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How To Make References In A Research Paper: Basic Citation Rules

There are a few things students tend to forget or are not clear about when it comes to references and citing sources on research papers. When you don’t do this correctly your paper may not give credit to where it is due for its content. This could come off as a form of plagiarism even if you didn’t copy someone’s work word for word. Doing this correctly gives credit where it is due and it keeps you from losing points on your paper. Citing sources in research papers often have a few details that need to be reviewed beforehand to ensure credit is given correctly. Here are some points to keep in mind for basic citation information.

  • Make list of sources you use as you use them. Most students are instructed to make a reference list of sources to include. You can make your list as you conduct research on your topic. This aspect makes it so much easier for you to format your paper and create citations with proper details.
  • Review essential rules for required formatting style. MLA and APA are most common but seek handbooks and reference manuals for more details. For research paper writing you can learn about different formatting styles to understand their differences. This helps you follow the proper style correctly with fewer errors. Details such as line spacing, margins and subheadings may vary.
  • Know when parentheses are necessary (MLA style). If you are required to use MLA style for your research paper pay attention to certain details that are required to be in parentheses.
  • Works cited page portion of your research paper should match or correspond with sources mentioned anywhere else in the text. Many students lose points and do not receive full credit when citations do not match up. If you mention a source somewhere with the text be sure you mention this information in the same manner when creating your reference or bibliography page.
  • Use citation tools to help you generate citations, but double check development of citations to ensure they are correct. Some schools encourage students to use citation tools such as special software available online. These tools may help you create citations for your research paper to make it easier for you to include. But, some suggest you shouldn’t rely only on the tool to ensure your citation format is correct.