How to Cite Sources in My Research Paper Appropriately

Proper citation might be the last thing you want to spend your effort on when working on a research paper, but it is necessary. A failure to cite properly can get you accused of plagiarism or even expelled from your college. Therefore, it is important to learn and follow the basic citation rules of the most common academic styles, such as APA and MLA.

General Guidelines

  • Collect all necessary information about a source while using it.
  • Many problems with reference lists result from the fact that you don’t know some things you need to include – for example, the city where your textbook was published – and have to rush back to the library to look it up. When you decide to use a source for your research paper, write its important details out right away. Keep a separate file (or a separate notebook section)

  • For books, record the full title, the names of all authors, the year and place of publication, the publisher, and the edition number (if other than first).
  • For journal articles, list the article’s full title, the names of authors, the journal’s title, number, and issue, the year of publication, and the numbers of pages occupied by the article.
  • For websites, collect the publication’s title, the author’s name, the name of the group or organization responsible for the sire, the year when the website was last updated, the date of your access, and the direct URL.
  • If you can’t find information about the website’s owner or updates, it’s not a good resource to use for your research paper. Trustworthy websites always feature this information.
  • For any online sources, copy and paste the URL and record the date (month, day, and year) when you accessed them.

APA Citations

  • When you cite or paraphrase any words by another person, include the author’s name and year of publication in parentheses: (Gunsmith & Pierre, 2008).
  • For direct citations, include a page number: (Gunsmith & Pierre, 2008, p. 161).
  • When you integrate the author’s name into your sentence, put the publication year in parentheses right after it, while giving the page number separately at the end of the citation: Giles and Jileut (2003) argue that “human happiness can’t be expressed in numbers” (p. 23).

MLA Citations

  • For in-text citations, use the author’s name and page number (where appropriate) in parentheses: (Anrie and Miller 854).
  • No publication year is needed for in-text citations, yet you still need to mention it on your Works Cited page.

Use Tips That Will Work


Not all of us so creative to generate ideas on different topics and write great papers every night. Still, there are some classic methods to make a solid, well-written paper.

Rewriting Skills


Some students may think that their work is finished as soon as they write the paper. Still, a lot of work must be done before handing it in.


Edit and proofread your research paper before submission. Check for typos, word usage, grammar and punctuation. Your content should be polished and easy to read.


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