Which process is followed to cite a cited source?

Defining Citation

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.


Defining citation

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.