Top 5 rules of citation everyone needs to follow
For those of you who don’t know why do you need citations in your papers, let me explain this. In short, these are crucial indicators of your correct use of outside sources gathered and analyzed for the paper you need. In other words, citations are not some “sophisticated wishes” of your instructor, they are really needed for you to have a decent paper. Here are my top 5 rules of citation that you need to follow in order to have it and get a decent grade.
If you don’t have them, you plagiarize
You know that all the universities and institutions are continuously fighting against plagiarism in their publications. They won’t tolerate the use of someone else’s work without giving the authors some credit. In other words, if you use some additional sources required for your paper, you’re to cite them; otherwise, you’ll be accused of plagiarism!
Moreover, you might even need them if your paper contains only your own thoughts. This includes working on certain types of papers like research papers, article reviews etc., which require using outside sources and citing them accordingly.
There’s an array of citation formats employed by different universities and even by different professors depending on their subjects of study. For example, the biggest majority of publications on Medicine follow APA formatting, while papers on social studies might use MLA or Chicago/Turabian formatting. Therefore, be careful what format you’re required to use and use it properly! You don’t want to lose marks just because you’ve chosen a different citation format, trust me.
Luckily, in majority of cases, your institution will provide you with more than sufficient information and instruction regarding its format of preference and its use in your papers.
Like, I get it, nobody will check all the sources that you’ve used for your paper. However, make sure that they are relevant to your paper. You don’t want to end up having a paper discussing various researches on physics supported by sources on feminist studies. If they are relevant and you show in your paper that a certain source is needed for your paper, then you’re good to go. However, don’t include some random sources just to add up to your reference list. You won’t get any good from this.
Don’t include too many!
Your paper still has to be original and contain your own work. If you’ve only paraphrased external sources and cited them correctly, such work cannot be technically defined as original. Therefore, don’t use more sources and citations than it’s required by your professor/supervisor/instructor. If your grading criteria allows for using 10 sources, citing 50 sources might not be a good idea. Especially, if your paper contains less than 10 pages. Follow the instructions and be reasonable.
In majority of cases, you won’t need more than 1-2 citations per paragraph containing 5-8 sentences. That will be more than enough to cite external sources while giving your personal opinion regarding the topic.
Use automatic tools to save time
In order to save time and our nerves, try searching for automatic generators of references. Use your favorite search engine online and find the one that suits you best. In majority of cases, these tools do the same thing, they format the inserted source according to your citation format.
Their major advantage is that they are fast and contain a wide number of referencing styles. In other words, you won’t have to memorize all the formatting styles that you might need; instead, you might trust this job to online generators. Moreover, if you do citations by yourself, you might still make a mistake (which will result in lower grade), while the automatic tool will always give you a correct citation according to the format you choose.
So, I hope you see nor that the citations are important and are rather challenging to do if you’re about to make your first paper. However, the citations still can become easier to do if you understand their purpose and are capable of using the right tools. Just follow the rules mentioned above and you’ll always be sure that you’ve cited your paper properly.