Citation is the process of acknowledging the source of a particular idea in any text. It is an important part of any academic writing these days since it is necessary for any writer to consult different articles, books and journals to support or elucidate his ideas and to show the range of his knowledge. It adds richness and depth to any given work and allows the author to estimate his work. This tool of acknowledging the author makes a text informative and unique.
The important features of citation
Citation isn’t a child’s play. It has some particular features and some rules that one needs to follow. Some of the features and characteristics are described below:
- Citation has a few components. Any citation must include- the name of the author, the details of publication and the title. You may also include the year in which your copy of the book was published and the page numbers.
- One must clearly mention the sources of the materials otherwise it would be difficult for the readers to find the materials from which the quotes, paraphrase, translations or summaries have been taken.
- Even the source of ideas and information must be cited.
- Failure to acknowledge the source would taint your credibility. You may also be accused of plagiarism.
- Citation has two parts- a short reference to the source must be included inside the text and a detailed description of the same should be made at the end in the reference list or bibliography.
- One should choose his sources carefully because the quality of any work depends upon the quality of texts that have been cited.
- Citation can be used in any academic writing- – history essays, science essays, business essays or even dissertations.
In text citation- the how to guide
In case of paraphrasing, these are the following ways to cite-
- One author- In case of a single author the author is mentioned after the paraphrase, in brackets, along with page number and publication year. Sometimes even the name of the book is added as well.
- No author- In case the book is authored by no one, just mention the name of the book in short and add the page number.
- Two to three authors- In a situation where there are two or more authors just use the last name of each author followed by the page number. You may include their names in the paraphrase or you may mention their names in bracket after the paraphrase.
- Four or more authors- In such a case one may mention the surname of each and every author or you may just mention the last name of the first author and just add it all.
- Corporate author- When the author is an organization or a corporation you can mention the name or you may use the shortened version of the name.
- Indirect sources- When the mentioned source is used in another source then the parenthetical citation must begin with “qtd. in.”
In case of direct quotations, one must make sure that every word and punctuation is exact.Again the name of the author must be mentioned. You may also mention the page number or the name of the book. The rest of the rules are the same as the rules for citation in case of paraphrasing.
The different styles
There are a number of ways of citation. In fact, different departments or subjects use different versions. In addition, each of these versions has a proper guide book. Some of the styles of citation are:
- The Harvard Style- This style follows the author-date referencing rule. It is widely used in humanities. This style follows a rule where one is required to give the last name of the author and the year of publication in brackets after the quote, the paraphrase, the summary or the translation. A reference list is a must and has to be maintained in an alphabetical order. This list contains detailed information about the source.
- The APA Style- This is the usual system used in Psychology. This style is also followed by other subjects, mainly Social Sciences. The American Psychological Society publishes a book named Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association from where we get all the rules. This style requires any academic writing to be uniform and clear. Any work, which has been mentioned inside the text, must be present in the reference list and vice versa. Unlike a bibliography, the reference list must only contain the name of the works one has referred to.
- The Chicago Style- This system of citation is used very frequently probably because it allows both author-date referencing as well as foot-notes. This style follows to different ways out of which any one can be used- the note and bibliography style and the author-date style. The Chicago Manual of Style published by The University of Chicago Press has all the required rules.
- The Oxford Style-This widely used style is also known as documentary style and comprises of two aspects- the footnote and the reference list. In the footnote the name of the author, the book, the year of publication, etc. are mentioned. This must be mentioned again in details in the reference list.
- The MLA Style- The Modern Language Association of America follows this style. All its rules are clearly mentioned in MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing.This system is generally followed by humanities and is mostly used in English Studies.
- The Vancouver Style-This is also called the Uniform Requirements Style. It generally follows the author-number system. It is mostly used in medical and physical science. In this style, the references and the tables must be numbered. No footnotes or bibliography is required. In addition, all the references must be mentioned under REFERENCES in numerical order, in the last page.
The whole process of citation allows any writer to acknowledge the contribution of any author or any work and makes sure no one is accused of plagiarism. Therefore, one must use this tool frequently.