Research Paper Citation Rules: Tips For College Students


Writing a research paper is not something most college students enjoy. Most of the time, it’s considered an unnecessary and arduous task. One of the hardest parts about this type of assignment is making sure you cite all of your information sources properly. Most students struggle with how to do this efficiently. However, with the right tools under your belt, you can easily excel at research paper citation. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Make sure you do as your professor requests. Many college professors will prefer one method of citation while others may ask you to do something totally different. It’s extremely important that you take notes on exactly how your professor prefers you to do this. If you don’t, you run the risk of putting in all that hard work for nothing. Even if you are used to using a certain format in other classes, it’s crucial that you do whatever you teacher asks if you want to earn a good grade on your paper.

  • Research the formatting before you begin. If you know which format you need to use, you can then go online and do some research to learn more about it if you are not already familiar with it. Many citing formats have differences that are important when writing research papers. If you do not know these differences, it’s very important that you learn about them before you begin writing. Failure to do so could result in a poor or underserved grade.

  • Follow the guidelines exactly. Once you know how your professor wants you to cite your work, and once you have found out all there is to know about that specific format, you can finally put it into practice. The most important thing to remember, however, is always to follow the guidelines exactly. Don’t improvise or make up your own rules, even if you don’t like the existing ones. You can often find helpful tools online that will give you examples of exactly how to cite a research paper resource, and you can use these examples as a guideline when doing your own work.

  • Don’t overdo it. Many times, students get caught up inciting so many sources that their paper becomes a mess of information that makes it difficult to read. Make sure you don’t overdo it. Use just enough sources to prove that you know what you’re talking about, but not so many that your paper is bogged down with too much outside information.

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