Home Education How To Properly Cite Your Sources In An Essay?

How To Properly Cite Your Sources In An Essay?

by Tracy Finke

Just like reading, writing can help us deal with many personal problems, but it can also be a great way to showcase our skills, way of thinking, and personal goals and views. Of course, depending on what that writing is about, the type of it, and whether it is an essay, something we do for fun, or for work, the style and everything else can vary.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there are several approaches, but sometimes even the best writers and minds are not entirely aware of what some piece they intend to write will look like in the end.

On the other hand, just like with most things in life, there are certain rules that we need to follow if we want our writings to be precise and concise. Yes, grammar is of vast importance here, but it’s not everything as there are many other aspects to keep in mind, and citing sources is probably the best example of that, as it is also a crucial part of an essay. Namely, many people find it troubling when they need to cite sources in an essay, as they usually mix it with other terms and writing guides, which is why we will further focus on that.

It depends on the writing style

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There are various writing styles we can use depending on the work we need to submit, and when it comes to citing the sources, they might vary in each of them. The three most popular styles are APA, MLA, and Turabian, and depending on which of them you should use, you need to check once again before citing. However, there are some general rules we will mention in the text below, and if you are interested in finding out more about the APA style in general, visit wt1rer.

Consult the instructor

One of the best ways to avoid the unnecessary stress of finding out the best way to cite your sources and use that time to do some constructive research is to ask the instructor. Asking them will take only five minutes, and you will be sure that you are doing everything right, so there is no need to spend hours searching for how to do it instead of simply asking the question. Sometimes different instructors will have different wishes, and asking them before citing is always a good idea, even if you are pretty sure how to do that.

Footnotes are something entirely different

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Okay, this is what confuses many as they don’t understand the difference between quoting, citing, and what footnotes are there for, and if not done properly, this can be a big problem. Namely, footnotes are there to remind the reader of something you have mentioned in the main text, but they couldn’t be used there as it will cause confusion. It’s usually a comment of such, or a personal opinion, or in any other case when it’s not related to the main text. As for how to use it, it all depends on the style and personal preferences, but there are certain rules too, and it’s good to know that you can either opt for a symbol or a number.

The entire purpose of footnotes is to avoid drawing attention from what really matters, which is the main text. It is a perfect way to broaden the meaning of some word or statement, as you can also use it as a tip on where to find some interesting pieces discussing the topic mentioned in the text. As you can see, there are many variations, ways, and reasons to use footnotes, but they should not be used for citation of any kind. It is an entirely different thing and is not the right tool to use when writing an essay.

Besides that, the citation is something you used as an idea but wrote in your own words, and quoting is when you use an entire saying from someone else. Knowing the differences between these three will help a lot when writing almost anything, and it gets even more important when it is an essay or some professional writing.

How to cite the sources in the body of our paper?

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The information we should provide when citing a source for the first time is the name of the author, the title and the genre of the book, or a webpage. If it is relevant to our essay, then we need to pay more attention to the author and write two sentences about them and the ideas we want to introduce to our readers. It can be done in a simple way if we just mention the name of the author and the book we want to quote at the beginning or at the end of the sentence that should quote the main ideas we want to point out.

Another situation when we need to pay more attention to the author is when they are not too famous, and we are convinced that our readers do not know enough about them, but we find their work relevant to our essay. There is no need to write their whole biography, but it is always good to mention their profession, and add a few pieces of information where the readers can find out more about them, so they can understand why that author is important and credible.

Once the author is cited and introduced to readers, there is no need to do it again when it is obvious that we are referring to the same work, so there is no need to repeat it. On the other side, if we have cited more than one author, it is always better to mention just the name of the author we are referring to, or our readers can easily get confused. Introducing the authors to the readers is important because they can find out more about them, read their work and understand the ideas they want to share with the world, and all that combined leads to a better understanding of our work too.