the facts and numbers before including any information in your essay. This is because your examiners will deduct your numbers for misquoting information or giving false information. Keep in mind that if you are putting a wrong piece of information in your essay, it will be considered a deliberate act of misinforming.

Fifth rule

Lastly, you need to check with your university or college to know what format they are telling you to follow. Citation in Harvard style is quite different from citation in APA, and the same is also different from citation in MLA format. No two styles have similarities.

If you have a doubt regarding how to cite your sources, you need to talk to your mentors before citing the sources. Alternatively, you can download some samples from the internet to get familiar with different citation styles. These days, getting samples for free is easy since there are many academic agencies online to help you in this regard.

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