Useful Hints On How To Cite Your Sources In A Research Paper

Think about it, if you had spent months, possibly even years and had finally published your life’s work you wouldn’t be overly impressed if some blasé student came along and not only lifted their work but claimed it as their own. I think it is safe to assume that you would be absolutely furious in that scenario and if you had the resources, then you would be seeking legal advice with a view to starting legal proceedings against the individual concerned.

Likewise, as a student the last thing that you want is to have plagiarism allegations hanging over you for the rest of your working life. At very least, it would leave a sour taste in your mouth. At worst it could seriously jeopardize your future career and impact upon your earning potential. So, to avoid academic Armageddon of this nature, the best thing to do is to get into the habit of properly citing all of your sources in any work that you submit.

This is not as difficult as it sounds when you know how!

Keep notes as you go

While you may think that your memory is brilliant, trust me it is not. With the best will in the world you have so much to think about; so much to process that it is only inevitable that you will forget things along the way. The only way that you can be sure that you are accurately documenting ALL of your sources is to keep stringent notes along the way. Having them documented and to hand will not only give you peace of mind, but it will also save time and effort in the long-run.

Where to place them

The main thing is to ensure that they are there. However, as a general rule of thumb parenthetical citations should be placed after quotations. It is fine to place the rest at the end of the work (often as footnotes) Do not fall into the trap of ever thinking that it is okay to use someone else’s work without giving them credit. As much as anything else it is plain rude!

Include a Bibliography

A bibliography is a formal document containing details of all of the sources that you have used. Generally speaking it should hold details of the following:

  • the name of the author
  • the title of the work or works
  • full details of the institution publishing your copy
  • date of publication of your copy

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