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Different Citation Styles For A Research Paper

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A research paper is incomplete without citations. In academic writing, it is of crucial importance that you document all of the sources that you have used in the research paper. Different kinds of citations are being used across the academic world. In this blog, we will look at some of the widely used citation styles.

Why should you cite sources?

Many of the students may ask why it is necessary to cite sources. Well, to begin with, it is demanded by the professors and mostly carries extra credits for your research paper. Moreover, one cannot always come with 100% original content on its own. That is why it is called research. Before you start writing your paper, you will look at the relevant work and then will probably use the ideas of a few of them in your research paper.

To avoid plagiarism, you will probably paraphrase the ideas of your sources but you still have to cite the source and give credit to the original author, otherwise, it will be considered plagiarism. Moreover, citations also make your paper look more credible. If people have any doubts about your conclusions, they could look up the supporting references that you mentioned in your paper.

Back in high school, when I used to write my essay, citing sources used to look like a cumbersome task. However, now I have realized that it is not so difficult.

Different Citation Styles

Different kinds of citation styles are used by academics across the world. The three main categories of the citation styles:

  1. Parenthetical in-text citation: In such styles, the writer has to put the information about the source in parenthesis in the text. The information usually includes the last name of the author of your source and its publication date or the page number, on which the information, used in the paper, is present. The two main types of citation styles that fall in this category are:
    • Modern Language Association (MLA): In MLA style, you put the last name of the author and the page number in parenthesis, directly in the text, as mentioned above and then put a full reference of the respective source in the work cited page at the end of the paper. This style is widely used by researchers in humanities. By using the information provided in the parenthesis and reference in the work cited page, the reader could quickly track down the exact sentences that the essay writer has used in his paper.
    • American Psychological Association (APA): Where MLA is widely used in humanities, APA is most common in social sciences. In APA more emphasis is put on the year the source was published. By looking at the year, readers quickly get an idea about the timeline of the research.
  2. Note Citation: In this type of citation, you put the information about the source in footnotes at the bottom of the page. The most commonly used note citation styles are:
    • Chicago and Turabian: Both of the styles have two options; you can either use parenthetic in-text citation or you can use footnotes for citing the sources. The footnotes are used so that the reader is not distracted by the information in the parenthesis in the text. However, if a reader wants to follow the source, he can get all the information in the footnotes. Chicago is widely used in history, while Turabian is more commonly used in social sciences and natural sciences.
  3. Numeric Citation: In this type of referencing, you number all of the resources used in the paper in the endnotes, at the end of the paper. Thereafter, you use the number of a particular source when you want to cite that source. The most common type of numeric citation is:
    • American Medical Association (AMA): As evident from the name, this style is mostly used in research falling in the ambit of the discipline of medicine.

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