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Research Paper Citation

The research paper citation notes down the source of the documents that were either quoted or paraphrased in the paper. The style of paper will reflect how the citation is formatted as well. For example, if the student is using the APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), the most commonly used formats, then the citation will have to follow the guidelines of that particular style as well.

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Students however, are often confused between what a research paper citation is and what a research paper reference is. Some use it simultaneously which is erroneous for these two do not refer to the same thing. A citation or in-text citation is the reference to a source (published or unpublished) that was used in the research. The existence of a citation is within the research paper itself. A reference, on the other hand, is the record of the sources used in the citations. This list usually comes at the end of the research paper and is labeled as “References”, “Works Cited” or “Bibliography”. Both the citations and the references are required to be included in the paper.

With the APA format, the research paper citation has to be presented as parenthetical notes, a note that is constrained in parentheses and located at the end of the sentences. An example of this is: (Georges 2010, p. 1). As you can see, the citation has the last name of the author, followed by the year the study was published and then the page location of the quote in the research. The page is mentioned only when the cited source is copied word per word; however, if the quote was paraphrased, then the page no longer needs to be included. There are many ways to quote a source.

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One the citation can be positioned beside the quoted statement like thus: A researcher asserts that, “proper citation style is difficult, but important” (Brown, 2004, p.4). However, it is also valid to mention the name of the author, followed by the date in the sentence; if so, the page number has to follow the quoted statement like so: Brown (2004) further reiterates that “proper citation is difficult, but important” (p.4). Do not forget to include the year of publication because it always follows after the name of the author.

The MLA format also makes use of parenthetical notes in stating the research paper citation. But then, MLA does not require the year of publication; only the page of the source is included. Compared to APA, both the year and the page are required. The citation will then look as thus: “Proper citation style is difficult, but important” (Brown, 4). If the author is stated in the sentence then it will be written as: The researcher, Brown explains that “proper citation style is difficult, but important” (4). Take note that the “page” or “p.” is deducted from the citation in MLA.

For further details on using either formats, read the research paper citation manuals of MLA and APA. 

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