Citing Sources For A College Research Paper
Which citations are acceptable for a college research paper?
It goes without saying that students must submit research papers that are substantive in nature. A research paper for college presents an opportunity for students to explore, analyze, or describe a specified topic using credible citations from acceptable sources.
Acceptable citations for academic papers should be from peer-reviewed sources such as the required class text, published journals, peer-reviewed periodicals, systematic reviews, scholarly studies, and online publications posted in credible libraries such as JSTOR, PubMed, ScienceDirect, and EBSCO Connect.
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College students find it quite hard to find sources that are acceptable for use when writing their body sections in a research paper. They use non-academic sources such as Wikipedia and online articles that are neither peer-reviewed nor scholarly. If you are having problems citing your paper, contact our online research paper writers for help.
Why should students cite sources in a college research paper?
Citing your sources is crucial when writing academic papers such as research papers. Passing with a good grade in a college research paper is highly dependent on how you cite your sources. Every time you use text or evidence from a source (such as a book, reviewed article, or credible website) in a sentence or paragraph, you need to give due acknowledgment to the original author with a citation. Since you are presenting someone else’s ideas as if they were your own, failing to properly cite your sources is considered plagiarism.
In summary just to highlight as this is of the ultimate importance, all academic text genres including college research papers must have citations. They are required for a number of factors:
- You avoid plagiarism by citing sources when you use information from them.
- In order to properly acknowledge the source’s author.
- To enable the reader to check out your sources on their own.
- To get good grades for a research paper that would otherwise be graded poorly for poor citations
How do students cite sources when they paraphrase?
Every time you incorporate a source in your research paper, a citation is required. Typically, this entails quoting or paraphrasing:
- Copy a brief section of text word for word and enclose it in quotation marks to use it as your source.
- Put the text from the source into your own words to paraphrase it. It’s crucial that the paraphrase does not sound too much like the source sentence.
Whether you quote directly from a source or paraphrase it, you must cite it. Don’t forget to cite any other sources you utilize for ideas, examples, or proof in addition to scholarly sources like books and journal articles. Websites, YouTube videos, and lectures are also cited when paraphrased in a research paper.
What citation format should you use?
You will typically need to adhere to a certain citation style specified by your college; so check your course syllabus, rubric or confer with your instructor.
The easiest way to create citations in MLA, APA, and other formatting styles is to use Microsoft Word’s built-in citation generator. There are also a ton of citation generators available online that just need the URL, DOI, or title to produce an accurate, fully styled reference.
You might need to pick your own citation style in some circumstances. Be careful to choose one style and stick with it:
- APA Style is extensively utilized in the social sciences and other disciplines.
- MLA format is widely used in the humanities.
- Chicago style is divided into two systems:
- Common in the humanities are Chicago notes and bibliography.
- The (social) sciences employ the Chicago author-date format.
- There are numerous more citation styles for other disciplines.
If you’re not sure, ask your professor or read some papers in your area of study to see what formatting standards they use.
In most styles, your citations will include:
- In-text citations which should be brief and used at strategic points throughout the research paper.
- A reference list or bibliography with detailed information on all sources cited.
How to Create In-text Citations in a College Research Paper
In-text citations are most typically made in the form of parenthetical citations that include the author’s last name and the year of publication. In some instances, footnotes are used in numerical citation styles; in which a superscript number is put into the text, matching to an entry in a numbered reference list.
There are also additional note citation styles, in which citations in a research paper are placed in either footnotes or endnotes. Because they aren’t integrated in the text, these citations might contain additional information and aren’t always supported by a comprehensive reference list or bibliography.
Creating Bibliographies and Reference Lists for a Research Paper
A reference list (sometimes known as a “bibliography” or “Works Cited” depending on the format) is where students provide detailed information about every source cited in the research paper. It normally appears at the end of your paper on a separate page, with a dangling indent for each entry.
Whatever citation style you use, the information in reference lists is broadly comparable. Typically, you’ll include the following for each source:
- Author name
- Publication date
- Container (e.g., the book an essay was published in, the journal an article appeared in)
- Location (e.g., a URL or DOI, or sometimes a physical location)
Depending on the kind of source used and the citation style, different information is supplied. Additionally, there are variations in the arrangement and formatting of the information (e.g., capitalization and use of italics).
Your reference list’s entries are ordinarily alphabetized by author name. This makes it simple for the reader to locate the appropriate entry using the author’s name from your in-text reference.
The entries in your reference list are numbered in numerical citation styles, typically based on the order in which you cite them. Based on the number that appears in the college research paper, the reader can locate the corresponding citation easily.