Citations- What, Why, and How?

What are essay/ research paper citations?

Have you ever encountered situations where someone else took credit for your work without giving due credit to you? It feels terrible as a creator, author, or inventor. That is why citations are used to give due credit to the original creator. Citations are the means to recognize the source of information used in one’s study. Research, ideas, quotations and phrases, audio and visuals, and any other information that did not originate with you must be cited in your work. Citations assist the reader in trailing the author’s path to explore a particular subject. An author must also cite to avoid the charge of plagiarism for presenting someone else’s ideas and information as their own.

Why is it important to include citations in your essay/ manuscript?

In addition to acknowledging the original creators and authors, several other factors should encourage scientists to cite better, such as-

  1. Citations can be a great way to double-check the facts of previously available knowledge of a particular subject.
  2. When authors/researchers pay attention to the citation, they look into detail and develop a succinct relevant summar
  3. y from vast sources. An article’s credibility is significantly increased by citing exact sources instead of vague attributions like “They say” or “It was done.”
  4. The bibliography reflects the extent of knowledge that an author possesses. A well-read and well-informed scientist/author must be updated in their field of work and be aware of critical, well-known literature.
  5. Citing the sources helps the author and the reader perceive the work’s context and where it might fit in and enhance the existing literature.
  6. Proper research documentation and presentation through citations greatly enhance a researcher’s credibility among his peers.

How to include citations in an essay/ research paper

Numerous citation styles are available worldwide; however, one must adhere to the citation style required by the institution or publishing house for publishing their paper. Currently, the most followed citation styles are the MLA style created by the Modern Language Association, the APA (American Psychological Association) style, the NLM (National Library of Medicine) style, the AMA (American Medical Association) style, and the Chicago style.

Most citation styles comprise brief in-text citations and complete citations. While in-text citations are present within the essay/ manuscript’s main body, complete citations are usually compiled in an article’s reference/ bibliography section, containing all the information required to procure the original work.

Here is an example of how to cite a source in an essay/ research paper’s bibliography in the MLA style-

Author’s last name, Initial et al. “Name of the Research Article.” Name of the journal volume, Issue (publishing date): page numbers. Doi: link.

And here is an example of a part of an essay with in-text citations superscribed next to the respective references-

This excerpt was taken from an article in Nature Structural and Molecular Biology (Wu, 2023).

In-text citations are usually enclosed in parentheses or superscribed. They usually comprise short information like the author’s name and publishing year or numerical references that can be traced to the total citations in the article’s bibliography.

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