Citation is a tool, which allows any academic essay writer or in fact any writer in general to acknowledge the sources from which he has borrowed some his arguments or ideas in his written material. It also allows the readers to search for the sources through the information it gives. It is used mostly to avoid plagiarism.
When to Cite?
It must be used in the following circumstances:
- When you are quoting any author. Even if it is a single word, it is a must to mention the name of the author. The quotation must be reproduced exactly without any mistakes.
- It must also be used when you are summarizing or paraphrasing any idea or opinion of an author.
- Or when you are restating an expert opinion
- You must also use it when you are translating a text.
- Common knowledge, statistics or information which are easily available everywhere and do not vary from source to source or dictionary definition which does not vary much may not be cited.
Why to Cite?
- Citation allows the readers to find the sources from which different ideas have been taken and verify the different ideas, facts or opinions.
- It also allows the reader to keep an account of the different ideas from different books.
- It adds a serious tone to any work and makes the work look sophisticated and credible.
- It allows the writer to give due acknowledgement.
- It accentuates the uniqueness of your work.
- Citation gives the readers a chance to distinguish between the original ideas of the author and the borrowed ones.
- Most importantly it avoids plagiarism.
How to Cite?
There are some rules which must be followed while citing something. They are as follows:
- Citation must include the title of the book, the name of the author, the page number and the year of publication
- The sources from which the quote, summary, paraphrase or translation has been taken must be mentioned with clarity. Failure to do so will cause confusion amongst the readers and they will not be able to find the source.
- Your credibility might get ruined if you do not acknowledge the sources. You may also be accused of plagiarism, which will ruin your reputation.
- Any source must be acknowledged twice- a short reference must be mentioned inside the text and detailed information of the source material must be mentioned again at the end of the text under bibliography or in the reference list.
- The sources play a very crucial role because their quality will reflect the quality of the text.
- A citation is required in every kind of writing such as, an essay, thesis, dissertations, business writing, college writing and what have you.
Rules of In text Citation
Different texts have different number and types of authors and the rules change accordingly.
In case of paraphrasing or summarizing or translation the following rules are followed:
- One author- When there is one author his name along with the page number must be mentioned in brackets after the paraphrase or summary, also known as parenthetical citation. You may mention the name of the author in the paraphrase and add the page number in the end. The title of the book or the publication details may also be added if need be.
- No author- In case the book is authored by no one, just mention the page number, title of the book and the year of publication inside a bracket after the summary or paraphrase.
- Two or three writers- If the book is authored by two to three people just mention their last names and add the page number. Again, their names may be included in the summary or translation or you may put them in a bracket and place it right at the end of the summarized or translated part.
- Corporate author- Where the author is an organization or a corporation, mention its name in brackets or you may include it in the text itself. You may use the full name or the shortened version of the name.
- Indirect sources- In a situation where the mentioned source is taken from another source, it is a must to begin the parenthetical citation with “qtd.in.”
In case of quotation, the quotes must be correct and exact. Like in a paraphrase the name of the author along with the title, page number and publication details must be mentioned in case of a quotation. The rest of the rules are the same as above.
Different Citation Styles
Citation styles vary from subject to subject and every style has its own rule. Some of them are discussed below:
- The APA Style- This style is founded by the American Psychological Society and follows the rules mentioned in Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. This style is used in Social Science, Psychology, Business, and Sociology etc. The source name must be mentioned twice. Once inside the text, after the quote or summary, in brackets which must contain the name of the author and the year of publication and a detailed citation must be present in the References section.
- The MLA Style- This is the style of the Modern Literary Association. This is mostly used in English studies and language. Its guidelines are found in MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. It has two components- a parenthetical citation and a more detailed reference to the source place under Works Cited. The purpose of the parenthetical citation is to direct the reader to the complete citation. Work Cited is a list where all the references are placed in an alphabetical order.
- The Chicago Style- It is a very commonly used style. It originated in the Chicago University. This style follows two different systems- the author- date style and the note-bibliography system. In the author date system the name of the author and the publication details are mentioned in the parenthetical citation, which then directs the reader to the reference list or bibliography in the end. While in the note-bibliography style the text is marked by a subscript number which then points the reader towards a note, footnote or an endnote. The details of the source are then given in the bibliography in an alphabetical order.