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Home Blog Writing A Research Paper - A Step by Step Guide How to Cite a Research Paper - Learn with Helpful Examples

How to Cite a Research Paper - Learn with Helpful Examples

How to Cite a Research Paper - Learn with Helpful Examples

Citation is an important part of all academic work, including essays, research papers, theses, and dissertations, and without them, the students could land in dire trouble. There is no single way of citing an academic work, and, usually, the teacher specifies the citation style when assigning the work.

Different citation styles and referencing styles follow different formats, and the students have to follow the format closely and properly when working on any style. However, not all of those styles are simple, and some are quite difficult to follow.

This blog explains different kinds of citation styles and ways of citing in each of them.

Stay with us and read on to know more.

What is a Citation Style?

A citation style is a set of rules and guidelines that help the students format their papers in a certain way. It is important when referring to other people’s work and using the details and sources of other researchers.

Usually, the citation styles are published in official handbooks and booklets, and they also have relevant and ample examples, instructions, and explanations to help the readers understand better.

The information added in all of the citation styles remains the same. It includes the author’s full name, the name of the cited work, the year of publication, page numbers, the name of the website, and the place of publication. However, the order in which they are presented is different in every citation style.

When working on any of the styles, it is important to follow these details and format them accordingly.

Why is Following Citation Styles Important?

The main reason to cite the added sources and details is to avoid academic theft and intellectual dishonesty. Adding and presenting ideas and quotes of other scholars and researchers without crediting them properly is punishable by law. The person would even have to face legal consequences.

It is also important because, with them, you credit and recognize the right people. Below are some core reasons to add citations to your work.

  • To avoid plagiarism and credit the actual writers and researchers - It is important because you should acknowledge the actual writers and respect their efforts.
  • To conform to intellectual property rights - When conducting the research, sometimes you may come across information and details that are intellectually protected.

    Some of such details include patented material, trademarks, industrial designs, creative works, and architectural designs. If you use any of such things without crediting them, then they could complain about you.

  • To add and provide proof of your research - Citing the added details, studies, and research proves the credibility of your work.
  • Helps the readers check the presented data themselves - With proper text citation and references, the readers could check the facts and original sources themselves. This shows your credibility and honesty also.

Adding citations to research work is important as they help save you from intellectual theft and maintain a good stance as a researcher.

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How to Cite a Research Paper in Different Referencing Styles?

As mentioned earlier, different referring styles follow different patterns in which the details are added and presented. Below, we have explained some of the important citation styles and ways to cite them correctly.

APA Research Paper Format

The American Psychological Association, APA is probably the most commonly used citation style. An APA style is more common in some subjects of humanities, psychology, and social sciences.

It is also the simplest kind of citation, and students and researchers use it to format their work.

General Guidelines - The paper should be double-spaced, have 1” margins on all sides and written in the Times New Roman font style. Other than this, you can use any other font style that is easy to read and understand.

Add a header on top of each page. The header must have a short title of your essay’s name and the page number in the top right corner.

Below are the different citation formats for different kinds of sources.

  • For Books: Author, A.A.. (Year of Publication). The Title of work. Publisher City, State: Publisher.

    Example: Williams, J. (1970). Time and Again. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

  • For Magazines: Author, A.A.. (Year, a month of Publication). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume(Issue), pp.-pp.

    Example: Tumulty, K. (2006, April). Should they stay, or should they go? Time, 167(15), 3-40.

  • For Newspapers: Author, A.A.. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Magazine Title, pp. xx-xx.

    Example: Rosenberg, G. (1997, March 31). Electronic discovery proves an effective legal weapon. The New York Times, p. D5.

  • For Websites: Author, A.A.. (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Retrieved from URL

    Example: Simmons, B. (2015, January 9). The tale of two Flaccos. Retrieved from {link}

For multiple authors, you do not have to add all the authors in the list or even in the in-text citation. For more, read a complete APA format guide and learn to style your paper and citations accordingly.

MLA Research Paper Format

MLA or the Modern Language Association is another common citation style, second to APA only, and is usually used in the field and subjects of humanities and liberal arts. This citation helps the writers and researchers add detailed and more refined information in the essays and other academic work.

General Guidelines - This kind of essay or research paper does not have a separate title page, and the details are added on the first page of the essay. The page is double-spaced and with 1” margins on all four sides of the page. The preferred font size is 12 pt. and Times New Roman is generally used.

The heading added on the first page to the upper left corner of the page must include the following details;

  • Your full name
  • The full name of your teacher
  • Course title
  • Date of submission

The upper right corner of the header will include your last name and the page number.

Here is the MLA style citation to cite sources of different kinds.

  • For Books: Last Name, First Name. Book Title. Publisher City: Publisher Name, Year Published. Medium.

    Example: Smith, John. The Sample Book. Pittsburgh: BibMe, 2008. Print.

  • For Magazines: Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Magazine Name Publication Date: Page Numbers. Medium.

    Example: Smith, John. “Obama inaugurated as President.” Time 21 Jan. 2009: 21-23. Print.

  • For Newspapers: Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Newspaper Name Publication Date: Page Numbers. Medium.

    Example: Smith, John. “Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 2 Feb. 2009: 4-6. Print.

  • For Websites: Last Name, First Name. “Page Title.” Website Title. Sponsoring Institution/Publisher. Publication Date: Page Numbers. Medium.

    Example: Smith, John. “Obama inaugurated as President.” CNN.com. Cable News Network, 21 Jan. 2009. Web. 1 Feb. 2009.

A comprehensive MLA format guide will help you know and understand this style guide properly. The style uses parenthetical citations and refers to its references as ‘Works Cited.’

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Chicago Style Research Paper Format

Chicago style is a common citation style that is used in the girls of humanities. It is different from both the APA and MLA citation styles, and besides citing references, the student has to add additional information and details in the endnotes and footnotes sections. The style allows the students to add credible literature and references to the content.

General Guidelines - The paper should have 1” margins on all four sides of the page, must be double-spaced, and written in Times New Roman font. However, the double-space will not apply to table titles, blockquotes, captions of the figures, and due dates.

The page numbers will be added in the header of the first page and will begin with number 1. The page numbering will continue throughout the entire paper, including the reference list and bibliography.

Here is how you should cite different sources in a Chicago style paper.

  • For Books: Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher City: Publisher Name, Year Published.

    Example: Brown, Dan. The DaVinci Code. New York: Scholastic, 2004.

  • For Magazines: Last Name, First Name. Article title. Magazine Title, Month Date, Year of publication.

    Example: Chan, Dan. The art of pandas. Panda Magazine, Nov 10, 1985.

  • For Newspapers: Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Newspaper Name, Publication Date.

    Example: Smith, John. “Steelers win Super Bowl XLIII.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 2, 2009.

  • For Websites: Last Name, First Name. “Page Title.” Website Title. Web Address (retrieved Date Accessed).

    Example: Smith, John. “Obama inaugurated as President.” {link} (accessed February 1, 2009).

Chicago style format has many other conventions also, and you can learn them by going through a detailed guide.

ASA Research Paper Format

The citation style is developed by the Sociological Association. The students, researchers, and scholars of Sociology use this citation style for writing their university research papers.

These papers are related to Sociology, and the style is also used for submitting research articles to peer-reviewed ASA journals.

General Guidelines - The paper must have a separate abstract page before the title page, and the title must be added again as a heading. The abstract should not exceed 200 words and should be precise and brief.

The preferred font style and size are Times New Roman and 12 pt. with 1 to ¼ inches of margins on all sides of the page.

The page numbers should be added on every page and in the top right corner. ASA style research papers must also have three to five keywords that the writer should mention at the beginning of the paper.

Here is how you should cite different kinds of sources in an ASA paper.

  • For Books: Author’s Last and First Name. Year of Publication. Title. Country of Publisher: Publisher.

    Example: James, Henry. 2003. The Turn of the Screw. New York: Barnes & Noble Books.

  • For E-Books: Author’s Last and First Name. Year of Publication. Title. Country of Publisher: Publisher. Retrieved Month Day, Year {link}.

    Example: James, Henry. 2003. The Turn of the Screw. New York: Penguin Books Kindle Version. Retrieved January 18, 2017. {link}

  • For Journal Articles: Author’s Last and First Name. Year of Publication. "Title." Journal Name issue #: inclusive page numbers.

    Example: Feekins, Bo. 2008. “Chasing Tree Frogs.” National Geographic #182. 6-10

  • For Magazine Articles: Author’s Last and First Name. Year of Pub. "Title." Magazine Name, Month Year, pp. Inclusive page numbers.

    Example: Geary, Rachel. 2012. “The Issue with Mastery Learning.” New York Times, April 2002. Pp. 15-23.

  • For Websites: Author’s Last and First Name. Date of Publishing. Title. Publisher. Retrieved Month Day, Year {link}.

    Example: Lee, Bruce. 03.09.2004. Birth of a Nation. Retrieved 18.01.2017. {link}

Read this complete ASA format and citation guide to know more about the citation style.

IEEE Style Research Paper Format

The IEEE style is used in the field and study of electronics, engineering, computer science, and telecommunication. The style is managed by a professional organization for various technical industries and IEEE stands for the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

The in-text citations used in this format are added in the form of numbered brackets that further refer to full-length references.

General Guidelines - The page layout should be as follows:

  • Top - 19mm (0.75")
  • Bottom - 43mm (1.69")
  • Left & Right - 14.32mm (0.56")

The text font should be Times New Roman and the font size should be 10 pt. The spacing should be single and the first line of each paragraph should be indented.

Here is the citation guide for different sources in the IEEE format.

  • For Books: J. K. Author, “Title of chapter in the book,” in Title of His Published Book, xth ed. City of Publisher, (only U.S. State), Country: Abbrev. of Publisher, year, ch. x, sec. x, pp. xxx–xxx.

    Example: [1] W. K. Chen, Linear Networks and Systems. Belmont, CA: WadsworthPress, 2003.

  • For Conference Papers: J. K. Author, “Title of paper,” presented at the Abbreviated Name of Conf., City of Conf., Abbrev. State, Country, Month and day(s), year, Paper number.

    Example: D. Caratelli, M. C. Viganó, G. Toso, and P. Angeletti, “Analytical placement technique for sparse arrays,” presented at the 32nd ESA Antenna Workshop, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, Oct. 5p, 2010.

  • For Periodicals: J. K. Author, “Name of paper,” Abbrev. Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, pp. xxx-xxx, Abbrev. Month, year.

    Example: M. Ito et al., “Application of amorphous oxide TFT to electrophoretic display,” J. Non-Cryst. Solids, vol. 354, no. 19, pp. 2777–2782, Fp. 2008.

  • For Software Manuals: J. K. Author (or Abbrev. Name of Co., City of Co. Abbrev. State, Country). Name of Manual/Handbook, x ed. (year). Accessed: Date. [Online]. Available: http://www.url.com

    Example: L. Breimann. Manual on Setting Up, Using, and Understanding Random Forests v4.0. (2003). Accessed: Apr. 16, 2014. [Online]. Available: http://oz.berkeley.edu/users/breiman/Using_random_forests_v4.0.pdfpli>

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For more about IEEE style first, read the complete IEEE citation and format guide.

Apart from these, there are many other citation styles that are commonly used in many fields and research work. Some things are common in them, like in all styles, the quotes are added in quotation marks, and they have the same details, just in a different order.

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