Research Paper: Format of Citations and References

During your college years, you have to deal with many different kinds of assignments: essays, research papers, etc. To write a term paper is one of the most challenging tasks. The difficulty is to document where you have found all the information used in your research. Make sure that all the references you include into your research paper come from published or electronic resources, for example, the World Wide Web, Harvest databases, interviews, or others. A student must know how to use the quotation material effectively. In this article, you will find useful information on how to develop your writing skills, which you will use in all types of academic papers of all kinds. Some students do differently and just order one from professional writing services like PapersOwl. It is the right solution when you are in a hurry. Such companies help students to meet deadlines. You will receive a ready-made paper which you will just need to analyze and use as an example for your next college assignment.


If you are ready to write one by yourself, the first thing you should do is to use the general form of citations in the text body, which includes the author,  date in parentheses, and the page number(s) that come after the date (it is optional). Note that when you mention the name of the author in the essay, you do not have to repeat it in the citation.

Basic Guidelines

Students must do proper research on a subject and provide all the resources where they got the information. The format for your essay can be different depending on where your research paper will be submitted.

What is plagiarism?

The word “Plagiarism” comes from the Latin language “plagiare,” which has the meaning of “to kidnap.” Modern people take this research differently. We use it to indicate the act of taking particular work which does not belong to you, without acknowledging the real author. In all civilized countries, plagiarism is illegal, and it can even be severely punished. Thankfully, it is not so difficult to prevent plagiarism. The best way is to include references and citations in your research paper.

What should students know about citations/references?

When you want to include a specific work which does not belong to you into your research paper, you have to use citations and references. You can’t just copy an image, a quote, or paraphrased information and paste it into your essay. Your reader has to know where you found the data by the form of a citation/reference. These are the two most used styles for publishing: the  American Psychological Association (APA, 2001) and the Modern Language Association. According to APA, quotations and citations are not the same. You use a citation in the body of your research paper, while a mention is indicated on the last page. 

Now you have a clear understanding of what citation and mention are so that we can continue. Citations are included when you use the information from the official work of a particular author. You use an in-text citation when you add text word-for-word from any third-party sources. We call in-text citation the text which you place the information in your own words by paraphrasing. As a rule, such citations are short and placed in the central part of your research paper. As for references, they are always placed at the end of your work. It looks like a list of items in alphabetical order. The citation includes the author’s last name, the year of publication, and the page/location of the information. As for references, they include the following information: the author’s name, the year the material was first published, the detailed list of all title of the source, and the URL.

Checklist on how to use citations and references

  • Your quotation shows more detailed information for all the provided citations found in your researchpaper.
  • When it comes to citation and references, keep in mind this short guideline.
  • Write references on the final page of your research paper.
  • Do not forget to name the page ‘References.’
  • The ‘References’  title should be placed in the center of the page. The font/size should be kept in the same style. 
  • There is no need to italicize, underline, or place the title in quotation marks. Also, do not try to increase the size of the font.
  • Use double space for the whole page.
  • You must use the alphabetical order for your references. The first should be the author’s last name. 
  • Your references should have a hanging indent.
  • All citations in your research paper must be displayed in the reference list. 
  • The citations give your audience a glimpse about the used sources, while the references include the information, which your reader will need to check out the source.


Before giving your research paper for your professor’s check, make sure that it is plagiarism-free. Take this assignment seriously because it is a practical writing skill you should master and use in your professional life.