How To Write A Brilliant Term Paper: Citing Sources In A Proper Way


Introduction, hypothesis, literature review, data analysis could be foundational to a term paper but there is no denying the utility of references or source. During the research procedure the sources from which we excerpt information become indispensable. To cite sources, a proper reference list or bibliography needs to be appended. Sources also appear within the text as and when required. Below are few efficacious tips on the proper ways of citing sources:

  • Understanding Citation Style: There is no universal citation style, one has to master the art of citation both in-text and out-text. There are Oxford, Harvard, MLA, American Sociological Association (ASA), American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago styles etc. Each and every style has different patterns.

  • Separate Source separate pattern: With every different style the citing pattern differs as well.

  • Articles-Author’s name, title of the article, title of the periodical, volume, publication date (month, year), and page numbers.

  • Books-Author’s name, title of the book, year of publication, place of publication, and publisher.

  • Electronic sources like blogs, online journals etc- Same as the articles, along with the Internet address and date and time of retrieval.

  • Source page named after citation style- "References" for APA style. "Works Cited" in case of MLA style etcetera.

  • Know your domain know your style- In humanities, Modern Language Association (MLA) is predominantly used. Social science extensively uses the American Psychological Association (APA), Historians exercise The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Bluebook citation style is mostly used for American legal writings. American Chemical Society(ACS) style is used by chemistry and sometimes physics and Mathematics chiefly uses American Mathematical Society(AMS) style.

  • Incorporating in-text citation- MLA style supports author’s last name and the page number in parenthesis following a quotation or paraphrase. In APA style, quotations are followed by author’s last name and the date of publication in parenthesis. Although these are habitually used but it is advisable to consult the instructor, as sometimes guidelines vary.

  • Never be inconsistent- citation styles are quite strait-laced in their writing patterns. Changing or overlapping them constantly will shake their whole disposition and will put your term paper at stake.

  • Over-citing is suspicious- over-citing makes you vulnerable to questions. One should not take help of supererogation when it comes to citation. Too many references do not necessarily mean that your paper is vouched twenty times more. There are topics which are generic and need no reference at all.