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Everything On Citing Your Sources

17 Jul 2021

Have you ever heard the word reliability or authenticity? Without proving the authenticity of your data, you cannot make a mark on your reader. That's why it is essential to carefully cite your sources to prove the legality of your study. In this section of our case study, we will let you know everything that is required to understand citation. 

What is the citation?

Citation can be defined as the original source of data, information, or the details which one uses in his/her study. It is unethical mot to cite the source and present the data as your own in your academic assignments

Cite your sources to avoid plagiarism

Plagiarism is something that can destroy your whole study. Whether you are taking data from a paper or a journal, whether the data has published or made accessible online, make sure to cite the sources of your data. This can make you get rid of plagiarism as well as it can improve the overall genuineness of your study. 

Key Information

There are some certain things that are involved as far as citing a source is concerned. Details are given below;

  • In-text Citation
    When you are quoting someone else’s work, you need to make citation within the text as a reference point for the readers. Citation also indicates that from where the data has been obtained.
  • List of work
    At the end of your study, make a list of reference or citation that you have consulted throughout your research. List has to be arranged properly and all citation references have to be in the list.

What sources should be cited? 

It is compulsory to use the in-text citation for data that is not yours. This is a basic rule of citation that has to be followed whole, citing your sources. The citations have to be in your reference list. Otherwise, your data will be considered fake and theoretical. References must be provided at the last based on your in-text citations. Every organization has its parameters and demands as far as plagiarism is concerned. You need to be very attentive, careful, and cautious while doing your citation because a lot depends on the citation. Here is some vital information regarding citation of the sources;

  • Make sure to cite your source against a data which is not your own
  • If you are using some direct quotations of an individual, you need to cite it as well
  • Any piece of information which is taken from an article or journal has to be cited
  • Paraphrasing doesn't mean the information or idea is yours. It is legitimate to cite the source while paraphrasing and summarizing
  • Any data which is obtained from a website, from an annual report also needs to be cited

Cite your sources

Citation is not only required to avoid plagiarism. People considered that as a technique to get rid of plagiarism, but it is also needed ethically. Here is why we should cite our sources;

  • It is the moral duty of the writer to give credit to the original author
  • Citation is also a sort of message that, you have completely understood the idea of original writer
  • Citation can help other people to find the data from a genuine source. If someone is working on a certain subject, your citation source can prove handy for someone else
  • It is international standard and rule to make the credibility sure. Students all over the world are obliged to use this technique to prove dependability and integrity of a data
  • To avoid infractions of honor code, citations are compulsory

About citations

There are some standard elements that need to be cited with utmost care. The components are;

  • Name of authors
  • Book's title, or title of journal/paper
  • Publication date
  • Page numbers
  • Volume and issue number

These are some pieces of information that have to be in your references. People do studies with so much dedication and care but ignore this citation part, which leads to the cancellation of their studies.

When we need not to cite something?

There are some situations in which it is okay not to cite the source. 

  • Such facts, which are apparent and almost known to all of us, can be left without citation. For example, AIDS is a disease that hasn’t cured so far.
  • Statistics or data that is available on multiple sites and can easily be found can also be left without citation. For example, the Population of United States. This information is readily available, and it is okay not to cite such data.
  • Definitions that are according to the dictionary are not compulsory to cite while doing your research or writing your paper.

Do you have some questions?

There are some common questions that can be there in your mind while reading this guide on how to cite the source. Here we have gathered some questions that may prove helpful in understanding the topic more efficiently.

Should I avoid referencing the work of others?

Referencing someone’s work doesn’t mean that your work lacks authenticity. If a work has been done properly, you should give the reference and cite it accordingly to ensure the truthfulness of your study. A study with few references is considered incomplete because references can prove the validity of your data. So try to add as many reliable references as you can.

What am I supposed to do if many authors have published similar sorts of information?

Try to summarize the whole idea in such a scenario. You can write it in a way like “many reliable authors have worked on this topic to prove etc.” This way of writing will make the readers aware of the situation that much work has been done. Do not refer only one author; it will give the impression that only a single author has worked on this. Make sure to let them know how much work has been done in the past. 

What if I want to write something and it is available exactly somewhere else?

As you know, it is very crucial to write without plagiarism. First of all, it is almost impossible that what is in your mind exactly and similarly available before. If this happens, make sure to quote directly with citation to prove your point as well. Do not consider it as a setback for you; it can be helpful for you to prove your point with an authentic reference. Do not hesitate to quotes something in its real shape. 

Should a source be cited if published years ago?

Regardless of when a source has been published, you need to cite it because you have used the data to strengthen your subject, and for this reason, you are obliged to cite the source. But try to cite the latest sources because sometimes previous studies get rejected because of some latest research. In this regard, it is better to use as latest and credible studies as possible. Make sure to use your research problem as a guide for citation purposes. 

Citation styles

There are some certain styles of citation which are used worldwide. Each and every institute has its own requirements regarding the citation method. Some of the commonly used citation styles are;

American Psychological Association (APA)

It is a citation style created way back in 1929. This citation style is used by psychologists, business manager. In the education sector, APA is preferred. For your better understating, we have given an example of a reference in APA style.
H. (2011). Wolves, Dogs, Rearing and Reinforcement: Complex Interactions Underlying Species Differences in Training and Problem-Solving Performance. Behavior Genetics, 41(6), 830-839.

Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago)

For the purpose of bibliographic citations, this style of citation is best applicable. It is used at the bottom or at the end of a paper. Chicago style of writing a reference is used in a lot of universities and institutions. Here is an example of a reference in Chicago style.
H. 2011. "Wolves, Dogs, Rearing and Reinforcement: Complex Interactions Underlying Species Differences in Training and Problem-Solving Performance." Behavior Genetics 41 (6):830-839.

Modern Language Association (MLA)

This citation source is in its 8th edition right now. Modern language association style is commonly used in humanities. MLA is one of the most commonly used styles of citation. We have quoted an example so you can have a look at this style as well.
H. "Wolves, Dogs, Rearing and Reinforcement: Complex Interactions Underlying Species Differences in Training and Problem-Solving Performance." Behavior Genetics 41.6 (2011): 830-39. Print.

NOTE: While doing academic writing, it is very critical and decisive to let the reader know what data is yours and what has been extracted from a source. Do not be mistaken regarding one thing that, summarization makes the data yours. Whether you are rephrasing or summarizing data, it has to be cited according to the actual source. Only the commonly known facts are not required to cite, and other than that, every bit of extracted information has to be cited.

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