How to cite a research paper: basic rules and examples

how to cite a research paper

Citing scientific papers is a fundamental skill for every university student engaged in academic pursuits. Proper quotation acknowledges the intellectual contributions of others and strengthens the credibility of one’s work. In this guide, we will delve into the intricacies of how to cite a research paper. From understanding various formatting styles to navigating the nuances of in-text citations and bibliographies, readers will gain invaluable insights into the citation format for research paper. Join us as we unravel the secrets to mastering the citation process, empowering you to present your ideas with precision and professionalism.

The importance of citing a research paper 

To maintain academic integrity and ethical standards, it’s essential to understand how to follow a particular research paper format requirements. This practice, rooted in basic decency and respect for intellectual ownership, is essential for understanding the origin and development of ideas. The proper quotation is not only about recognizing the creators of ideas but also integral to various aspects of the research process:

  • Preventing plagiarism: Correct referencing ensures proper acknowledgment of the sources of information, avoiding unauthorized use of content.
  • Respecting intellectual property rights: Citing is vital when dealing with legally protected industry information, trademarks, patents, and creative works.
  • Providing evidence: Obedience to the research citation format guidelines supports key points with evidence, strengthening the validity of your work.
  • Offering details on source documents: Quoting facilitates the verification of data and arguments, directing readers to original resources.
  • Placing work in context: Referencing helps the research community understand a work’s context and potential impact.

Every field has a particular research papers citation style and standards, encompassing diverse sources such as research papers, technical reports, books, patents, court cases, conference journals, website content, and multimedia. Understanding how to include references in academic papers is crucial for researchers across various disciplines. Seeking expert research paper help at a professional writing company may be an ideal solution for learners lacking skills and experience. 

APA style guidelines

APA, which stands for the American Psychological Association, is a widely adopted formatting style, particularly prevalent in Behavioral and Social Science journals. However, its usage extends beyond these disciplines. Originating in 1929, the APA citation for research paper was devised by anthropologists, business managers, and psychologists to enhance reading comprehension. Over the years, this style has undergone multiple revisions, the most recent being the APA 7th edition released in October 2019. The information in this section is derived from the official APA Style and Grammar Guidelines, providing insights into incorporating references in a research paper, encompassing in-text citations and the reference list or bibliography section.

APA in-text citations

How to cite a research paper in APA? To format quotes, include the author’s last name and the publication year. Place these elements in parentheses at the end of a sentence or within the sentence itself.

Example:

(Smith, 2019), or According to Smith (2019),...

For direct quotes, include the page number:

(Smith, 2019, p. 45) or According to Smith (2019), “quote” (p. 45).

APA reference page

It lists full details of the resources cited in the paper, arranged alphabetically by the author's last name. The general research paper citation format for common sources is as follows:

  • Books:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher.

Example:

Smith, J. A. (2017). The Art of Research. Academic Press.

  • Journal articles:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page range.

Example:

Johnson, R. B. (2020). Research methodologies in social sciences. Journal of Social Studies, 15(2), 45-58.

  • Website:

Author, A. A. (Year, Month & Day of publication). Title of webpage. Website name. URL

Example:

Williams, M. (2018, July 20). The future of artificial intelligence. Tech Insights. https://www.techinsights.com/future-ai

  • Conference proceedings:

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of paper. In A. Editor & B. Editor (Eds.), Title of Conference Proceedings (pp. page range). Publisher.

Example:

Brown, S. C. (2019). Innovative trends in education. In P. Johnson & Q. Lee (Eds.), Proceedings of the International Conference on Education Innovations (pp. 102-115). Academic Press.

Remember to italicize titles of books and periodicals, capitalize major words in titles and headings, and use proper punctuation. Always check the specific guidelines, as APA may vary depending on the source type. You may also use an APA generator to create a correct research article citation in your writing. This generator is software designed to assist students in formatting quotes. 

MLA style guidelines

The Modern Language Association (MLA), headquartered in the U.S., is abbreviated as MLA. Its style, widely employed in the Humanities (Literature, Language Studies, and Cultural Studies) globally, is encapsulated in the 8th edition released in 2016. Similar to APA, MLA features rules for in-text citations and reference lists. However, in this format, the reference list is referred to as the “Works Cited List.” This section will elaborate on the guidelines for both in-text citations and the works-cited list statement. Let’s see the essential research paper MLA citation guidelines.

MLA in-text citations

In this format, quotes typically include the author's last name and the page number of the source. If you complete a research paper in MLA, place these elements in parentheses at the end of a sentence or within the sentence itself.

Example:

(Smith 45) or According to Smith, “quote” (45).

For resources with no page number, use the author’s last name.

Example:

(Johnson).

When referencing authors with multiple works, incorporate a condensed version of the title in the quotation.

Example:

(Johnson, Cultural Narratives 45)

MLA Works Cited page

When analyzing how to cite a research paper, it’s crucial to understand the intricacies of formatting the list with references. In MLA, the Works Cited page lists full details of the sources cited in the paper, arranged alphabetically by the author's last name (or title if no author is available). The general format for common sources is as follows:

  • Books:

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Year.

Example:

Smith, John. The Art of Literature. Random House, 2018.

  • Journal articles:

For citing a research article, use the following template:

Author's Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal, vol. number, no. number, Publication Year, page range.

Example:

Johnson, Robert. “Exploring Cultural Narratives.” Studies in Culture, vol. 5, no. 2, 2019, pp. 30-45.

  • Website:

Author's Last Name, First Name. “Title of Webpage.” Website Name, URL.

Example:

Williams, Mary. “Digital Humanities in Practice.” Digital Humanities Hub, www.digitalhub.org/practice.

  • Newspaper article:

Author's Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Name of Newspaper, Publication Date, page range.

Example:

Brown, Sarah. "Breaking News in Technology." Tech Times, 15 May 2020, pp. 1-2.

It’s necessary to italicize book and journal titles, use quotation marks for article and website titles, capitalize major words in titles and headings, and use proper punctuation. Always check the specific guidelines, as MLA may vary depending on the source type.

Chicago/Turabian style guidelines

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) and Turabian are two closely related formats commonly used in History, Literature, and the Arts. While professional researchers and publishers typically use Chicago, Turabian is a more simplified version designed for students and researchers. Our paper writing services cover both formatting variations. You may contact us if you need assistance with any of these styles.

The distinctive feature of this scientific paper reference format is using footnotes or endnotes for in-text citations and a bibliography for the full details of sources.

Footnotes or endnotes

When you need to cite research article, you should use a raised or superscript number. The text is placed at the end of the sentence or clause, and the corresponding quotation is placed at the bottom of the page (footnotes) or at the end of the document (endnotes).

Example:

This sentence requires citation.¹

¹Author’s First Name Last Name, Title of Book (Place of publication: Publisher, Year), page number.

Bibliography

When learning citing in research papers, let’s see how to format the bibliography. It is a separate page that lists all the resources cited in the paper. The entries are arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name.

  • Book:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year.

Example:

Smith, John. The Art of History. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017.

  • Journal article:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal volume number (Year): page range.+

Example:

Johnson, Robert. “Exploring Historical Narratives.” Historical Studies 12 (2019): 30-45.

  • Website:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of Webpage.” Website Name. URL.

Example:

Williams, Mary. “Digital Humanities Overview.” Digital Humanities Hub. www.digitalhub.org/overview.

  • Newspaper Article:

Last Name, First Name. “Title of Article.” Name of Newspaper, Publication Date.

Example:

Brown, Sarah. “Technological Breakthroughs.” Tech Times, May 15, 2020.

Remember to use proper formatting for titles, italicizing or placing in quotation marks, and include relevant publication details. Chicago/Turabian also offers variations in citation styles, such as author-date format, so it’s essential to consult the specific guidelines for the version you’re using or just send us your “write my paper” request to get expert assistance.

IEEE style guidelines

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) citation style is widely used in Engineering, Computer Science, and other technical fields. IEEE provides guidelines for citing sources in both in-text citations and the reference list. How to reference a research paper in IEEE? Let’s see the essential rules.

IEEE in-text citations

In this research paper format, in-text citations are typically indicated by numbers enclosed in square brackets. These numbers refer to entries in the reference list.

Example:

This is a sentence requiring quotation [1].

For multiple sources, separate the numbers with commas and use a hyphen for a range.

Example:

Previous studies have explored this concept [2, 5-7].

IEEE reference list

In this section, provide a numbered list corresponding to the text's order of citations. Discover a research paper citation example for different source types.

  • Book:

[1] A. A. Author, Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, year.

Example:

[1] J. K. Author, Introduction to Electrical Engineering. New York: Wiley, 2019.

  • Journal article:

[2] A. A. Author, “Title of Article,” Title of Journal, vol. number, no. number, pp. page range, year.

Example:

[2] R. B. Johnson, “Advancements in Power Systems,” IEEE Transactions on Power Systems, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 123-135, 2020.

  • Conference paper:

[3] A. A. Author, “Title of Paper,” in Title of Conference, year, pp. page range.

Example:

[3] S. C. Brown, “Innovations in Robotics,” in IEEE International Conference on Robotics, 2018, pp. 45-50.

  • Website:

[4] A. A. Author, “Title of Webpage,” Website Name. [Online]. Available: URL.

Example:

[4] M. Williams, “Advancements in Artificial Intelligence,” IEEE Spectrum. [Online]. Available: www.ieee.org/ai-advancements.

Apply proper abbreviations, punctuation, and formatting for titles and other details. IEEE style emphasizes using numerical citations for a clear and concise quotation style in technical writing.

Final thoughts

Understanding how to cite research paper is a crucial aspect of academic success. By acknowledging the intellectual contributions of others and presenting your work with proper citations, you demonstrate scholarly integrity and contribute to the ongoing academic conversation. If learning citation styles and rules is challenging, EduBirdie can provide professional support. With our expert assistance, students can overcome issues related to citing sources. Whether it’s understanding a specific formatting style, creating an accurate bibliography, or addressing any citation-related concerns, EduBirdie’s support ensures that students can focus on the substance of their research while leaving the doubts of what citation format for research paper to choose for the experts. With EduBirdie, academic excellence is achievable and made more accessible, providing students with the tools they need to excel in their scholarly endeavors.

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