The Complete Guide to Citing Your Sources | Orvium

Citing sources means acknowledging the original authors or creators of the information, ideas, or materials used in a written work. This can be done through in-text citations, footnotes, or end-notes, as well as through a bibliography or reference list at the end of an article.

Citation is important for several reasons, such as allowing readers to verify the accuracy and reliability of the information presented in a text, preventing plagiarism, acknowledging the contributions of others, strengthening arguments, or demonstrating that the writer has engaged with a topic in a scholarly manner.

This article explores the styles and formats for citing sources, as well as common mistakes to avoid when citing. But first, let’s see what types of sources are out there.

Types of Sources

Primary sources

Primary sources are original materials that provide direct evidence of a topic or event. These sources are typically created by people who witnessed or were directly involved in the event, such as letters, diaries, speeches, photographs, videos, and government records. Primary sources are often used in historical research, as they provide first-hand accounts of events.

Secondary sources

Secondary sources are materials that analyze, interpret, or summarize primary sources. These sources are often written by scholars or experts in a particular field, providing insights or perspectives on a topic or event. Examples of secondary sources include academic articles, books, and documentaries.

Tertiary sources

Tertiary sources are materials that synthesize information from primary and secondary sources. These sources are often written for a general audience and provide overviews or summaries of a particular topic. Examples of tertiary sources include encyclopedias, textbooks, and handbooks.

Some examples of sources include:

  • Books
  • Journals and articles
  • Government reports
  • Interviews
  • Films and documentaries.

Styles and Formats for Citing Sources

Modern Language Association (MLA) style

MLA style is commonly used in the humanities and focuses on citing sources in the text using in-text citations and a Works Cited page at the end of the work.

American Psychological Association (APA) style

APA style is commonly used in the social sciences and focuses on citing sources in the text using in-text citations and a Reference page at the end of the work.

Chicago style

Chicago style is commonly used in history, literature, and the arts and focuses on citing sources in footnotes or end-notes and a Bibliography at the end of the work.

Harvard style

Harvard style is commonly used in the social sciences and sciences and focuses on citing sources in the text using author-date citations and a Reference list at the end of the work.

Each style has guidelines for formatting citations and referencing sources, including rules for formatting the author’s name, date, title, and publication information. Using the correct style and format for citing sources in a particular field or subject area is essential.

Various citation management tools are available that can help writers generate citations automatically, such as Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Citing Sources

Accurately citing sources is essential in academic writing, and it’s crucial that you avoid common mistakes that can undermine the credibility of your work. Here’s what to look out for:

  1. Plagiarism: plagiarism means using someone else’s work or ideas without giving proper credit. This severe offense in academic writing can lead to disciplinary action, so make sure you cite all sources properly and use quotation marks when quoting a source.
  2. Incorrect formatting: each citation style has specific guidelines for formatting citations, and it’s essential that you follow them carefully. Incorrectly formatted citations can make it difficult for readers to verify your sources, resulting in lower grades.
  3. Incomplete or missing information: make sure you include all necessary information when citing sources, including the author’s name, publication date, title, and publication information. Incomplete or missing information can make it difficult for readers to find and verify your sources.
  4. Inconsistent citation style: be consistent in using citation style throughout your work. Mixing different citation styles can be confusing for readers and can also result in lower grades.
  5. Using unreliable sources: when citing sources, use reliable and credible sources. Avoid using sources that are biased, outdated, or unreliable.

Orvium Makes Citing Sources a Breeze

Orvium can automatically generate the citation link of your articles. After uploading your work, the system creates the citation link for you, which is displayed in the publication view. You can easily access the citation link by selecting any of our articles and clicking on the ‘Citation’ section. From there, you can choose the ‘copy’ option to copy the citation that refers to the article directly.

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