Citing sources in a research essay

Citing sources in a research essay

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Citing sources in a research essay

NOTE: Although you should use these citation formats in this and other biology courses, specific formats vary considerably for individual journals. If you are trying to publish a paper in a specific journal, you will be required to follow the format of that journal. Some journals, e.g., Science, use a number system to give the text reference. That system will not be presented here, but you should expect to encounter it in your reading of the literature. A complete listing of citation formats for published materials may be found in Huth et al (1994).

Citing References in the Body (Intro and Discussion) of the Paper

Throughout the body of your paper (primarily the Intro and Discussion), whenever you refer to outside sources of information, you must cite the sources from which you drew information. The simplest way to do this is to Parenthetically give the author’s last name and the year of publication, e. g., (Clarke 2001). When citing information from another’s publication, be sure to report the Relevant aspects of the work clearly and succinctly, IN YOUR OWN WORDS. Provide a reference to the work as soon as possible after giving the information.

Standard Text Citation Formats

There are exceptions among the various journals, but generally, in biological journals, the most frequent types of citations are shown in the following examples (in red):

«It has been found that male mice react to estrogen treatment by a reduction in phase three of courtship behavior (Gumwad 1952:209; Bugjuice 1970) . Click and Clack (1974) demonstrated that mice treated with synthetic estrogen analogs react similarly. The reduction in phase three courtship behavior may also be linked to nutritional status (Anon. 1996; Bruhahauser et al 1973) .»

Note the following:

  • Typically, Only the last name of the author(s) and the year of publication are given, e.g., Bugjuice 1970 . Your Literature Cited section will contain the complete reference, and the reader can look it up there.
  • Notice that the Reference to the bookHas a page number (Gumwad 1952:209) . This is to facilitate a reader’s finding the reference in a long publication such as a book (not done for journal articles). The paper by Bugjuice (1970) is short, and if readers want to find the referenced information, they would not have as much trouble.
  • For Two author papers, give both authors’ last names (e. g., Click and Clack 1974 ). Articles with more than two authors are cited by the first authors last name followed «and others» or «et al.», and then the year.
  • When a book, paper, or article has No identifiable author, cite it as Anon. Year, e. g., (Anon. 1996) (Anon. is the abbreviation for anonymous). See Full Citation.
  • If you want Reference a paper found in another article, do so as follows: ( Driblick 1923, In Oobleck 1978 ).
  • A string of citations should be separated by semicolons, e. g., (Gumwad 1952:209; Bugjuice 1970; Bruhahauser et al 1973) .
  • Finally, you should note the Placement of the period AFTER the parenthetical citation — the citation, too, is part of a sentence, e.g., «. courtship behavior (Gumwad 1952:209; Bugjuice 1970) .»

Thesis: Theses and dissertatons should be cited as follows:

Mortimer, R. 1975. A study of hormonal regulation of body temperature and consequences for reproductive success in the common house mouse (Mus Musculus) in Nome, Alaska. Masters Thesis, University of Alaska, Anchorage. 83 p.

World Wide Web/Internet source citations : WWW citation should be done with caution since so much is posted without peer review. When necessary, report the complete URL in the text including the site author’s name:

Ohio State University Library has a good webpage for citing web sources:

Internet sources Should be included in your Literature Cited section.

For Unusual reference citations such a government documents, technical reports, etc, refer to Huth et al (1994) for a complete listing of citation formats. A copy of this reference should be available in the Ladd Library and a copy is available in the Biology Department.

Personal Communications:

Suppose some of the information cited above was not gained from the Gumwad and Bugjuice publications, but rather in a personal conversation with or letter from an expert on the subject, Dr. Cynthia Mousse. When you have talked with, or written to someone, and gained some information or data that are not published, you should give credit to that person in the following way:

«It has been found that male mice. phase three of courtship behavior (C. Mousse, pers. comm.).»

  • No date is entered for a personal communication, nor will it be entered in your Literature Cited section. However, the source is usually thanked in your Acknowledgments for their contribution.


  • DO NOT USE FOOTNOTES : Footnoting, although commonly done in books and other literary writing, is only Rarely done in journal style papers. Cite references in the flow of the text as shown above.
  • DO NOT USE DIRECT QUOTES From Published Material : In 99.99% of the cases, the information you want from a research article is an objective result or interpretation. How the author stated this information, i. e., Their prose, is of little importance compared to the results or interpretations themselves. Take the information and Put it into your own words; avoid paraphrasing since this can potentially lead to plagiarism.

Formats for Complete Citations used in the Literature Cited

In the Literature Cited you must provide complete citations for each of the published sources cited in your paper. The format for entries in the Literature Cited section differs for books and for journal papers because different kinds of information must be provided. The formats provided here are typical, but may vary in different publications depending on their particular needs and practices.

Some basic rules applicable to all formats indexed by author name(s) :

  • AllCitationEntries are listed in Alphabetical order based the First author’s Last name;
  • If the same author(s) are cited for more than one paper Having the same order of authors’ names, the papers should be listed in Chronological sequence by year of publication.
  • Authors’ names MUST be listed in the citation in the same order as in the article.

Bugjuice, B., Timm, T. and R. Cratchet. 1990. The role of estrogen in mouse
Xxxx courtship behavior changes as mice age. J Physiol 62(6):1130-1142.

Cratchet, R., Bugjuice, B. and T. Timm. 1994. Estrogen, schmestrogen!: Mouse
Xxxx (Mus Musculus) as a dietary alternative for humans. J Nutrition 33(6):113 -114.

  • If the same author(s) are cited for two or more papers published within the SameYear, place a small case letter after the year to denote the sequence in which you referred to them. For example:

Bugjuice, B. 1970a. Physiological effects of estrogen on mouse courtship behavior.
. x. J Physiol 40(2):140-145.

Bugjuice, B. 1970b. Physiological effects of estrogen analogs: Insincere courtship
Xxxx behavior in female mice. J Physiol 40(8):1240-1247.

  • If no author is listed, use the word Anonymous in place of the author name(s).

Anonymous. 1992. . give rest of citation using appropriate format.

Specific Format Models

Each model is shown as the full citation plus the in-text citation format.

Journal Article: Single author

Bugjuice (1970) OR
(Bugjuice 1970)

In the citation of Bugjuice’s paper, note the following:

  • Abbreviation of her first name; no comma (if full name is given, Then use a comma); if multiple authors, use commas between;
  • Capitalization of the words in the title is just as though it were a sentence;
  • Abbreviation of the journal name ; usually the header on the article will list the appropriate abbreviation for the journal; no periods in abbreviated form of journal name;
  • «40» is the Volume number «(2)» is the number of the Issue; if no issue is given, the colon follows the volume number;
  • «140-145» is the Inclusive page numbers of the article;
  • Placement of periods is standard;
  • Indentation of the second line (and all subsequent lines) in the citation. This applies to all citations.

Journal: Two authors

Timm and Bugjuice (1989) OR
(Timm and Bugjuice 1989)

Journal: Multiple authors

Bugjuice Et al. (1990) OR
Bugjuice And others (1990) OR
(Bugjuice And others 1990)

Author(s) Unknown or Not Named

If the authorship of a paper or other document is not provided, cite the author using the word «Anonymous» in the place of the authors name(s).

Anonymous (1979) OR
(Anonymous 1979)

Book: single author

Gumwad (1952:224) OR (Gumwad 1952:224)

Book: multiple authors

Huth Et al. (1994:625) OR
Huth and others (1994:625) OR (Huth and others 1994:625)

Book: authors contributing a specific chapter

Kuret and Murad (1990:1334-60) OR
(Kuret and Murad 1990:1334-60)

In the books citation, note the following:

  • Abbreviation of authors first name (one or both initials ok);
  • Capitalize title as if it was a sentence; the title is not underlined (contrary to literary format)
  • «2nd ed.» means second edition; if the book is a first edition; no entry is made, here, but if 2nd, 3rd, etc., then the notation is made;
  • Give city of publication, and the name of the publisher;
  • Year of publication follows authors’ names;
  • Placement of periods is standard;
  • Indentation of all lines after the first.

Modified 11-7-11
Department of Biology, Bates College, Lewiston, ME 04240

Citing Sources in a Research Paper

For an IELTS agree disagree essay you can either agree with the statement, disagree with the statement or give your opinion which contains a balanced approach to the issues in the statement. In 50 minutes, you’ll be required to read a text and write a logical, well-constructed analysis of the author’s argument. For example, in the first paragraph, the writer claims that One of the senses Bogard uses within his essay is touch, but none of the ensuing discussion relates to touch at all.

In research and writing, a citation is a brief reference to a source of published information, providing sufficient bibliographic detail to enable the reader to locate a copy of the source (if copies exist). A citation that does not provide the minimum amount of information is considered incomplete. Citations found in printed and electronic documents are not always correct—they may contain erroneous information, making it impossible for the researcher to locate the original source. The elements included in a citation depend on the format of the material cited (book, article, electronic document, etc.).

Citing Books

A book citation can be distinguished from an article citation by the presence of 1) place of publication and 2) publisher. Also, the publication date for a book is usually given as the year, rather than the month and year, as may be the case for an issue of a periodical.

Example: Klotzko, Arlene J., ed. The Cloning Sourcebook. New York: Oxford UP, 2001.

Citing Articles

A citation for an article published in a periodical (newspaper, magazine, or scholarly journal) can be distinguished from a book citation by the presence of 1) the article title, 2) the journal title, 3) the volume number, and 4) inclusive page numbers.

Example: Wara, Michael W. «Permanent El Niño-Like Conditions during the Pliocene Warm Period.» Science 309 (2005): 758-762.

A citation for a work (essay, article, story, poem, etc.) published in a collected work or anthology can be distinguished from a book citation by the presence of 1) the article title in addition to the title of the book and 2) inclusive page numbers; and from a citation for a periodical article by the presence of 1) place of publication and 2) publisher.

Example: Loughran, James N. «Reasons for Being Just.» The Value of Justice: Essays on the Theory and Practice of Social Virtue. Ed. Charles A. Kelbley. New York: Fordham UP, 1979. 39-57.

Citing Electronic Sources

A citation for a document retrieved from an electronic database or online publication differs from a citation for an article published in print by the presence of an Internet address, usually the URL of the document at the time it was retrieved.

Example: VandenBos, G., Knapp, S., & Doe, J. (2001). Role of reference elements in the selection of resources by psychology undergraduates. Journal of Bibliographic Research, 5, 117-123. Retrieved October 13, 2001, from http://jbr. org/articles. html

Scholars and students cite to inform their readers of the sources used in their research and to credit individuals whose previous efforts have facilitated their work. Plagiarism is the presentation of a little-known fact or an idea found in another source as if it were one’s own, a serious breach of academic integrity. Promising careers in academia have foundered on a scholar’s failure to give credit where credit was due, and many colleges and universities in the United States, including WCSU, consider plagiarism grounds for disciplinary action.

Citations are also used in indexes and abstracting services, bibliographies, and electronic databases that specialize in compiling lists of sources to facilitate research (often in a specific discipline or field of study). Because these tools are published by different publishing companies and citation style is not standardized, the same work may be cited slightly differently in one index or bibliography than in another, as these two examples illustrate:

A foster care research agenda for the ’90s. R. Goerge and others. bibl Child Welf v73 p525-49 S/O ’94 (from Social Sciences Index)

Goerge, Robert; Wulczyn, Fred; & Fanshel, David. (1994). A foster care research agenda for the ’90s. Child Welfare, 73, 525-549. (from Child Development Abstracts and Bibliography)

PLEASE NOTE that in the citation from Social Sciences Index, the journal title Child Welf is an abbreviation of the full title Child Welfare, and the month of issue is abbreviated S/O for September/October. The publisher’s conventions of abbreviation are usually stated at the beginning of each index volume, often in a list of «Abbreviations of Periodicals Indexed.» Abbreviated titles are rarely used in electronic journal databases.

Unfortunately for the student, There is no single standardized format for citations. Different forms have evolved through usage in specific disciplines. The three most commonly used citation styles have been developed by the Modern Language Association (MLA) for use in the humanities, the American Psychological Association (APA) for use in the social sciences, and in The Chicago Manual of Style, preferred by many writers. The following citations, representing the same book, illustrate differences between the three styles:

MLA Style: Leakey, Richard, and Roger Lewin. Origins Reconsidered: In Search of What Makes Us Human. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

APA Style: Leakey, R., & Lewin, R. (1992). Origins reconsidered: In search of what makes us human. New York: Doubleday.

The Chicago Manual of Style: Leakey, Richard, and Roger Lewin. Origins Reconsidered: In Search of What Makes Us Human. New York, Doubleday, 1992.

This lack of uniformity can make life difficult for the student. If you are writing a research paper for a particular course, the professor may require that a specific citation style be used for the assignment. Read the course syllabus carefully—if citation style is not specified in the syllabus, ask your instructor before investing time and effort in the formatting of your notes and bibliography. If you are allowed to choose a citation style, then once you have made your decision, be sure to maintain the same style throughout the paper. Your instructor will expect consistency and may count any inconsistencies against you.

Here is a list of published guides to citation style, available in print from the WCSU libraries, for use in citing sources published in print and online. Please note that items on RESERVE have a shorter borrowing period than normal. To check out a guide at the Circulation Desk, you must present your barcoded student ID card. Copies in reference may not be checked out, but you may use them on the premises and make photocopies of the pages you need. Copy machines are available on the first floor of the Haas Library (near the CyberCafe) and on the third floor.