Adding Citation & Referencing to Your Academic Papers

You will need a lot of time and effort to write a great and successful academic paper. It is the main reason what students have a hard time finishing their assignments. Even those that get good grades will attest that it is a struggle writing these papers. What makes it more complicated is the process of applying citations to sources. It is a time-consuming job that everyone dreads. At times it leads to students making us their things to finish their assignment. In most cases making the citation does not make sense to students, and they sometimes feel it is a waste of time. 

Importance of citation

Citations give credibility to the written paper. It adds a sense of sophistication and allows people to trust your content by including other credible sources. It allows the readers to do a fact-checking of things and areas they do not understand. 

Another major importance of citation is to protect you from plagiarism. Plagiarism is using other people’s work with their consent. When you cite a source, it gives recognition to the content owner, and you acknowledge that it is not your own. There are several online tools that teachers use to check for plagiarism, and without the proper citation, you might lose marks due to plagiarism. You might even end up facing lawsuits if you do not adhere to citations. 

How to properly use citations

There are several citation styles out there. The major ones applicable in the learning institution are the Chicago, Modern Language Association (MLA), and American Psychological Association style (APA). These different styles are used in different fields. 

  • APA style

This citation style is mostly used in science, psychology, and education papers. It is essential in making references easy to read and comprehend.
For example, the author’s last name and the Year of publication (Pence, 2010).

  • MLA style

The MLA citation style is most popular in Humanities papers. This method of citation is usually on a separate page.

  • Chicago

This citation style is popular in fine arts, history, and business. They use in-text format using quotes. They have a similar structure to the APA style.

How to apply citations on your paper

You might know how to write a good citation in the proper format, but knowing how to use it effectively is another skill. You do not want a situation where you have several citations on your paper, but they are not pointing to any text, or the referred text does not fit in. You are likely to lose your reader if you do not place your citation properly.

  • Set primary and secondary source

You should categorize your sources into primary and secondary sources. List those resources that you heavily depend on to the primary source list while the rest move to the secondary source. Reference the secondary sources are the end of the paragraph after you have established the information.

  • Balance your citation and original ideas

The sources only come in to support your ideas. You should not have a scenario where you have more cited sources than your original ideas. In most cases, your teacher might term your paper as plagiarized if most of the content is from cited source. Strive to have minimal content from other sources add more of your content. 

  • Pick good resources

The credibility of your work is essential. Also, the credibility of your sources speaks more to your work. You should find books and articles from trusted and well-known sources. Some good sources, for instance, websites, end with .org, .edu, and .gov.

  • Paraphrase information

To avoid using many citations and foreign text, you can opt to paraphrase the quoted text. If you rearrange the sentence formation, it will no longer belong to other people, and you can freely use it in your paper. You will find yourself in situations where every critical text cannot fit in using quotes. Here is where you use your knowledge and skill and rephrase the sentences to suit your paper.


Citation makes your paper of quality, more trusted, and easy to understand. Follow the above steps and have an easy time writing.

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