What to know about term paper writing: citations

You have started your term paper. It is going well and you have a ton of sources. You know that you need to give credit to those sources, but do you know how to? You give credit to sources, and thus prevent plagiarism, by using citations. Citations give credit to the author, show the reliability of your sources and your thus your paper, and give your reader a place to find information. They can be one of the most important parts of your term paper.

What is a Citation?

In general, a citation is located in the term paper and is a reference to a secondary source that is used when writing that paper. A citation is typically two parts, an in-text citation and a bibliographical citation. The in-text citation is the short form of the citation, giving the reader a key to the long form citation listed in the full bibliography. A full citation should give the reader enough information to find the original source on their own.

When do I have to use a Citation?

You should use a citation anytime you are using another author or creators work. This can include, but is not limited to written text, interviews, videos, and art work. Using work created by another can include direct quotations, summaries, or paraphrasing. The key to proper citation is to always give credit where credit is due. If you are using work created by someone else, err on the side of caution and prepare a citation.

What information do I need for a Citation?

What information is required in a citation varies from style to style. Generally, you need to include any unique identifiers. This includes the author, the title, where you found the work (such as a website), and other similar information. While researching, it is a good idea to keep as much information about your sources on hand to make formatting citations easier down the road.

How do I format a Citation?

How you format a citation depends on what style you are using. Styles include MLA, APA, and Bluebook, just to name a few. Several factors will determine what style to use, including your instructors guidelines or the area of study that you are in. For example, legal writing typically uses The Bluebook citation format, while the Humanities typically use the MLA citation format. Style guides are widely available, both online and in print, and will walk you through how to cite any form of materials.

Proper citation is a key part of your term paper and will help increase your overall grade and help ensure a reliable and effective paper.

 
 
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