“You need to cite your sources” is the first advice on upholding academic honesty and ensuring that the plagiarism checker proves your paper to be original. But what does that exactly mean?

What is citation

Citation is an indication that your work is based on other sources. The paper may contain an exact quote, use some data, or be inspired by someone’s research – no matter how small your appropriation is, it is crucial to mention the original author.

It is essential to understand that crediting the source does not make your work less valuable. On the contrary, citation shows your decency and professionalism, demonstrates the depth of research, and proves the credibility of your writing.

How to cite the sources

Inaccurate citation is considered one of the forms of plagiarism. That is why it is vital to learn how to cite the sources appropriately,

What to include in the citation

Citing the source, one should include:

  • the title and the author;
  • the page containing the material you are referring to;
  • the date your copy was released;
  • the information about the publisher: name and location.

The sources of information can be diverse. While many perceive citation only in the context of books, journals, or magazines, one can also refer to webpages, TV programs, films, reports, and even patents or bills.

Citation styles

The citation formatting depends on the type of work and the institution’s recommendations. So, one should consider their professor’s or supervisor’s requirements.

In general, there are four main citation styles:

  • APA (American Psychological Association) – for papers in sciences and education;
  • MLA (Modern Language Association) – for liberal arts and humanities at the undergraduate level;
  • Chicago – for business, history, fine arts, and humanities at the graduate level;
  • Harvard (also called author/date system) – for humanities, natural, and social studies.

All styles require providing the same information, and the difference is in formatting. A citation generator makes referencing easier. You insert the information and choose the style needed, and the tool provides a properly formatted citation ready to be included in your work.

In-text and bibliography format citations

Regardless of the citation style, any paper should contain in-text references, and the works cited list after the main part of the writing.

  • In-text citations are a short form of attribution used immediately after mentioning the idea we want to credit.
  • The full citation is provided after the main part of the text in the list of references.

The citation list after the main part of the paper may have different names: List of References in APA and Harvard, Works Cited in MLA, and Bibliography in Chicago style.

Some also note that the List of References provides data on all the sources cited in the work, while the Bibliography should also include everything one used to support their writing, like the background reading and sources of inspiration. 

Why should one cite the sources?

Why should one pay attention to the referencing, and why this policy is so strict? The short answer is – because it’s the right thing to do.

  • Crediting the authors is respectful and honest – without doing so, you pass their work for your own, which is plagiarism.
  • Providing citations proves that your work is based on some research and makes it more credible.
  • Citation also helps to distinguish your original ideas from the borrowed information, highlighting your contribution.
  • References provide the reader an opportunity to study the source of your knowledge.

Citing has gained even more significance with the development of AI text generators that can be handy but also happen to be inaccurate and even plagiarise. So, proper referencing shows the scale of your research and the reliability of your sources, hence the validity of your paper.

PlagiarismCheck.org helps you to meet any writing-related challenge set and ready! The citation generator will provide accurate references, the AI checker GPT will ensure your work doesn’t sound AI-like, and the plagiarism checker will confirm originality. Try it for free now!