Jared P.
Jared P.

How to Cite a Research Paper in a Right Format

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Published on: Feb 19, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 20, 2023

How to Cite a Research Paper

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Citing the sources is an important part of writing a research paper. Thesis, research papers, dissertations, and any other type of academic writing need to be cited using different citation styles.

Commonly, students use APA, MLA, and Chicago style styles for citing different sources. You can easily save yourself from plagiarism and show the relevance of your research with proper citation.

However, some students get confused about different citation styles. Thus, refer to this blog and get a complete style guide important to learn how to cite a research paper.

What is a Citation Style?

The citation style is an essential part of the paper when you cite another researcher's work. It is used to format the papers in a specific style that makes it easier for others to find your sources and verify them.

The manual on how to do citations contains the information, including examples, explanations, and instructions.

The main purpose of citations is to:

  • Enable better verification of your writing piece.
  • Allow the readers to know where you got the information for your study.
  • Give proper credit to the authors whose work you have used in your paper.
  • Helps to avoid plagiarism in work.
  • Makes the writing piece even more reliable and credible.

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The chosen citation style will depend on the discipline in which you are writing. However, sometimes, the professors assign a citation style to students. Thus, it is better to consult the instructor before starting to write the research paper.

Here are some major elements that you should mention when citing sources:

  • Name of the author
  • Name of the book, article, or other resources
  • The year of publication
  • The place of publication
  • Page numbers
  • The name of the website

How to Cite a Research Paper in Different Styles?

As previously mentioned, a writer must cite all the sources used while writing a paper. Some of the citation style formats that are used in academic writing include:

  • APA (American Psychological Association)
  • MLA (Modern Language Association)
  • ASA (American Sociological Association)
  • Chicago Citation Style
  • Harvard Citation Style
  • IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

The information is the same in all the citation styles, but only the format to present it depends on the styles mentioned above. Let us discuss the referencing styles in detail.

APA Research Paper Format

It is the most commonly used research paper format. This citation style is typically used in psychology and social science papers. Nevertheless, it is not limited to these disciplines only.

It is not a complex citation style, and students often use it to format their papers. It is also known as the 7th edition citation. Below-given are the formatting rules that you should follow when writing a research paper in APA format.

  • Use 1’’ margins on all sides of the page.
  • Use double spacing throughout the paper.
  • Use 12 pt font size.
  • Add a header on the top left corner of every page that includes a short title.

Moreover, in APA format style, a research paper must include the following sections:

  • Title Page
  • Abstract
  • Main body
  • References

Have a look at some specific APA formats for different kinds of sources:

SourceFormat
WebsiteAuthor, (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Retrieved from URL
News PaperAuthor, (Year, Month Date of Publication). Article title. Magazine Title, pp. xx-xx
MagazineAuthor, (Year, a month of Publication). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume(Issue), pp.-pp
BookAuthor, (Year of Publication). The Title of work. Publisher City, State: Publisher

APA Format In-Text Citation

APA in-text citations direct the readers to cite the entries at the end of the paper. It is mainly used to describe another author’s work or ideas.

The major elements of the APA in-text citation are:

  • Author’s last name
  • Year of publication

Make sure to add the timestamp and page number when citing the source. Similarly, the in-text citations in the APA format come in two different forms:

  1. Parenthetical
  2. Narrative

Example:

(David, 1995, p. 67)

In parenthetical citation, it would be written like (David, 1995), while in the narrative, it would be cited as David (1995). Refer to the following sample to understand the APA citation style.

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MLA Research Paper Format

MLA citation format is another commonly used format, especially in the disciplines of humanities and liberal arts. Most scholars and researchers used this citation style for writing their assignments.

When you write the paper in MLA format , use the title for your reference list. Here are some formatting rules that you should follow when drafting an MLA-style paper.

  • Use 1-inch margins on the top, bottom, and sides.
  • Keep the font size 12pt.
  • Write the title of the paper in the title case.
  • Write all other text in Times New Roman.
  • Use double spacing throughout the paper.
  • Mention last name and page number at the top left of the page.

Check out the following MLA formats for citing different kinds of sources: 

SourceFormat
WebsiteLast Name, First Name. “Page Title.” Website Title. Sponsoring Institution/Publisher. Publication Date: Page Numbers. Medium.
BookLast Name, First Name. Book Title. Publisher City: Publisher Name, Year Published. Medium.
MagazineLast Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Magazine Name Publication Date: Page Numbers. Medium.
News PaperLast Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Newspaper Name Publication Date: Page Numbers. Medium.
Blog PostsLast name, Middle name, Surname. “Title of the blog post.” Blog Title, Publisher, date posted, URL.
Twitter@twitterhandel. “Description.” Twitter, date, time. URL.
InstagramLast name, first name. “Description” Website Title, date, URL.

Below is the sample for you to understand this format style.

ASA Research Paper Format

The Sociological Association develops this citation style. Most scholars use it for writing sociology research papers. The main elements of an ASA paper include:

  • Title Page
  • In-Text Citation
  • Headings
  • References

Follow the formatting tips given below to write a research paper in ASA format.

  • Include page numbers in the top right corner of the page.
  • Use double spacing throughout the paper.
  • Keep the font size to 12 pt.
  • Use a 1-inch margin on all sides of the page.
  • The text must have a Times New Roman font.

Here are the ASA citation guidelines for citing different types of sources.

SourceFormat
WebsiteAuthor’s Last, First Name. Date of Publishing. Title. Publisher. Retrieved Month Day, Year (link).
Magazine ArticleAuthor’s Last, First Name. Year of Pub. "Title." Magazine Name, Month Year, pp. Inclusive page numbers.
BookAuthor’s Last, First Name. Year of Publication. Title. Country of publisher: Publisher.
Newspaper ArticleAuthor Last name, First name. Year of publication. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper (italicized), Month date, pp. Numbers.

Check out the following sample paper for a better understanding.

Chicago Style Research Paper Format

Researchers mostly use the Chicago style in humanities and book bibliographies. Here, the writers cite sources in endnotes and footnotes. Similarly, it also allows them to demonstrate acceptability to the related references used in the content.

The following are the Chicago-style formatting rules that every student should follow:

  • All text should be double-spaced.
  • Use 1-inch margins on all sides of the page.
  • Keep the font size 12pt.
  • Use Times New Roman font style.
  • The page number should be included in the header of the first page.
  • New paragraphs should be ½ inch indented.

Below-mentioned is the Chicago style citation to cite sources of different kinds:

SourceFormat
WebsiteLast Name, First Name. “Page Title.” Website Title. Web Address (retrieved Date Accessed).
ArticleLast Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Journal Name Volume Number (Year Published): Page Numbers.
MagazineLast Name, First Name. Article title. Magazine Title, Month Date, Year of publication.
News PaperLast Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Newspaper Name, Publication Date.
Youtube VideoLast name, First name, “Title of Video.” YouTube video, length. Date published. URL.
TwitterLast name, First name. Twitter Post. Month, Day, Year, Time. Tweet URL.
InstagramAuthor(s) of the post (@handle). "Text of the Instagram post." Instagram, Date of posting. URL.
Blog PostsFirst name, Last Name, “Title of Blog Post,” Blog Title (blog), Month Date, Year of Post, URL.
BookLast Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher City: Publisher Name, Year Published.

You can also have a look at the following sample to understand better.

Harvard Style Research Paper Format

The Harvard citation format is used in economics and is based on the author-date system. This style also has in-text citations in the body section.

Here are some tips that you should follow while writing a Harvard-style research paper.

  • Arranged reference list alphabetically.
  • The title of the source should be in italics and underlined.

Refer to the following table to format your paper in Harvard style.

SourceFormat
BookAuthor A and Author B (year) Book Title. Place: Publisher name.
Journal ArticlesAuthor Surname, Initial. (Year) Title of article. Title of journal, Vol. no. (Part no./Issue/Month), Pages, use p. or pp.
ReportAuthor Surname, Initial(s) or Corporate Author., (Year of publication). Title of report. Paper number [if applicable]. Place of Publication: Publisher.

Below is an example that will help you understand this citation style in detail.

IEEE Style Research Paper Format

The IEEE citation style is used while writing electronic, computer science, engineering, and IT papers. It is an official style of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Also, this citation style has three main elements that must be kept in mind:

  • Author’s name
  • Title of the work
  • Title of journal or book

However, the format, page numbers, and other information will be different from other citation styles.

The following table shows how to cite different kinds of sources in an IEEE research paper.

SourceFormat
HandbooksName of Manual/Handbook, x ed., Abbrev. Name of Co., City of Co., Abbrev. State, year, pp. xxx-xxx.
BooksJ. K. Author, “Title of chapter in the book,” in Title of His Published Book, xth ed. City of Publisher, (only U.S. State), Country: Abbrev. of Publisher, year, ch. x, sec. x, pp. xxx–xxx.
Conference PaperJ. K. Author, “Title of paper,” presented at the Abbreviated Name of Conf., City of Conf., Abbrev. State, Country, Month and day(s), year, Paper number.
PeriodicalsJ. K. Author, “Name of paper,” Abbrev. Title of Periodical, vol. x, no. x, pp. xxx-xxx, Abbrev. Month, year.
ReportsJ. K. Author, “Title of report,” Abbrev. Name of Co., City of Co., Abbrev. State, Country, Rep. xxx, year.
Thesis and DissertationJ. K. Author, “Title of thesis,” M.S. thesis, Abbrev. Dept., Abbrev. Univ., City of Univ., Abbrev. State, year.
WebsiteFirst Name Initial(s) Last Name. “Page Title.” Website Title. Web Address (retrieved Date Accessed).

Check out the following sample paper given below:

Expert Tips to Cite a Research Paper

Below, we have mentioned some expert tips for you to follow while citing references in a research paper.

  • Choose a citation style after consulting with your instructor.
  • Cite relevant sources and use quotation marks.
  • Separate the names of multiple authors with a comma.
  • While citing periodicals, mention the issue number in parentheses.
  • Proofread the references before final submission or publication.

Now you get a comprehensive understanding of different citation styles. However, if you still need professional help with citing your sources properly, consult us at FreeEssayWriter.net.

We have a team of professional writers at our essay writing service. They have the right knowledge, skills, and expertise to guide you about the complete writing process.

Thus, contact us now to get a well-written and properly cited paper in no time.

Jared P.

WRITTEN BY

Jared P. (Law, Education)

Jared P. is a renowned author and writing service provider with over fifteen years of experience in the publishing industry. He has a Ph.D. degree in English Literature and has spent his entire career helping students achieve their academic goals by providing expert writing assistance.

Jared P. is a renowned author and writing service provider with over fifteen years of experience in the publishing industry. He has a Ph.D. degree in English Literature and has spent his entire career helping students achieve their academic goals by providing expert writing assistance.

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