The Importance of Citations

Citations are a great way to acknowledge your sources. They also help you make your writing clear and precise. Click Here for more information.


The citations you use will vary depending on the style you’re using, such as MLA, APA, or Chicago. But they’ll all include some basic information about the source: author, date, and something about where it was published.

Citing sources is a critical component of writing a research paper, essay, or other academic work. It helps you give credit to the original author(s) of the words or ideas that you have incorporated into your paper, as well as help readers locate your source(s).

Citations are also important for preventing plagiarism. In academics, if you use someone else’s intellectual property without citing them, this can damage your reputation and career. In the professional world, this can result in legal action against you.

There are a variety of methods to cite sources, but the most common include in-text citations and note citations. In-text citations are embedded within the text and usually include information such as the name of the author, the publication date, and the page number where the cited source is found.

The format of in-text citations is typically determined by the citation style you are using. For example, in MLA, a citation will often include the name of the author(s), the publication year, and the page number where the cited material is located. In other citation styles, you may place your citations in footnotes or endnotes. These types of citations will often include additional information such as the type of source (journal article, book chapter, etc.), the location where the source is located, and more detailed citations.

In-text citations are especially useful when quoting or paraphrasing someone’s words. Using in-text citations will also help you avoid plagiarizing another writer’s work.

When citing sources, you will also want to consider the specific citation style that your professor requires. This will vary between fields of study and should be discussed with your professor prior to beginning a research project.

There are many sources that provide guidance on citing information in your paper. This includes books, websites, and journals. You can also find citation generators online that will automatically generate a citation for you. However, these systems are not foolproof, and you will still need to verify that your citation is correct and check for grammar, capitalization, and spelling errors.

Citations are an important element of a paper, but they can be difficult to write correctly. To avoid confusion, follow the APA guidelines and keep in mind that citations should be as precise as possible. If you are citing multiple sources, be sure to cite them in the order in which they appear in the source or in your reference list, and if you are using a parenthetical citation, include the author’s last name and the publication year as well as any page numbers for direct quotations.

If you are citing works by the same author, use the author-date system to order them in your APA 7 reference list or create in-text citations for them. The authors’ last names should go first, followed by the dates. If there are in-press citations, place them last.

For each citation, include the author’s last name and initials and then the publication date, as well as the title and, if available, the DOI (Digital Object Identifier) or URL. The DOI can be obtained by visiting the library’s website or by searching the DOI database.

If the same author wrote several works published in different years, cite each in the same order and include all the corresponding in-text citations in your reference list. In-press citations should be placed last, so that the reader can easily find the correct citation in your reference list or in the text.

In-text citations should be written out as many times as necessary until the references are distinguished, but only if there is no ambiguity between them. If a few of the names are similar, use “et al.” as a substitute for all but the final author, and be sure to include that last name in your reference list entry.

When an author is part of a group, such as a government agency, association, nonprofit organization, business, hospital, task force, or study group, include the group name in your signal phrase and in your in-text citation. Alternatively, if the group name is not available or if the group does not have a formal name, spell out the name of the organization once and then define it in your citations, followed by the abbreviated name throughout the remainder of the document.