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How To Incorporate Citations In Research Papers: 5 Helpful Hints

No matter what the discipline area, when writing a research paper you should always give the appropriate credit to other researchers or academics that you have borrowed information from. Whether it’s through the use of a direct quotation, a paraphrase, a fact, or data, your citations will give your paper some credibility and recognition of their original sources is necessary if you want to avoid accusations of committing plagiarism. Here are five helpful hints on how to incorporate citations in a research paper:

Hint #1) Choose the Correct Citation Style

Different disciplines will require you to use different format and citation styles. The two major styles are MLA and APA. The former can be used for anything in the humanities and the latter should be used in the social sciences. Your professor may have a specific style for the assignment’s requirement, so be sure to check first before getting started with any one style.

Hint #2) When to Use In-Text Citations

In-text citations should be used any time you reference a piece of information or paraphrase content. It should also be used for direct quotes that are no longer than three-typed lines. Each in-text citation should include the author’s last name and the page number in which the information is originally found. Additionally, the APA requires you to add the year in which the information appeared.

Hint #3) When to Use Block Quote Citations

Block quote citations should be used whenever you are using quotations that take up four lines or more of typed text. In both MLA and APA, you don’t have to include any quotation marks but you do have to set the entire block quote indented one-inch from the left margin. If you don’t use a signal phrase before the block quote, then you need to add the author’s information (last name and page number) at the end of the block.

Hint #4) When to Use Footnotes/Endnotes

Some information can be included in footnotes or endnotes. The general idea is that supplemental information that is slightly related to a point made within your main text and might be interesting to the reader can be added at the bottom of a page as a footnote or at the end of the research paper as an endnote. Use sequential numbering to keep your footnotes/endnotes in order.

Hint #5) How to Format Your Bibliography

Finally, always include a bibliography of all cited works at the end of your research paper. References should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name and include the title of the original work, publication information, volume and issue number, and the year in which it was published.

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