Any time you utilize someone else's work or ideas in your paper, you must give credit to the source of that information. Failure to do so is considered plagiarism and can result in a failing grade for the assignment or even expulsion from school.
In this guide, we will cover important details of how to write citations. Citing your sources is essential to avoid plagiarism and allows your reader to track down the resources you used in case they want to read more about the topic. There are many different ways to cite sources, but we'll focus on two of the most common: MLA and APA.
Citations are a way to credit others for the work that you have used in your work. Citations can be in the form of a quote, paraphrase, or summary. Citations are important because they show that you have done your research and are not plagiarizing someone else's work.
When writing a citation, you must include the author's last name, publication date, and page number (if available). For example: (Smith, 2020, p. 3).
If you are quoting someone directly, you will also need to include the exact words and put them in quotation marks. (Smith, 2020, p. 3) "Quote goes here." Citations are essential to academic writing, so make sure to use them when needed!
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MLA style is the most commonly used in the humanities, particularly in English literature, languages, and folklore. This style uses in-text citations, and a Works Cited page at the end of the document to provide information about sources. MLA style is also used in other disciplines, such as philosophy, history, and religious studies.
APA style is incorporated in the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology. This style uses in-text citations and a Reference list at the end of the document to provide information about sources.
Chicago/Turabian style is used in history and the humanities. This style uses footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography at the end of the document to provide information about sources.
Harvard style is most commonly used in the natural sciences and engineering. In-text citation system and a reference list at the end of the document provide information about sources.
Vancouver style is utilized in medicine and the sciences. This style uses a numbered citation system within the text and a reference list at the end of the document to provide information about sources. Disciplines like nursing and dentistry also use Vancouver to cite their sources.
IEEE style is generally used in engineering, computer science, and electronics. It uses a numbered citation system within the text and a reference list at the end of the document to provide information about sources. IEEE style is also used in many other disciplines, such as mathematics and physics.
Writing a citation follows different norms for different publications. How to write citation for a journal will be different from books and websites.
The major difference between MLA and APA formats are as follows
MLA (Modern Language Association) is typically used for papers written in the humanities, such as English or History. MLA uses parenthetical citations in the paper's main body, which means that for each source you use, you will include a piece of information in parentheses at the end of the sentence where that source is used. That information will include the author's last name and the page number where you found the information. For example:
In this sentence, "Smith" is the author's last name, and "42" is the page number where you found the quote. At the end of your paper, you will also include a Works Cited page that lists all the sources you used in your article. The format for each entry on this page will vary depending on the source type, but every listing should include at least the author's last name and the working title.
Here's an example of what an MLA Works Cited page might look like:
APA (American Psychological Association) is typically used for papers written in social sciences such as Psychology or Sociology. APA also uses parenthetical citations in the body of your paper, which means that for each source you use, you will include a piece of information in parentheses at the end of the sentence where that source is used.
The main difference between APA and MLA formatting is what goes into that piece of information at the end of each sentence. In APA format, that piece of information includes not only the author's last name and page number but also the date when that work was published like this:
Notice how we included both the author's last name and publication date in our parenthetical citation? That's what distinguishes APA from MLA formatting! Just like MLA formatting, every source used in an APA paper should be listed on a reference page at the end of your paper; however, unlike MLA format, this reference page is titled "References" instead of "Works Cited."
The entries on this reference page will look different depending on the source type, just like MLA formatting. But every listing should include at least the author's last name and year published like this:
Learning how to write citations and properly acknowledge your sources can seem daunting at first, but once you get familiar with either MLA or APA formatting--or both!--it'll become second nature! And remember, anytime you use someone else's words or ideas without giving them credit, you're committing plagiarism! So, always cite appropriately to avoid any issues with your teachers or professors.
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