Citation Basics

Citation Basics

Citing sources accurately is an important aspect of academic writing. Though citations may vary depending on the
type of resource and writing style, the purpose of citations is to uniquely identify sources so that
information can be shared easily and used ethically. Anytime the work or idea of another is used it should be
given proper credit through the inclusion of a citation.

The basic parts of a citation help to identify the source and usually include elements such as author, title, publisher name and location, series information (volume, issue, or edition), date of publication, and location within the text or website. Additional elements such as a DOI or distributor may be added to further uniquely identify certain types of resources.

Citations almost always have two parts. The embedded (or in-text) citation alerts the audience that an external source of information is present and points them to a specific entry on a comprehensive list of sources by uniquely identifying the work or creator.

The list of cited sources, sometimes called a reference list or works cited page, is the second part of the citation. The list contains all information needed to accurately identify and access the same source that was cited within the body of the work.

There are various citation style guides for maintaining uniform standards in citations. Some famous citation styles are APA Style, Chicago / Turabian Manual of Style, MLA Style etc. One can have a quick glance at the citation guide page of Monash University for easy examples.

There are many software applications available to help the researcher to format citations and bibliographies or maintain a list of references for a research project. Mention may me made of Zotero, EndNote, Mendeley, RefWorks, BibMe and so on.