which parts of research paper contains borrowed ideas and information

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which parts of research paper contains borrowed ideas and information

which parts of research paper contains borrowed ideas and information

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Components of a complete research paper/5 Top components

Components of a complete research paper

Components of a complete research paper

Preliminary pages

Preliminary pages are those sections of a project or research paper that appear before the first chapter.

The first page of a research paper is the cover page, which comprises information on the entire scope of the project’s work. 

The second page is the Declaration page, followed by the Certification, Dedication, Acknowledgment, Abstract, List of Tables, List of Figures, List of Abbreviations and Table of Content.


A cover page, also known as a title page, is usually the opening page of a book and contains general and basic information such as the title, author’s name, publisher’s name, date of publication, edition, and so on.

A cover page for a group project report, for example, maybe required by a teacher.

The first page of your article is the cover page, which contains some formal information about your research.

It is critical to devote time and effort to create a decent research paper cover page.

Sample Cover Page








 A Research Project Submitted to The Department of English Law, Faculty of Laws And Political Science, of the University of Buea in Partial

Fulfilment of  the Requirement for The Award of

A Bachelor of Law (LL.B) Degree

in English Law.





which parts of research paper contains borrowed ideas and information

1.       Declaration (on one page)

The writer expresses appreciation or honours others in the dedication part, usually those who have inspired or aided them while writing their book, research paper, or reports. 

You are allowed to write a dedication in whatever way you like. It is one of the most personal elements of your writing.

Sample Declaration

I, ASHU MIRABEL NKOYO with Registration number SM18A643 hereby declare that this project entitled: 

“The effect of Training on Employee Performance” is a research for my efforts that have not been presented before by any researcher or for any other academic purposes and it is the result of my personal research efforts. 

All borrowed ideas have been acknowledged in the reference and or quotations.

Sign: ————————————-     Date ————————


The above declaration is confirmed by

Sign: ————————————      Date ————————–



which parts of research paper contains borrowed ideas and information


Sample Certification

This is to certify that this project entitled  “The Effect of Training on Employee Performance”  presented by ASHU MIRABEL NKOYO (SM18A643) meets the project requirements and regulations governing the award of a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) degree in Management at the University of Buea and is therefore approved for its contributions to scientific knowledge and literary presentation.

Sign: —————————————                                     Date ——————–


(Head of Department)


which parts of research paper contains borrowed ideas and information


The dedication is the writer’s personal acknowledgement of notable people in his or her life, expressing gratitude and respect for them. 

Because the dedication is personal, any individuals mentioned are typically unconnected to the dissertation’s topic. It does not have to be intellectual in any sense.

Sample Dedication

  I dedicate this project to God Almighty


An acknowledgement in a research paper refers to the area at the beginning of your thesis formatting where you express your gratitude for the persons who helped you with your study. 

It’s up to you to figure out who you owe the most gratitude to for assisting you with your research.

Sample Acknowledgement

I would like to in a very special, thank my supervisor Dr SMART NELA BUH who took pains upon his tight schedule to guide, correct and proofread this piece of work.

My sincere gratitude likewise, goes to the lecturers of the Management program. 

The realization of this piece is thanks to your relentless strive towards imparting knowledge. 

You will never regret your efforts.

I want to say a big thank you to my parents Mr Amo Ben and Mrs Bentine for their financial and moral support.

I am equally thankful to all relatives, friends and others who in one way or another shared their support, morally, financially and physically. Thank you for all your prayers and for always being there to help.

which parts of research paper contains borrowed ideas and information


An abstract summarizes the major aspects of the entire paper in a prescribed sequence, usually in one paragraph of 300 words or less, and includes:  

the overall purpose of the study and the research problem(s) you investigated; the basic design of the study; and major findings or trends discovered as a result of your research.

An abstract is a brief description of your research findings. 

It’s meant to give a broad overview of your work without getting into too much detail. 

Abstracts should be self-contained and succinct, describing your work in as few words as feasible. 

As the examples below show, different fields require slightly different approaches to abstracts; 

therefore it’s a good idea to examine some abstracts from your own field before you start writing one.

The most crucial role of an abstract is to assist a reader in deciding whether or not to read your complete article. 

Consider the following scenario: you’re an undergraduate student in the library late on a Friday night. You’re tired, bored, and sick of reading about celery’s history on the internet. 

The last thing you want to do is read an entire article only to find out it has nothing to do with your point of view. 

An excellent abstract can overcome this difficulty by suggesting to the reader whether or not the work will be relevant to his or her specific research subject. 

Abstracts are also used by libraries to help them catalogue publications based on the keywords that appear in them.

Sample Abstract

Employees are major assets of any organization. The active role they play in a company’s success cannot be underestimated. 

As a result, equipping these unique assets through effective training becomes imperative to maximize job performance. 

Also, position them to take on the challenges of today’s competitive business climate. 

Although extensive research has been conducted in the area of Human Research Management, the same cannot be said on employee training especially as it concerns developing countries.

The purpose of this thesis was to evaluate the effects of training on employee performance, using the Buea Council in Cameroon as a case study. 

To understand the study aim, four goals were developed and these focused particularly on identifying the training programs’ existing in the Organization, the objective of the training offered, and the methods employed and finally the effects of training and development on employee performance.

The study was based on three case studies of the Buea Council. 

A qualitative research approach of the data collection was adopted using a questionnaire comprising of 21 questions. 

Based on this sample the results obtained indicate that training has a clear effect on the performance of employees. 

The findings can prove useful to human resource managers, Human resource policy decision-makers, as well as government and academic institutions.

Keywords:  Training, Performance, Buea Council, Cameroon


A list of tables is a reference tool that allows your readers to browse data in your thesis or dissertation quickly and effortlessly. 

The process of making the list is similar to that of making a Table of Contents. 

Your contribution when carrying out the research

·          REFERENCES

The last page of an essay or research paper written in APA style is the references page. It contains a list of all the sources you’ve used in your project, making it easy for readers to locate what you’ve cited.

The APA style is a standardized system of structuring texts and citing sources developed by the American Psychological Association (APA). 

The APA style has its own format for the references page. On the last page of a document, different formatting styles have distinct names and techniques of citing sources. 

The Modern Language Association (MLA) refers to it as a ‘Works Cited,’ while the Turabian style refers to it as a ‘Bibliography.’

In-text Citations

To provide credit to a source’s content, in-text citations are employed throughout a research article. 

These are brief citations that rapidly explain the source of the information. 

The entire citation on the references page will match these in-text sources.

Remember that every source mentioned in an in-text citation must also be listed in the references section. 

It is unnecessary to credit a source on your references page if you looked at it during your early research but didn’t use any of the content in your paper or article. 

Finally, double-check that all of your in-text citations and references are formatted appropriately, and keep in mind that the prevalent citation styles differ slightly.

Students moan about having to use these forms but imagine being forced to create your own format and documentation style in addition to writing the paper.

When you employ a third-party source to back up or expand on your ideas, you must credit them with

an in-text citation. Each source you utilize in your paper must also be listed in your bibliography. A

source is a book, magazine, website, peer-reviewed journal article, or other pieces of media that you

used to back up your argument. They’re also known as references or citations.

·          APPENDIX

An appendix contains information that is not required to be included in the body of the paper but may

be useful in providing more full knowledge of the research subject. It also contains information that is

too lengthy to be included in the body of the document.

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Components of a complete research paper,Components of a complete research paper,, Components of a complete research paper

·         Ethical Issues

Chapter Four

Data Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation

·         Demographic Presentation

·         Analysis of Research for each question

·         Hypothesis Testing

·         Interview Analysis

Chapter Five

·         Summary of Findings

Findings start from the field where your objectives are achieved.

·         Conclusion

Conclusion entails a statement of what your result affirms, discussion of problems encountered and how they were solved.

·         Recommendation

Chapter Two

Literature Review and Theoretical Framework

1.       Literature Review

·         Conceptual Review

·         Empirical Review or Review of other works

·         Contribution to knowledge (knowledge gab)

2.      Theoretical Framework

Chapter Three

Research Methodology

·         Research Design

·         Study Area

·         Study Population

·         Sample Size

·         Sample Technique

·         Research Instruments (questionnaires, interview, focus groups and observation)

·         Data Analysis (Descriptive Statistics, thematic analysis, content analysis)

·         Validity

ANOVA: Analysis of Variance







List of Tables……………………………………………………………………………

List of Figures…………………………………………………………………

List of Abbreviations………………………………………………………..

Chapter one………………………………………………………………………….

General Introduction……………………………………………………………..

Background of the Study…………………………………………………………

Statement of the Problem………………………………………………………….

Research Questions……………………………………………………………………..

Research Objectives ……………………………………………………………………….


Scope of the Study…………………………………………………………………….

Significance of the Study………………………………………………………….

Definition of terms or Operational definition……………………………

Organization of the Chapters…………………………………………………………..

Chapter two………………………………………………………………………………………

Literature Review………………………………………………………………………………

Conceptual Review……………………………………………………………………………..

Empirical Review or Review of other works………………………………………….

Contribution to knowledge (knowledge gab)………………………………………….

Theoretical Framework…………………………………………………………………………

Chapter three……………………………………………………………………………………

Research Methodology……………………………………………………………………………..

Research Design………………………………………………………………………………..

Study Area…………………………………………………………………………………………

Study Population……………………………………………………………………………………

Sample Size………………………………………………………………………………………

Sample Technique………………………………………………………………………………….

Research Instruments …………………………………………………………………………….

Data Analysis ………………………………………………………………………………….


Ethical Issues……………………………………………………………………………………….

Chapter four………………………………………………………………………………..

Demographic Presentation…………………………………………………………………………

Analysis of Research for each question……………………………………………………….

Hypothesis Testing………………………………………………………………

Interview Analysis…………………………………………………………………

Chapter five……………………………………………………………………………………

Summary of Findings……………………………………………………………………





Chapter One

·         General Introduction

·         Background of the Study

It demonstrates the need to do the study, the challenges, personal views of the research and it helps to convince the reader that there is a problem. 

It engages the interest of the reader.  

·         Statement of the Problem

A research problem refers to an issue or concern that puzzles the researcher. This may be due to its effects or consistence despite measures taken. 

For instance, a researcher may be puzzled as to why beer consumption is still high despite the increase in price.

·         Research Questions

·         Research Objectives

·         Hypothesis

·         Scope of the Study

·         Significance of the Study

·         Definition of terms or Operational definition

·         Organization of the Chapters

If you want to save time when creating your List of Tables, make sure to employ font styles.

Sample list of tables

Table 1: The training and development needs’ types…………………………………11

Table 2: A clear comparison chart…………………………………………………….15

Table 3: Differences in Emphasis in Qualitative versus Quantitative Methods………..30

Table 4.1: Age of the respondent……………………………………………………………………….. 37

Table 4.2: Gender…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 37

Table 4.3: Marital Status……………………………………………………………………………………. 38

Table 4.4: Educational Qualification…………………………………………………………………… 38

Table 4.5: Level of Experience…………………………………………………………………………… 39

Table 4.6: ANOVA………………………………………………………………………………………….. 40

Table 4.7: Model summary………………………………………………………………………………… 41

Table 4.8: Correlation……………………………………………………………………………………….. 42


The list of figures is used by readers to locate visual information. 

The list of figures in administrative or research documents indicates the titles and places of visuals (figures, drawings, pictures, and maps).

Figure one:

Figure two:

Figure three:


If your thesis or dissertation involves a lot of symbols or abbreviations, including a list of abbreviations to help your reader is a good idea. 

This is an alphabetical list of the terms and their definitions.

Sample list of abbreviations

CEFAM:  Centre de Formation pour L’Administration Municipal

NASLA: National School of Local Administration

OLS: Ordinary Least Squares

SPSS: Statistical Package for Social Scientist

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Research Writing ~ How to Write a Research Paper

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Papers should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Your introductory paragraph should grab the reader's attention, state your main idea and how you will support it. The body of the paper should expand on what you have stated in the introduction. Finally, the conclusion restates the paper's thesis and should explain what you have learned, giving a wrap up of your main ideas.   

1. The Title The title should be specific and indicate the theme of the research and what ideas it addresses. Use keywords that help explain your paper's topic to the reader. Try to avoid  abbreviations  and  jargon.  Think about keywords that people would use to search for your paper and include them in your title. 

2. The Abstract The abstract is used by readers to get a quick overview of your paper. Typically, they are about 200 words in length (120 words minimum to  250 words maximum). The abstract should introduce the topic and thesis, and should provide a general statement about what you have found in your research. The abstract allows you to mention each major aspect of you topic and helps readers decide whether they want to read the rest of the paper. Because it is a summary of the entire research paper, it is often written last. 

3. The Introduction The introduction should be designed to attract the reader's attention and explain the focus of the research. You will introduce your overview of the topic, your main points of information, and why this subject is important. You can introduce the current understanding and background information about the topic. Toward the end of the introduction, you add your thesis statement, and explain how you will provide information to support your research questions. This provides the purpose, focus, and structure for the rest of the paper.

4. Thesis Statement Most papers will have a thesis statement or main idea and supporting facts/ideas/arguments. State your main idea (something of interest or something to be proven or argued for or against) as your thesis statement, and then provide  supporting facts and arguments. A thesis statement is a declarative sentence that asserts the position a paper will be taking. It also points toward the paper's development. This statement should be both specific and arguable. Generally, the thesis statement will be placed at the end of the first paragraph of your paper. The remainder of your paper will support this thesis.

Students often learn to write a thesis as a first step in the writing process, but often, after research, a writers viewpoint may change. Therefore a thesis statement may be one of the final steps in writing. 

Examples of thesis statements from Purdue OWL. . .

5. The Literature Review The purpose of the literature review is to describe past important research and how it specifically relates to the research thesis. It should be a synthesis of the previous literature and the new idea being researched. The review should examine the major theories related to the topic to date and their contributors. It should include all relevant findings from credible sources, such as academic books and peer-reviewed journal articles. You will want  to:

  • Explain how the literature helps the researcher understand the topic.
  • Try to show connections and any disparities between the literature.
  • Identify new ways to interpret prior research.
  • Reveal any gaps that exist in the literature.

More about writing a literature review. . .  from The Writing Center at UNC-Chapel Hill More about summarizing. . . from the Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign

6. The Discussion ​The purpose of the discussion is to interpret and describe what you have learned from your research. Make the reader understand why your topic is important. The discussion should always demonstrate what you have learned from your readings (and viewings) and how that learning has made the topic evolve, especially from the short description of main points in the introduction. Explain any new understanding or insights you have had after reading your articles and/or books. Paragraphs should use transitioning sentences to develop how one paragraph idea leads to the next. The discussion will always connect to the introduction, your thesis statement, and the literature you reviewed, but it does not simply repeat or rearrange the introduction. You want to: 

  • Demonstrate critical thinking, not just reporting back facts that you gathered.
  • If possible, tell how the topic has evolved over the past and give it's implications for the future.
  • Fully explain your main ideas with supporting information.
  • Explain why your thesis is correct giving arguments to counter points.

​7. The Conclusion A concluding paragraph is a brief summary of your main ideas and restates the paper's main thesis, giving the reader the sense that the stated goal of the paper has been accomplished. What have you learned by doing this research that you didn't know before? What conclusions have you drawn? You may also want to suggest further areas of study, improvement of research possibilities, etc. to demonstrate your critical thinking regarding your research.

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Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper

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Background information identifies and describes the history and nature of a well-defined research problem with reference to contextualizing existing literature. The background information should indicate the root of the problem being studied, appropriate context of the problem in relation to theory, research, and/or practice , its scope, and the extent to which previous studies have successfully investigated the problem, noting, in particular, where gaps exist that your study attempts to address. Background information does not replace the literature review section of a research paper; it is intended to place the research problem within a specific context and an established plan for its solution.

Fitterling, Lori. Researching and Writing an Effective Background Section of a Research Paper. Kansas City University of Medicine & Biosciences; Creating a Research Paper: How to Write the Background to a Study. DurousseauElectricalInstitute.com; Background Information: Definition of Background Information. Literary Devices Definition and Examples of Literary Terms.

Importance of Having Enough Background Information

Background information expands upon the key points stated in the beginning of your introduction but is not intended to be the main focus of the paper. It generally supports the question, what is the most important information the reader needs to understand before continuing to read the paper? Sufficient background information helps the reader determine if you have a basic understanding of the research problem being investigated and promotes confidence in the overall quality of your analysis and findings. This information provides the reader with the essential context needed to conceptualize the research problem and its significance before moving on to a more thorough analysis of prior research.

Forms of contextualization included in background information can include describing one or more of the following:

  • Cultural -- placed within the learned behavior of a specific group or groups of people.
  • Economic -- of or relating to systems of production and management of material wealth and/or business activities.
  • Gender -- located within the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with being self-identified as male, female, or other form of  gender expression.
  • Historical -- the time in which something takes place or was created and how the condition of time influences how you interpret it.
  • Interdisciplinary -- explanation of theories, concepts, ideas, or methodologies borrowed from other disciplines applied to the research problem rooted in a discipline other than the discipline where your paper resides.
  • Philosophical -- clarification of the essential nature of being or of phenomena as it relates to the research problem.
  • Physical/Spatial -- reflects the meaning of space around something and how that influences how it is understood.
  • Political -- concerns the environment in which something is produced indicating it's public purpose or agenda.
  • Social -- the environment of people that surrounds something's creation or intended audience, reflecting how the people associated with something use and interpret it.
  • Temporal -- reflects issues or events of, relating to, or limited by time. Concerns past, present, or future contextualization and not just a historical past.

Background information can also include summaries of important research studies . This can be a particularly important element of providing background information if an innovative or groundbreaking study about the research problem laid a foundation for further research or there was a key study that is essential to understanding your arguments. The priority is to summarize for the reader what is known about the research problem before you conduct the analysis of prior research. This is accomplished with a general summary of the foundational research literature [with citations] that document findings that inform your study's overall aims and objectives.

NOTE : Research studies cited as part of the background information of your introduction should not include very specific, lengthy explanations. This should be discussed in greater detail in your literature review section. If you find a study requiring lengthy explanation, consider moving it to the literature review section.

ANOTHER NOTE : In some cases, your paper's introduction only needs to introduce the research problem, explain its significance, and then describe a road map for how you are going to address the problem; the background information basically forms the introduction part of your literature review. That said, while providing background information is not required, including it in the introduction is a way to highlight important contextual information that could otherwise be hidden or overlooked by the reader if placed in the literature review section.

Background of the Problem Section: What do you Need to Consider? Anonymous. Harvard University; Hopkins, Will G. How to Write a Research Paper. SPORTSCIENCE, Perspectives/Research Resources. Department of Physiology and School of Physical Education, University of Otago, 1999; Green, L. H. How to Write the Background/Introduction Section. Physics 499 Powerpoint slides. University of Illinois; Woodall, W. Gill. Writing the Background and Significance Section. Senior Research Scientist and Professor of Communication. Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions. University of New Mexico.  

Structure and Writing Style

Providing background information in the introduction of a research paper serves as a bridge that links the reader to the research problem . Precisely how long and in-depth this bridge should be is largely dependent upon how much information you think the reader will need to know in order to fully understand the problem being discussed and to appreciate why the issues you are investigating are important.

From another perspective, the length and detail of background information also depends on the degree to which you need to demonstrate to your professor how much you understand the research problem. Keep this in mind because providing pertinent background information can be an effective way to demonstrate that you have a clear grasp of key issues, debates, and concepts related to your overall study.

The structure and writing style of your background information can vary depending upon the complexity of your research and/or the nature of the assignment. However, in most cases it should be limited to only one to two paragraphs in your introduction.

Given this, here are some questions to consider while writing this part of your introduction :

  • Are there concepts, terms, theories, or ideas that may be unfamiliar to the reader and, thus, require additional explanation?
  • Are there historical elements that need to be explored in order to provide needed context, to highlight specific people, issues, or events, or to lay a foundation for understanding the emergence of a current issue or event?
  • Are there theories, concepts, or ideas borrowed from other disciplines or academic traditions that may be unfamiliar to the reader and therefore require further explanation?
  • Is there a key study or small set of studies that set the stage for understanding the topic and frames why it is important to conduct further research on the topic?
  • Y our study uses a method of analysis never applied before;
  • Your study investigates a very esoteric or complex research problem;
  • Your study introduces new or unique variables that need to be taken into account ; or,
  • Your study relies upon analyzing unique texts or documents, such as, archival materials or primary documents like diaries or personal letters that do not represent the established body of source literature on the topic?

Almost all introductions to a research problem require some contextualizing, but the scope and breadth of background information varies depending on your assumption about the reader's level of prior knowledge . However, despite this assessment, background information should be brief and succinct and sets the stage for the elaboration of critical points or in-depth discussion of key issues in the literature review section of your paper.

Background of the Problem Section: What do you Need to Consider? Anonymous. Harvard University; Hopkins, Will G. How to Write a Research Paper. SPORTSCIENCE, Perspectives/Research Resources. Department of Physiology and School of Physical Education, University of Otago, 1999; Green, L. H. How to Write the Background/Introduction Section. Physics 499 Powerpoint slides. University of Illinois; Woodall, W. Gill. Writing the Background and Significance Section. Senior Research Scientist and Professor of Communication. Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse, and Addictions. University of New Mexico.

Writing Tip

Background Information vs. the Literature Review

Incorporating background information into the introduction is intended to provide the reader with critical information about the topic being studied, such as, highlighting and expanding upon foundational studies conducted in the past, describing important historical events that inform why and in what ways the research problem exists, defining key components of your study [concepts, people, places, phenomena] and/or placing the research problem within a particular context. Although introductory background information can often blend into the literature review portion of the paper, essential background information should not be considered a substitute for a comprehensive review and synthesis of relevant research literature.

Hart, Cris. Doing a Literature Review: Releasing the Social Science Research Imagination . Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1998.

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What Is Background in a Research Paper?

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So you have carefully written your research paper and probably ran it through your colleagues ten to fifteen times. While there are many elements to a good research article, one of the most important elements for your readers is the background of your study. The background of your study will provide context to the information discussed throughout the research paper. Background information may include both important and relevant studies. This is particularly important if a study either supports or refutes your thesis.

In addition, the background of the study will discuss your problem statement, rationale, and research questions. It links introduction to your research topic and ensures a logical flow of ideas.  Thus, it helps readers understand your reasons for conducting the study.

Providing Background Information

The reader should be able to understand your topic and its importance. The length and detail of your background also depend on the degree to which you need to demonstrate your understanding of the topic. Paying close attention to the following questions will help you in writing the background information in your research paper:

  • Are there any theories, concepts, terms, and ideas that may be unfamiliar to the target audience and will require you to provide any additional explanation?
  • Any historical data that need to be shared in order to provide context on why the current issue emerged?
  • Are there any concepts that may have been borrowed from other disciplines that may be unfamiliar to the reader and need an explanation?

Is the research study unique for which additional explanation is needed? For instance, you may have used a completely new method

What Makes the Introduction Different from the Background?

Your introduction is different from your background in a number of ways.

  • The introduction contains preliminary data about your topic that the reader will most likely read , whereas the background clarifies the importance of the paper.
  • The background of your study discusses in depth about the topic, whereas the introduction only gives an overview.
  • The introduction should end with your research questions, aims, and objectives, whereas your background should not (except in some cases where your background is integrated into your introduction). For instance, the C.A.R.S. ( Creating a Research Space ) model, created by John Swales is based on his analysis of journal articles. This model attempts to explain and describe the organizational pattern of writing the introduction in social sciences.
Related: Ready with the background and searching for more information on journal ranking? Check this infographic on the SCImago Journal Rank today!

Points to Note

Your background should begin with defining a topic and audience. It is important that you identify which topic you need to review and what your audience already knows about the topic. You should proceed by searching and researching the relevant literature. In this case, it is advisable to keep track of the search terms you used and the articles that you downloaded. It is helpful to use one of the research paper management systems such as Papers, Mendeley, Evernote, or Sente. Next, it is helpful to take notes while reading. Be careful when copying quotes verbatim and make sure to put them in quotation marks and cite the sources. In addition, you should keep your background focused but balanced enough so that it is relevant to a broader audience. Aside from these, your background should be critical, consistent, and logically structured.

Writing the background of your study should not be an overly daunting task. Many guides that can help you organize your thoughts as you write the background. The background of the study is the key to introduce your audience to your research topic and should be done with strong knowledge and thoughtful writing.

The background of a research paper typically ranges from one to two paragraphs, summarizing the relevant literature and context of the study. It should be concise, providing enough information to contextualize the research problem and justify the need for the study. Journal instructions about any word count limits should be kept in mind while deciding on the length of the final content.

The background of a research paper provides the context and relevant literature to understand the research problem, while the introduction also introduces the specific research topic, states the research objectives, and outlines the scope of the study. The background focuses on the broader context, whereas the introduction focuses on the specific research project and its objectives.

When writing the background for a study, start by providing a brief overview of the research topic and its significance in the field. Then, highlight the gaps in existing knowledge or unresolved issues that the study aims to address. Finally, summarize the key findings from relevant literature to establish the context and rationale for conducting the research, emphasizing the need and importance of the study within the broader academic landscape.

The background in a research paper is crucial as it sets the stage for the study by providing essential context and rationale. It helps readers understand the significance of the research problem and its relevance in the broader field. By presenting relevant literature and highlighting gaps, the background justifies the need for the study, building a strong foundation for the research and enhancing its credibility.

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It is really educative. I love the workshop. It really motivated me into writing my first paper for publication.

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an interesting clue here, thanks.

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Hi Adam, we are glad to know that you found our article beneficial

The background of the study is the key to introduce your audience to YOUR research topic.

Awesome. Exactly what i was looking forwards to 😉

Hi Maryam, we are glad to know that you found our resource useful.

my understanding of ‘Background of study’ has been elevated.

Hi Peter, we are glad to know that our article has helped you get a better understanding of the background in a research paper.

thanks to give advanced information

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When i was studying it is very much hard for me to conduct a research study and know the background because my teacher in practical research is having a research so i make it now so that i will done my research

Very informative……….Thank you.

The confusion i had before, regarding an introduction and background to a research work is now a thing of the past. Thank you so much.

Thanks for your help…

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Hello, I am Benoît from Central African Republic. Right now I am writing down my research paper in order to get my master degree in British Literature. Thank you very much for posting all this information about the background of the study. I really appreciate. Thanks!

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Using Sources Correctly

Crediting and Citing Your Sources

a photograph of the stacks at the Old Library of Trinity College in Dublin

Now that you’ve just summarized or paraphrased or directly quoted a source, is there anything else you need to do with that source? Well, it turns out there is. There are some standard ways of using sources that let your readers know this material is from other texts rather than original ideas from your own brain. Following these guidelines also allows us, your readers, to locate those sources if we are interested in the topic and would like to know more about what they say.

 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Giving credit to the sources you used creating a text is important (and useful!) for several reasons.

  • It adds to your own credibility as an author by showing you have done appropriate research on your topic and approached your work ethically.
  • It gives credit to the original author and their work for the ideas you found to be useful, and in giving them credit it helps you avoid unintentionally plagiarizing their work.
  • It gives your readers additional resources (already curated by you in your research process!) that they can go to if they want to read further your topic.

What Does It Mean to Credit or Cite Your Sources?

For college-level work, this generally means two things: in-text or parenthetical citation and a “Works Cited” or “References” page. What these two things look like will be a little different for different types of classes (for example, it’s likely your writing class will use MLA—Modern Language Association—format, while a psychology class is more likely to use APA—American Psychological Association—format). The specific details required and the order in which they appear changes a little between different formats, but practicing one of them will give you a general idea of what most of them are looking for. All of the information we are looking at here is specific to MLA, which is the format you will use for your writing classes (and some other humanities classes).

Citing: Identifying In-Text Sources

Once you have brought source material into your writing (via quotation, summary, or paraphrase), your next task is to cite or identify it. This is essential because giving credit to the creator of the source material helps you avoid plagiarism. Identifying your sources also helps your reader understand which written content is from a source and which represents your ideas.

When you cite or identify source materials, you make it absolutely clear that the material was taken from a source. Note that if you don’t do that, your reader is left to assume the words are yours—and since that isn’t true, you will have committed plagiarism.

In-Text Citation

Every time you use an idea or language from a source in your text (so every time you summarize, paraphrase, or directly quote material from a source), you will want to add an in-text citation. Sometimes you can accomplish this simply by mentioning the author or title of a source in the body of your writing, but other times you’ll handle in-text citation differently, with a parenthetical citation. Parenthetical means that the citation appears in parentheses in the text of your essay.

A starting point for parenthetical citations is that they include the author’s last name and the page number where the borrowed information came from. For example, let’s say I’m using material from an article written by Lisa Smith. It’s in a physical magazine and spans pages 38-42. If, on page 41, she says something like, “While most studies have shown that Expo dry erase markers have superior lasting power, erasability, and color saturation than other brands on the market, their higher cost is a concern for some consumers,” I might incorporate that into a paper like this:

By most measurable standards, Expo markers are clearly the favored option (Smith 41).

However, you don’t always need both components (last name and page number) in the parenthetical citation. If I introduced the source material in the sentence above a little differently, introducing the author before delivering the material, I wouldn’t need to repeat the author’s name in that same sentence in the parenthetical citation. In that case, my sentence would look something like this: According to Lisa Smith, Expo markers are clearly the favored option by most measurable standards (41).

In this section, we’ll discuss three ways to cite or identify written source materials in your own writing.

1. Introduce the Author and/or the Title of the Source

By introducing the author or the material, you make it clear to the reader that what you’re talking about is from a source. Here’s an example of a quotation that is identified by introducing the author and the title of source (which are highlighted):

In the article, “Grooming Poodles for Fun and Profit,” Jonas Fogbottom explains , “Poodle grooming is a labor of love. It takes years of practice to be good at it, but once learned, it’s a fun and worthwhile career.”

Here’s an example of a paraphrase that is identified in the same way:

In the article, “Grooming Poodles for Fun and Profit,” Jonas Fogbottom says that although it takes a long time to become a skilled poodle groomer, it’s well worth the effort and leads to a good career.

Note that, in the example above, (1) if there are no page numbers to cite and (2) if the name of the author is signaled in the phrase that introduces the bit of source material, then there is no need for the parenthetical citation. This is an example of a situation where mentioning the author by name is the only in-text citation you’ll need. And sometimes, if the name of the author is unknown, then you might just mention the title of the article instead. It will be up to you, as a writer, to choose which method works best for your given situation.

The first time that you mention a source in your writing, you should always introduce the speaker and, if possible, the title of the source as well. Note that the speaker is the person responsible for stating the information that you’re citing and that this is not always the author of the text. For example, an author of an article might quote someone else, and you might quote or paraphrase that person.

Use the speaker’s full name (e.g. “According to Jonas Fogbottom . . .”) the first time you introduce them; if you mention them again in the paper, use their last name only (e.g. “Fogbottom goes on to discuss . . .”).

2. Use Linking or Attributive Language

Using linking language (sometimes called attributive language or signal phrases) simply means using words that show the reader you are still talking about a source that you just mentioned.

For example, you might use linking language that looks something like this:

  • The author also explains . . .
  • Fogbottom continues . . .
  • The article goes on to say . . .
  • The data set also demonstrates . . .

By using this kind of language, you make it clear to the reader that you’re still talking about a source. And while you’ll use this type of language throughout any researched essay whether you’re also using parenthetical citations or not, as we mentioned above, sometimes this linking language will be all you need for in-text citation.

Let’s look back at the last Fogbottom example from above, and imagine you wanted to add two more sentences from the same source. The linking language is highlighted :

In the article, “Grooming Poodles for Fun and Profit,” Jonas Fogbottom says that although it takes a long time to become a skilled poodle groomer, it’s well worth the effort and leads to a good career. Fogbottom goes on to explain how one is trained in the art of dog and poodle grooming. The article also gives a set of resources for people who want to know more about a dog grooming career.

Using the linking language makes it absolutely clear to your reader that you are still talking about a source.

3. Use a Parenthetical Citation

A parenthetical citation is a citation enclosed within parentheses.

the words "pro tip" in a speech bubble

The classic parenthetical citation includes the author’s name and, if there is one, a page number. To learn more about parenthetical citation and see some examples, see the Purdue OWL article on “ MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics ” (available from owl.english.purdue.edu).

Here’s an example :

(Fogbottom 16)

If there are two authors , list both (with a page number, if available):

(Smith and Jones 24)

If there are three or more authors , list the first author only and add “et al.”* (with a page number, if available):

(Smith et al. 62)

* et al means “and others.” If a text or source has three or more authors, MLA style has us just list the first one with et al .

But my source doesn’t have page numbers!

If you are using an electronic source or another kind of source with no page numbers, just leave the page number out:


If you’re quoting or paraphrasing someone who was cited by the author of one of your sources , then that’s handled a bit differently. For example, what if you quote Smith, but you found that quote in the article by Fogbottom. In this case, you should introduce the speaker (Smith) as described above, and then cite the source for the quote, like this:

(qtd. in Fogbottom)

But my source doesn’t have an author!

This happens sometimes. Many useful documents, like government publications, organizational reports, and surveys, don’t list their authors. On the other hand, sometimes no clearly listed author can be a red flag that a source is not entirely trustworthy or is not researched well enough to be a reliable source for you.

If you encounter a source with no author, do look for other indicators that it is a good (or poor) source—who published it, does it have an appropriate list of references, is it current information, is it unbiased?

If you determine that this source is an appropriate source to use, then, when you create your in-text citation for it, you will simply use the title of the source (article, chapter, graph, film, etc.) in the place where you would have used the author’s name. If the title is long, you should abbreviate by listing the first one or two words of it (with a page number, if available).

Let’s imagine you’re working with a newspaper article entitled, “What’s New in Technology,” enclosed in quotation marks to indicate that this is an article title, and with no known author . Here’s what that would look in a parenthetical citation:

(“What’s New” B6)

If there is no author and you’re working with an electronic article, use the first one or two words in your parenthetical citation, again, enclosed in quotation marks. Let’s imagine you’re working with a web article entitled, “Pie Baking for Fun and Profit” and with no author. Here’s what that would look in a parenthetical citation:

(“Pie Baking”)

The parenthetical citation should be added at the end of the sentence that contains the source material. Let’s go back to the Fogbottom example and see how a parenthetical citation would work:

“Poodle grooming is a labor of love. It takes years of practice to be good at it, but once learned, it’s a fun and worthwhile career” (Fogbottom).

Here’s what it would look like if we used it with a paraphrase instead of a quotation:

Although it takes a long time to become a skilled poodle groomer, it’s well worth the effort and leads to a good career (Fogbottom).

Note that the citation is placed at the end of the sentence; the period comes after the parentheses. Misplacing the period is one of the most common formatting errors made by students.

Using parenthetical citation makes it crystal clear that a sentence comes from source material. This is, by far, the easiest way to cite or identify your source materials, too.

If using parenthetical citations is easy, why would we bother with using introduction or linking language to identify sources?

Good question! There would be nothing wrong with only using parenthetical citations all the way through your writing—it would absolutely do the job of citing the material. But, it wouldn’t read smoothly and would feel somewhat rough because every time a parenthetical citation popped up, the reader would be “stopped” in place for a moment. Using a combination of introduction, linking language, and parenthetical citation, as needed, makes the writing smoother and easier to read. It also integrates the source material with the writer’s ideas. We call this synthesis, and it’s part of the craft of writing.

Works Cited Entries

At the end of texts that have drawn from existing sources, you will often find a Works Cited page. This page gives more information than the parenthetical citations do about what kinds of sources were referenced in this work and where they can be found if the reader would like to know more about them. These entries all follow a specific and consistent format so that it is easy for readers to find the information they are looking for and so the shape and type of that information is consistent no matter who is writing the entries.

Until recently, the MLA required a slightly different format for every type of source—an entry for a Youtube video required certain information that was different from an entry for a book that was different from an entry for an online article. The most recent version of MLA, though—MLA 8—has simplified this so there is just one format rather than many.

You can learn how to create works cited entries in MLA 8 format, and see an example, in the “ Creating a Works Cited Page ” appendix to this text.

The Word on College Reading and Writing Copyright © by Carol Burnell, Jaime Wood, Monique Babin, Susan Pesznecker, and Nicole Rosevear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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How to write a research paper

How to write a research paper

Research papers are commonly assigned in both high school and college classes. In this post, we discuss how to write a research paper from start to finish. We break down the assignment’s main components and offer strategies for completing it successfully and on time.

What is a research paper?

Similarly to an argumentative essay , a research paper makes an argument about a topic and backs up that claim with evidence. However, a research paper also attempts to say something new about a subject and supports its argument through original research and perspectives.

Research papers are generally longer than other types of academic essays and contain additional components, like a literature review. They require you to demonstrate both strong writing skills and satisfactory research skills. As a result, your instructor may break down a research paper project into multiple sections.

Research paper components

A typical research paper will contain several components that can be written together or separately. These include an introduction, thesis statement, signposts, literature review, body (evidence and analysis), and conclusion.

If you’ve conducted original research for your paper, and depending on your subject, your paper may also include methods, results, and discussion sections. Below, we discuss the various components of a research paper in more depth.


An introduction provides readers with an overview of your topic and any background information that they need to know in order to understand the context. It generally concludes with an explicit statement of your position on the topic, which is known as your thesis statement.

Depending on the type of research paper that you’re writing, you may also include a brief state-of-the-field in your introduction. You might also put that in a separate section, called a “literature review.”

The thesis statement

At the end of the introduction, you’ll include your thesis statement, a direct statement of the main argument of your paper. This should preferably take the the form of "I argue that..." or "This paper argues that..." or a similar phrase. Although it’s called a thesis statement , your thesis can be more than one sentence.

Literature review

A literature review summarizes, and analyzes, relevant scholarly research on your topic. In particular, a literature review identifies gaps in the current research that your argument will address. It can be part of the introduction (as a state-of-the-field) or in its own section.

At some point before you move into the body of your paper, you should include a brief outline or "signposts" of what the rest of the paper will cover. These are also known as “forecasting statements.” You may want to use language like, “in what follows,” or “in the rest of the paper,” to signal that you are describing what you’ll do in the remainder of the paper.

Signposts are important because they help readers understand what you are trying to accomplish in your paper. They also provide you with some built-in accountability: when you finish writing, you can look back at your signposts and determine if you’ve done what you’ve said you were going to do in your introduction.

Evidence and analysis

Also known as the body of a research paper, the evidence and analysis section includes your original research and perspectives. This is where you work on actually proving your thesis statement by presenting research and analyzing it.

If you are doing scientific or social scientific research, this part of your paper may also discuss your methods and the results of any original research that you undertook for the project. To understand what sections the body of your research paper needs to include, you should consult the assignment guidelines or ask your instructor.

Finally, your research paper conclusion synthesizes the main claims of your paper. While you shouldn’t introduce new information in your conclusion, you can provide recommendations for further research or point to the broader implications of the evidence and analysis that you presented in your paper.

Steps for writing a research paper

Because of its multiple components, it’s best to break down a research paper assignment into a series of steps.

1. Read the assignment guidelines carefully

Before you can start working on your research paper, you need to be sure that you fully understand the assignment and how you will be graded. Read (and re-read) the assignment guidelines carefully; highlight, or make notes, on aspects that are important.

If you don’t understand something, ask your instructor for clarification as soon as possible.

2. Make a plan for research, writing, and revising

To successfully complete a research paper, you need to plan out enough time for research, writing, and revision. Set aside time for each step of the process—including the planning stage!

You should also schedule some flexibility into your plan, in case your topic doesn’t work out.

3. Choose a research topic

If your instructor allows you to choose your own topic, you’ll want to do that sooner, rather than later. Use your class notes, or your own interests, to generate topic ideas.

Then, narrow down possibilities based on each topic’s feasibility: is it a topic that you can manage in the allotted time? Is it an appropriate topic for the length of the paper? Is the topic actually arguable?

4. Conduct preliminary research

To help you finalize your topic, conduct some preliminary research . Do some initial searches in an academic database, or Google Scholar, using keywords related to your subject. When you find a relevant peer-reviewed source , scan its bibliography and associated keywords to help you locate additional sources.

Consider scheduling a research consultation with a librarian to help you find some preliminary sources.

5. Develop a thesis statement

Once you’ve conducted some preliminary research and determined the feasibility of your topic, it’s time to develop your thesis statement. Your thesis statement should directly state the main argument of your paper.

A good thesis should be concise and arguable. A sentence like, “I argue that the sky is blue,” is not actually arguable, so it could not serve as a thesis statement.

6. Create an outline

A research paper outline helps you organize your main points. Use your outline to stay on track or to collect pieces of evidence that you plan to use in your research paper draft.

7. Read through your sources

It’s easy to continue collecting sources that you’d like to use in your paper, but at some point you’ll need to stop doing research and actually read through the scholarly sources that you’ve found.

As you read, take notes, make highlights, and keep track of any quotes that you’d like to integrate into your research paper. You can also paraphrase research that you’d like to incorporate into your evidence directly in your outline.

8. Write your first draft

There is no right or wrong way to complete a first draft—the important thing is to start writing. Most writers begin by composing the introduction, but you can also start with the body of your paper. Some writers find it easier to write the central sections first, then build out the introduction and conclusion based on the evidence and analysis.

If you’re required to complete a first draft as part of a research paper assignment, you may only need to write a certain number of pages. However, it’s often in your best interest to get as much written as possible. This saves you time later and allows you to benefit from more extensive revision.

9. Revise your first draft

At this point in your research and writing process, you may want to do some revising. To begin with, it’s important to understand the differences between revising and proofreading . When you proofread, you read over your paper for surface-level errors like typos. Revision includes substantive changes to your paper’s structure, argumentation, and organization.

10. Work on a second draft

After you’ve revised your first draft, you can start on your second draft. Even if your instructor does not require you to complete multiple drafts, you should plan to work on at least two drafts. This will help you submit a stronger paper.

In your second draft, you’ll want to focus on meeting the word or page limit, but also on expanding your argument, evidence, and conclusions.

11. Revise and proofread your paper

Once you’ve completed your draft, you’ll want to revise and proofread your paper. Again, revision and proofreading are not the same.

At this point, you should ensure that you’ve fully argued what you set out to prove in your paper. You should make sure that all of your claims are backed up by sufficient evidence and that your paper is organized in a way that allows a reader to follow your argument.

12. Check your citations

Before you can turn your paper in, you’ll definitely want to make sure that your citations are correct and that your bibliography or works cited page follows the guidelines for the citation style that you’re required to use.

You should also look out for any places in your paper where you need to include an in-text or parenthetical citation for borrowed material. Doing so helps you avoid plagiarism .

BibGuru’s citation generator allows you to create accurate citations and bibliographies with just one click. You can cite sources in MLA , APA , or any other citation style . Use BibGuru to efficiently create citations for your research paper.

Tips for writing a research paper

Plan enough time for research, writing, and revision.

Be sure that you plan adequate time for research (choosing a topic, finding sources, and reading scholarly sources), writing (composing each component of the research paper), and revision.

Even if you’re not required to write multiple drafts or participate in revision workshops, you should still plan time to complete a second draft and revise your paper.

Meet with a librarian

Consider meeting with a librarian to help with narrowing or broadening a topic, finding sources, and creating citations.

In college and university libraries, librarians often specialize in certain subjects. Depending on your topic, you can schedule a research consultation with a specialist who can help you navigate resources on your specific topic.

Try to cite while you write

Many writers wait until the last minute to create citations and bibliographies. Doing so is time consuming and often confusing. Instead, try to create citations as you go—this will save you time and ensure that you’re citing all of the borrowed material that you’re using in your research paper.

The easiest way to cite while you write is to use BibGuru’s citation generator browser extension for Chrome or Edge . The extension automatically cites online sources and adds them to a bibliography in your preferred citation style.

Be clear, concise, concrete, and correct in your writing

An academic paper does not need to be wordy or filled with jargon. Instead, strive to be clear, concise, concrete, and correct as you write your research paper. Avoid unnecessary words and try to include only one main idea per sentence.

Use solid transition words

Quality transitions help readers follow along as you make your argument and present your evidence and analysis. Use transition words to clearly signal when you are making a new point, agreeing or disagreeing with previous insights, or expanding upon a claim.

Frequently Asked Questions about how to write a research paper

Before you begin your research paper, be sure that you fully understand the assignment directions. Next, you might consider creating an outline for your paper. When it comes to writing, it’s best to just dive right in!

You can break down a research paper assignment into these steps:

A typical research paper will contain several components that can be written together or separately. These include an introduction, thesis statement, signposts (or forecasting statements), literature review, body (evidence and analysis), and conclusion.

The length of your research paper will depend on the assignment’s guidelines, the level of the course, and the subject of your research.

Similarly to an argumentative essay , a research paper makes an argument about a topic and backs up that claim with evidence. However, a research paper also attempts to say something new about a subject and supports the argument through original research and perspectives.

How to write a college essay outline

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Chapter 9.Citations and Referencing

9 .1  supporting your ideas, learning objectives.

  • Evaluate when to use primary or secondary sources for support
  • Explain the two forms of plagiarism and how to avoid them
  • Explain the importance of academic integrity and the potential consequences of not abiding by this

In this chapter you are going to learn more about compiling references and citations. You will also learn strategies for handling some of the more challenging aspects of writing a research paper, such as integrating material from your sources, citing information correctly, and avoiding any misuse of your sources. The first section of this chapter will introduce you to broad concepts associated with adding support to your ideas and providing documentation—citations and references—when you use sources in your papers.

Using Primary and Secondary Research

As you write your draft, be mindful of how you are using primary and secondary source material to support your points. Recall that primary sources present firsthand information. Secondary sources are one step removed from primary sources. They present a writer’s analysis or interpretation of primary source materials. How you balance primary and secondary source material in your paper will depend on the topic and assignment.

Using Primary Sources Effectively

Some types of research papers must use primary sources extensively to achieve their purpose. Any paper that analyzes a primary text or presents the writer’s own experimental research falls in this category. Here are a few examples:

A paper for a literature course analyzing several poems by Emily Dickinson

A paper for a political science course comparing televised speeches delivered by two candidates for prime minister

A paper for a communications course discussing gender bias in television commercials

A paper for a business administration course that discusses the results of a survey the writer conducted with local businesses to gather information about their work from home and flextime policies

A paper for an elementary education course that discusses the results of an experiment the writer conducted to compare the effectiveness of two different methods of mathematics instruction

For these types of papers, primary research is the main focus. If you are writing about a work (including non-print works, such as a movie or a painting), it is crucial to gather information and ideas from the original work, rather than rely solely on others’ interpretations. And, of course, if you take the time to design and conduct your own field research, such as a survey, a series of interviews, or an experiment, you will want to discuss it in detail. For example, the interviews may provide interesting responses that you want to share with your reader.

Using Secondary Sources Effectively

For some assignments, it makes sense to rely more on secondary sources than primary sources. If you are not analyzing a text or conducting your own field research, you will need to use secondary sources extensively.

As much as possible, use secondary sources that are closely linked to primary research, such as a journal article presenting the results of the authors’ scientific study or a book that cites interviews and case studies. These sources are more reliable and add more value to your paper than sources that are further removed from primary research. For instance, a popular magazine article on junk food addiction might be several steps removed from the original scientific study on which it is loosely based. As a result, the article may distort, sensationalize, or misinterpret the scientists’ findings.

Even if your paper is largely based on primary sources, you may use secondary sources to develop your ideas. For instance, an analysis of Alfred Hitchcock’s films would focus on the films themselves as a primary source, but might also cite commentary from critics. A paper that presents an original experiment would include some discussion of similar prior research in the field.

Jorge, who is preparing his essay on low-carbohydrate diets, knew he did not have the time, resources, or experience needed to conduct original experimental research for his paper. Because he was relying on secondary sources to support his ideas, he made a point of citing sources that were not far removed from primary research.

Some sources could be considered primary or secondary sources, depending on the writer’s purpose for using them. For instance, if a writer’s purpose is to inform readers about how the American No Child Left Behind legislation has affected elementary education in the United States, a  Time  magazine article on the subject would be a secondary source. However, suppose the writer’s purpose is to analyze how the news media has portrayed the effects of the No Child Left Behind legislation. In that case, articles about the legislation in news magazines like  Time ,  Newsweek , and  US News & World Report  would be primary sources. They provide firsthand examples of the media coverage the writer is analyzing.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Your research paper presents your thinking about a topic, supported and developed by other people’s ideas and information. It is crucial to always distinguish between the two—as you conduct research, as you plan your paper, and as you write. Failure to do so can lead to plagiarism.

Intentional and Accidental Plagiarism

Plagiarism  is the act of misrepresenting someone else’s work as your own. Sometimes a writer plagiarizes work on purpose—for instance, by copying and pasting or purchasing an essay from a website and submitting it as original course work. This often happens because the person has not managed his or her time and has left the paper to the last minute or has struggled with the writing process or the topic. Any of these can lead to desperation and cause the writer to just take someone else’s ideas and take credit for them.

In other cases, a writer may commit accidental plagiarism due to carelessness, haste, or misunderstanding. For instance, a writer may be unable to provide a complete, accurate citation because of neglecting to record bibliographical information. A writer may cut and paste a passage from a website into her paper and later forget where the material came from. A writer who procrastinates may rush through a draft, which easily leads to sloppy paraphrasing and inaccurate quotations. Any of these actions can create the appearance of plagiarism and lead to negative consequences.

Carefully organizing your time and notes is the best guard against these forms of plagiarism. Maintain a detailed working reference list and thorough notes throughout the research process. Check original sources again to clear up any uncertainties. Allow plenty of time for writing your draft so there is no temptation to cut corners.

To avoid unintentional/accidental plagiarism, follow these guidelines:

  • Understand what types of information must be cited.
  • Understand what constitutes fair dealing of a source.
  • Keep source materials and notes carefully organized.
  • Follow guidelines for summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting sources.

Academic Integrity

The concepts and strategies discussed in this section connect to a larger issue—academic integrity. You maintain your integrity as a member of an academic community by representing your work and others’ work honestly and by using other people’s work only in legitimately accepted ways. It is a point of honour taken seriously in every academic discipline and career field.

Academic integrity violations have serious educational and professional consequences. Even when cheating and plagiarism go undetected, they still result in a student’s failure to learn necessary research and writing skills. Students who are found guilty of academic integrity violations face consequences ranging from a failing grade to expulsion. Employees may be fired for plagiarism and do irreparable damage to their professional reputation. In short, it is never worth the risk.

9.2 Documenting Source Material

  • Identify when to summarize, paraphrase, and directly quote information from research sources
  • Identify when citations are needed
  • Introduce sources
  • Throughout the writing process, be scrupulous about documenting information taken from sources. The purpose of doing so is twofold:
  • To give credit to other writers or researchers for their ideas
  • To allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired

You will cite sources within the body of your paper and at the end of the paper in your references section. For this assignment, you will use the citation format used by the American Psychological Association (also known as APA style). Within this course and for all of your courses at JIBC, you will need to follow the JIBC APA Reference Guide when formatting citations and references within your papers.

This section covers the nitty-gritty details of in-text citations. You will learn how to format citations for different types of source materials, whether you are citing brief quotations, paraphrasing ideas, or quoting longer passages. You will also learn techniques you can use to introduce quoted and paraphrased material effectively. Keep this section handy as a reference to consult while writing the body of your paper.

Formatting Cited Material: The Basics

In-text citations usually provide the name of the author(s) and the year the source was published. For direct quotations, the page number must also be included. Use past tense verbs when introducing a quote: for example, “Smith found…,” not “Smith finds.…”

Citing Sources in the Body of Your Paper

In – text citations  document your sources within the body of your paper. These include two vital pieces of information: the author’s name and the year the source material was published. When quoting a print source, also include in the citation the page number where the quoted material originally appears. The page number follows the year in the in-text citation. Page numbers are necessary only when content has been directly quoted, not when it has been summarized or paraphrased.

Using Source Material in Your Paper

One of the challenges of writing a research paper is successfully integrating your ideas with material from your sources. Your paper must explain what you think, or it will read like a disconnected string of facts and quotations. However, you also need to support your ideas with research, or they will seem insubstantial. How do you strike the right balance?

In your essay, the introduction and conclusion function like the frame around a picture. They define and limit your topic and place your research in context. In the body paragraphs of your paper, you need to integrate ideas carefully at the paragraph level and at the sentence level. You will use topic sentences in your paragraphs to make sure readers understand the significance of any facts, details, or quotations you cite. You will also include sentences that transition between ideas from your research, either within a paragraph or between paragraphs. At the sentence level, you will need to think carefully about how you introduce paraphrased and quoted material.

Earlier you learned about summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting when taking notes. In the next few sections, you will learn how to use these techniques in the body of your paper to weave in source material to support your ideas.

Summarizing Sources

Look back at Section 3.2: Summarizing to refresh your memory of how Jorge summarized the article. As was mentioned there, when you are summarizing, you are focusing on identifying and sharing the main elements of a source. This is when you paraphrase the concepts and put them in your own words, demonstrating you have a firm understanding of the concepts presented and are able to incorporate them into your own paper.

Within a paragraph, this information may appear as part of your introduction to the material or as a parenthetical citation at the end of a sentence. Read the examples that follow.

Leibowitz (2008) found that low-carbohydrate diets often helped subjects with Type II diabetes maintain a healthy weight and control blood sugar levels.

The introduction to the source material (the attributive tag ) includes the author’s name followed by the year of publication in parentheses.

Low-carbohydrate diets often help subjects with Type II diabetes maintain a healthy weight and control blood sugar levels (Leibowitz, 2008).

The parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence includes the author’s name, a comma, and the year the source was published. The period at the end of the sentence comes after the parentheses.

Formatting Paraphrased and Summarized Material

When you paraphrase or summarize ideas from a source, you follow the same guidelines previously provided, except that you are not required to provide the page number where the ideas are located. If you are summing up the main findings of a research article, simply providing the author’s name and publication year may suffice, but if you are paraphrasing a more specific idea, consider including the page number.

Read the following examples.

Chang (2008) pointed out that weight-bearing exercise has many potential benefits for women.

Here, the writer is summarizing a major idea that recurs throughout the source material. No page reference is needed.

Chang (2008) found that weight-bearing exercise could help women maintain or even increase bone density through middle age and beyond, reducing the likelihood that they will develop osteoporosis in later life (p. 86).

Although the writer is not directly quoting the source, this passage paraphrases a specific detail, so the writer chose to include the page number where the information is located.

Introducing Cited Material Effectively

Including an introductory phrase in your text, such as “Jackson wrote” or “Copeland found,” often helps you integrate source material smoothly. This citation technique also helps convey that you are actively engaged with your source material. Unfortunately, during the process of writing your research paper, it is easy to fall into a rut and use the same few dull verbs repeatedly, such as “Jones said,” “Smith stated,” and so on.

Punch up your writing by using strong verbs that help your reader understand how the source material presents ideas. There is a world of difference between an author who “suggests” and one who “claims,” one who “questions” and one who “criticizes.” You do not need to consult your thesaurus every time you cite a source, but do think about which verbs will accurately represent the ideas and make your writing more engaging. T able 9.1 Strong Verbs for Introducing Cited Material shows some possibilities.

Table 9.1 Strong Verbs for Introducing Cited Material

When to Cite

Any idea or fact taken from an outside source must be cited, in both the body of your paper and the reference s . The only exceptions are facts or general statements that are common knowledge. Common knowledge facts or general statements are commonly supported by and found in multiple sources. For example, a writer would not need to cite the statement that most breads, pastas, and cereals are high in carbohydrates; this is well known and well documented. However, if a writer explained in detail the differences among the chemical structures of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, a citation would be necessary. When in doubt, cite!

Fair Dealing

In recent years, issues related to the fair use of sources have been prevalent in popular culture. Recording artists, for example, may disagree about the extent to which one has the right to sample another’s music. For academic purposes, however, the guidelines for fair dealing are reasonably straightforward.

Writers may quote from or paraphrase material from previously published works without formally obtaining the copyright holder’s permission.  Fair  dealing in copyright law allows a writer to legitimately use brief excerpts from source material to support and develop his or her own ideas. For instance, a columnist may excerpt a few sentences from a novel when writing a book review. However, quoting or paraphrasing another’s work excessively, to the extent that large sections of the writing are unoriginal, is not fair dealing.

As he worked on his draft, Jorge was careful to cite his sources correctly and not to rely excessively on any one source. Occasionally, however, he caught himself quoting a source at great length. In those instances, he highlighted the paragraph in question so that he could go back to it later and revise. Read the example, along with Jorge’s revision.

Heinz (2009) found that “subjects in the low-carbohydrate group (30% carbohydrates; 40% protein, 30% fat) had a mean weight loss of 10 kg (22 lbs) over a four-month period.” These results were “noticeably better than results for subjects on a low-fat diet (45% carbohydrates, 35% protein, 20% fat)” whose average weight loss was only “7 kg (15.4 lbs) in the same period.” From this, it can be concluded that “low-carbohydrate diets obtain more rapid results.” Other researchers agree that “at least in the short term, patients following low-carbohydrate diets enjoy greater success” than those who follow alternative plans (Johnson & Crowe, 2010).

Self – Practice EXERCISE 9.1

Paraphrasing practice is always a good thing! Take a look at Jorge’s “summary” above. Notice he is not really summarizing but rather quoting. While this is technically not plagiarism, it does not show any processing of the information from the original source. It is just copying and pasting; the end result seems very chopp y , and a lot of the information can be generalized.

For this exercise, try to rewrite Jorge’s summary in your own words.


After reviewing the paragraph, Jorge realized that he had drifted into unoriginal writing. Most of the paragraph was taken verbatim from a single article. Although Jorge had enclosed the material in quotation marks, he knew it was not an appropriate way to use the research in his paper.

Low-carbohydrate diets may indeed be superior to other diet plans for short-term weight loss. In a study comparing low-carbohydrate diets and low-fat diets, Heinz (2009) found that subjects who followed a low-carbohydrate plan (30% of total calories) for four months lost, on average, about 3 kilograms more than subjects who followed a low-fat diet for the same time. Heinz concluded that these plans yield quick results, an idea supported by a similar study conducted by Johnson and Crowe (2010). What remains to be seen, however, is whether this initial success can be sustained for longer periods.

As Jorge revised the paragraph, he realized he did not need to quote these sources directly. Instead, he paraphrased their most important findings. He also made sure to include a topic sentence stating the main idea of the paragraph and a concluding sentence that transitioned to the next major topic in his essay.

It is extremely important to remember that even though you are summarizing and paraphrasing from another source—not quoting—you must still include a citation, including the last name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.

Additionally, marijuana burning creates toxins; this strategy is counterproductive, and there are numerous individual hazards associated with using the plant as medicine (Ogborne, Smart, & Adlaf, 2000).

Example taken from:

Writing Commons. (2014, September). Open Text.Retrieved from http://writingcommons.org/format/apa/675-block-quotations-apa

Writing at Work

It is important to accurately represent a colleague’s ideas or communications in the workplace. When writing professional or academic papers, be mindful of how the words you use to describe someone’s tone or ideas carry certain connotations. Do not say a source “argues” a particular point unless an argument is, in fact, presented. Use lively language, but avoid language that is emotionally charged. Doing so will ensure you have represented your colleague’s words in an authentic and accurate way.

Key Takeaways

  • An effective research paper focuses on the writer’s ideas. The introduction and conclusion present and revisit the writer’s thesis. The body of the paper develops the thesis and related points with information from research.
  • Ideas and information taken from outside sources must be cited in the body of the paper and in the references section.
  • Material taken from sources should be used to develop the writer’s ideas. Summarizing and paraphrasing are usually most effective for this purpose.
  • A summary concisely restates the main ideas of a source in the writer’s own words.
  • A paraphrase restates ideas from a source using the writer’s own words and sentence structures.
  • Direct quotations should be used sparingly. Ellipses and brackets must be used to indicate words that are omitted or changed for conciseness or grammatical correctness.
  • Always represent material from outside sources accurately.
  • Plagiarism has serious academic and professional consequences. To avoid accidental plagiarism, keep research materials organized, understand guidelines for fair dealing and appropriate citation of sources, and review the paper to make sure these guidelines are followed.

9.3 Making Your Quotes Fit

  • Apply guidelines for citing sources within the body of the paper
  • Evaluating when to use a short or long quote
  • Incorporate short quotes with correct APA formatting
  • Incorporate long quotations with correct APA formatting

So, now you may have decided after much critical thought, that you definitely have found the most amazing, well-suited quote that cannot be paraphrased, and you want to incorporate that quote into your paper. There are different ways to do this depending on how long the quote is; there are also a number of formatting requirements you need to apply.

Quoting Sources Directly

Most of the time, you will summarize or paraphrase source material instead of quoting directly. Doing so shows that you understand your research well enough to write about it confidently in your own words. However, direct quotes can be powerful when used sparingly and with purpose.

Quoting directly can sometimes help you make a point in a colourful way. If an author’s words are especially vivid, memorable, or well phrased, quoting them may help hold your reader’s interest. Direct quotations from an interviewee or an eyewitness may help you personalize an issue for readers. Also, when you analyze primary sources, such as a historical speech or a work of literature, quoting extensively is often necessary to illustrate your points. These are valid reasons to use quotations.

Less-experienced writers, however, sometimes overuse direct quotations in a research paper because it seems easier than paraphrasing. At best, this reduces the effectiveness of the quotations. At worst, it results in a paper that seems haphazardly pasted together from outside sources. Use quotations sparingly for greater impact .

When you do choose to quote directly from a source, follow these guidelines:

Only use a quote when the original writer has phrased a statement so perfectly that you do not believe you could rephrase it any better without getting away from the writer’s point.

Make sure you have transcribed the original statement accurately.

Represent the author’s ideas honestly. Quote enough of the original text to reflect the author’s point accurately.

Use an attributive tag (e.g., “According to Marshall (2013)….”) to lead into the quote and provide a citation at the same time.

Never use a standalone quotation. Always integrate the quoted material into your own sentence.

Make sure any omissions or changed words do not alter the meaning of the original text. Omit or replace words only when absolutely necessary to shorten the text or to make it grammatically correct within your sentence.

Use ellipses (3) […] if you need to omit a word or phrase; use (4) [….] when you are removing a section—maybe a complete sentence—that would end in a period. This shows your reader that you have critically and thoroughly examined the contents of this quote and have chosen only the most important and relevant information.

Use brackets [ ] if you need to replace a word or phrase or if you need to change the verb tense.

Use [ sic ] after something in the quote that is grammatically incorrect or spelled incorrectly. This shows your reader that the mistake is in the original, not your writing.

Use double quotation marks [“ ”] when quoting and use single quotation marks [‘ ’] when you include a quote within a quote (i.e., if you quote a passage that already includes a quote, you need to change the double quotation marks in the original to single marks, and add double quotations marks around your entire quote).

Remember to include correctly formatted citations that follow the JIBC APA Reference Guide.

Jorge interviewed a dietitian as part of his research, and he decided to quote her words in his paper. Read an excerpt from the interview and Jorge’s use of it, which follows.

Personally, I don’t really buy into all of the hype about low-carbohydrate miracle diets like Atkins and so on. Sure, for some people, they are great, but for most, any sensible eating and exercise plan would work just as well.

Registered dietitian Dana Kwon (2010) admits, “Personally, I don’t really buy into all of the hype.… Sure, for some people, [low carbohydrate diets] are great, but for most, any sensible eating and exercise plan would work just as well.”

Notice how Jorge smoothly integrated the quoted material by starting the sentence with an introductory phrase. His use of an ellipsis and brackets did not change the source’s meaning.

Short v ersus Long Quotations

Remember, what you write in essays should be primarily your own words; your instructors want to know what your ideas are and for you to demonstrate your own critical thinking. This means you should only use the ideas of experts in the form of quotes to support your ideas . A paper that consists of mostly quotes pieced together does not demonstrate original thought but rather that you are good at cutting and pasting. Therefore, you should strive to state your ideas, develop them thoroughly, and then insert a supporting quote, and only if necessary. Focus on paraphrasing and integrating and blending those external sources into your own ideas (giving the original author credit by using a citation, of course). When deciding to use any quotation as opposed to paraphrasing, you need to make sure the quote is a statement that the original author has worded so beautifully it would be less effective if you changed it into your own words. When you find something you would like to include verbatim (word for word) from a source, you need to decide if you should include the whole paragraph or section, or a smaller part. Sometimes, you may choose to use a longer quote but remove any unnecessary words. You would then use ellipses to show what content you have removed. The following examples show how this is done.

According to Marshall (2010), “Before the creation of organized governmental policing agencies, it was citizens possessing firearms who monitored and maintained the peace” (p. 712).

With Ellipses

According to Marshall (2010), “Before the creation of organized governmental policing agencies, … citizens possessing firearms … monitored and maintained the peace” (p. 712).

Short Quotations

A short quote can be as one word or a phrase or a complete sentence as long as three lines of text (again, removing any unnecessary words). Generally, a short quotation is one that is fewer than 40 words. Whether you use a complete sentence or only part of one, you need to make sure it blends in perfectly with your own sentence or paragraph. For example, if your paragraph is written in the present tense but the quote is in the past, you will need to change the verb, so it will fit into your writing. (You will read about on this shortly.) Using an attributive tag is another way to help incorporate your quote more fluidly. An attributive tag is a phrase that shows your reader you got the information from a source, and you are giving the author attribution or credit for his or her ideas or words. Using an attributive tag allows you to provide a citation at the same time as helping integrate the quote more smoothly into your work.

In the example above, the attributive tag (with citation) is underlined; this statement is giving Marshall credit for his own words and ideas. You should note that this short quotation is a complete sentence taken from Marshall’s bigger document, which is why the first word, Before , is capitalized. If you were to include only a portion of that sentence, perhaps excerpting from the middle of it, you would not start the quote with a capital.

Marshall (2010) argues that vigilantism in the Wild West was committed by “citizens possessing firearms who monitored and maintained the peace” (p. 712).

In this example, notice how the student has only used a portion of the sentence, so did not need to include the capital.

If you do not use an attributive tag because the quote already fits smoothly into your sentence, you need to include the author’s name after the sentence in parentheses with the date and page number.

Vigilantism in the Wild West was committed by “citizens possessing firearms who monitored and maintained the peace” (Marshall, 2010, p. 712).

Formatting Short Quotations

For short quotations, use quotation marks to indicate where the quoted material begins and ends, and cite the name of the author(s), the year of publication, and the page number where the quotation appears in your source. Remember to include commas to separate elements within the parenthetical citation. Also, avoid redundancy. If you name the author(s) in your sentence, do not repeat the name(s) in your parenthetical citation. Review following the examples of different ways to cite direct quotations.

Chang (2008) emphasized that “engaging in weight-bearing exercise consistently is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (p. 49).

The author’s name can be included in the body of the sentence or in the parenthetical citation. Note that when a parenthetical citation appears at the end of the sentence, it comes  after  the closing quotation marks and  before  the period. The elements within parentheses are separated by commas.

Weight Training for Women  (Chang, 2008) claimed that “engaging in weight-bearing exercise consistently is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (p. 49).

Weight Training for Women  claimed that “engaging in weight-bearing exercise consistently is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (Chang, 2008, p. 49).

Including the title of a source is optional.

In Chang’s 2008 text  Weight Training for Women , she asserts, “Engaging in weight-bearing exercise is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (p. 49).

The author’s name, the date, and the title may appear in the body of the text. Include the page number in the parenthetical citation. Also, notice the use of the verb  asserts  to introduce the direct quotation.

“Engaging in weight-bearing exercise,” Chang asserts, “is one of the single best things women can do to maintain good health” (2008, p. 49).

You may begin a sentence with the direct quotation and add the author’s name and a strong verb before continuing the quotation.

Although APA style guidelines do not require writers to provide page numbers for material that is not directly quoted, your instructor may wish you to do so when possible. Check with your instructor about his or her preferences.

Long (Block) Quotations

Long quotations should be used even more sparingly than shorter ones. Long quotations can range in length from four to seven or eight lines (40 words or more, and should never be as long as a page. There are two reasons for this: First, by using a long quote, you are essentially letting the original author do all the thinking for you; remember that your audience wants to see your ideas, not someone else’s. Second, unless all the information and every word in the long quote is essential and could not be paraphrased (which is highly doubtful with a long passage), you are not showing your audience you have processed or evaluated the importance of the source’s critical information and weeded out the unnecessary information. If you believe you have found the perfect paragraph to support your ideas, and you decide you really want or need to use the long quote, see if you can shorten it by removing unnecessary words or complete sentences and put ellipses in their place. This will again show your reader that you have put a lot of thought into the use of the quote and that you have included it just because you did not want to do any thinking.

Be wary of quoting from sources at length. Remember, your ideas should drive the paper, and quotations should be used to support and enhance your points. Make sure any lengthy quotations that you include serve a clear purpose. Generally, no more than 10 to 15 percent of a paper should consist of quoted material.

Long Quotations: How to Make T hem Fit

As with short quotations, you need to make sure long quotations fit into your writing. To introduce a long quote, you need to include a stem (this can include an attributive tag) followed by a colon (:). The stem is underlined in the example below.

Marshall uses the example of towns in the Wild West to explain that:

Much of the population—especially younger males—frequently engaged in violence by participating in saloon fights and shootouts and gun fights. [However,] crimes committed by females, the elderly, or the infirm were rare occasions were much rarer because of those individuals being less likely to frequent such drinking establishments. (2010, p. 725)

In example, you can see the stem clearly introduces the quote in a grammatically correct way, leading into the quote fluidly.

Formatting Longer Quotations

When you quote a longer passage from a source—40 words or more—you need to use a different format to set off the quoted material. Instead of using quotation marks, create a  block quotation  by starting the quotation on a new line and indented five spaces from the margin. Note that in this case, the parenthetical citation comes  after  the period that ends the sentence. If the passage continues into a second paragraph, indent a full tab (five spaces) again in the first line of the second paragraph. Here is an example:

In recent years, many writers within the fitness industry have emphasized the ways in which women can benefit from weight-bearing exercise, such as weightlifting, karate, dancing, stair climbing, hiking, and jogging. Chang (2008) found that engaging in weight-bearing exercise regularly significantly reduces women’s risk of developing osteoporosis. Additionally, these exercises help women maintain muscle mass and overall strength, and many common forms of weight bearing exercise, such as brisk walking or stair climbing, also provide noticeable cardiovascular benefits.

It is important to note that swimming cannot be considered a weight-bearing exercise, since the water supports and cushions the swimmer. That doesn’t mean swimming isn’t great exercise, but it should be considered one part of an integrated fitness program. (p. 93)

Self – Practice EXERCISE 9.2

Look at the long block quotation example above. Identify four differences between how it is formatt ed and how you would format a short quotation.


To format a long quote, you need to remember the following:

You may want to single space the quote, but not the main part of your essay. This will allow the long block quotation to stand out even more.

Indent on both sides of the quote; you can use left or full justification.

Do not use quotation marks; they are unnecessary because the spacing and indenting (and citation) will tell your reader this is a quote.

Do not put the quote in italics.

Include the end period (.) before the citation. See the example above.

9.4 Citation Guidelines

  • Apply APA guidelines for citing sources within the body of the paper for various source types

In – Text Citations

Throughout the body of your paper, you must include a citation whenever you quote or paraphrase material from your research sources. The purpose of citations is twofold: to give credit to others for their ideas and to allow your reader to follow up and learn more about the topic if desired. Your in-text citations provide basic information about your source; you will provide more detailed information for each source you cite in text in the references section. (Refer to your JIBC APA Reference Guide for guidance on compose citation—for quotes or paraphrasing—under the referencing example for each type of source.)

In-text citations must provide the name of the author or authors and the year the source was published. (When a given source does not list an individual author, you may provide the source title or the name of the organization that published the material instead.) When directly quoting a source, you must include the page number where the quote appears in the work being cited. This information may be included within the sentence or in a parenthetical reference at the end of the sentence, as in these examples.

Epstein (2010) points out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Here, the writer names the source author when introducing the quote and provides the publication date in parentheses after the author’s name. The page number appears in parentheses  after  the closing quotation marks and  before the period that ends the sentence.

Addiction researchers caution that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (Epstein, 2010, p. 137).

Here, the writer provides a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence that includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number separated by commas. Again, the parenthetical citation is placed  after  the closing quotation marks and  before  the period at the end of the sentence.

As noted in the book  Junk Food, Junk Science  (Epstein, 2010, p. 137), “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive.”

Here, the writer chose to mention the source title in the sentence (an optional piece of information to include) and followed the title with a parenthetical citation. Note that in this example the parenthetical citation is placed  before  the comma that signals the end of the introductory phrase.

David Epstein’s book  Junk Food, Junk Science  (2010) pointed out that “junk food cannot be considered addictive in the same way that we think of psychoactive drugs as addictive” (p. 137).

Another variation is to introduce the author and the source title in your sentence and include the publication date and page number in parentheses within the sentence or at the end of the sentence. As long as you have included the essential information, you can use the option that works best for that particular sentence and source.

Citing a book with a single author is usually straightforward. Of course, your research may require that you cite many other types of sources, such as books or articles with more than one author or sources with no individual author listed. You may also need to cite sources available in both print and online and nonprint sources, such as websites and personal interviews.

Self – Practice EXERCISE 9.3

In each of the sentences below, identify the mistakes with how the quote was incorporated. Look carefully; some of them are tricky and have more than one error .

One researcher outlines the viewpoints of both parties:

Freedom of research is undoubtedly a cherished ideal in our society. In that respect, research has an interest in being free, independent, and unrestricted. Such interests weigh against regulations. On the other hand, research should also be valid, verifiable, and unbiased, to attain the overarching goal of gaining obtaining generalisable knowledge (Simonsen, 2012, p. 46).

According to a recent research study, ‘that women aged 41 and over were 5 times less likely to use condoms than were men aged 18 and younger’ (2007, p. 707).

According to Emlet, the rate in which older adults have contracted HIV has grown exponentially. Currently, “approximately 20% of all HIV cases were among older adults”. (Emlet, 2008).

Examples taken from:

Writing Commons. (2014, September). Open Text. Retrieved from http://writingcommons.org/format/apa/675-block-quotations-apa

The quote is not indented on either side.

[sic] is required after “obtaining”because it is a mistake in the original.

The period is placed after the citation not before.

“That” should have been removed to make the quote flow with the rest of the sentence.

There is no attributive tag and no mention of the authors in the citation: Sormanti & Shibusawa

Single quotation marks are used instead of double quotation marks.

The writer used an attributive tag with the name of the source’s author, then gave the name again in the citation at the end. The second one is redundant.

The original quote used the past tense (“were”), but the transition word “currently” requires this verb to be changed to present tense (“are”) inside square brackets to make it fit.

There is an extra period before the citation. With a short quote, you put the end punctuation after the citation.

Formatting In – Text Citations

The following subsections discuss the correct format for various types of in-text citations. Read them through quickly to get a sense of what is covered, and then refer to them again as needed.

Print Sources

This section covers books, articles, and other print sources with one or more authors.

A Work by One Author

For a print work with one author, follow the guidelines provided in the JIBC APA Reference Guide . Always include the author’s name and year of publication. Include a page reference whenever you quote a source directly. (See also the guidelines presented earlier in this chapter about when to include a page reference for paraphrased material.)

Two or More Works by the Same Author

At times, your research may include multiple works by the same author. If the works were published in different years, a standard in-text citation will serve to distinguish them. If you are citing multiple works by the same author published in the same year, include a lowercase letter immediately after the year. Rank the sources in the order they appear in your references section. The source listed first should include an   a   after the year, the source listed second should include a   b , and so on.

Rodriguez (2009a) criticized the nutrition supplement industry for making unsubstantiated and sometimes misleading claims about the benefits of taking supplements. Additionally, he warned that consumers frequently do not realize the potential harmful effects of some popular supplements (Rodriguez, 2009b).

The author’s last name is again mentioned in the final citation despite it being used in the attributive tag. In this case, this is acceptable because this is referring to a different source written by the same person.

Works by Authors with the Same Last Name

If you are citing works by different authors with the same last name, include each author’s initials in your citation, whether you mention them in the text or in parentheses. Do so even if the publication years are different.

J. S. Williams (2007) believes nutritional supplements can be a useful part of some diet and fitness regimens. C. D. Williams (2008), however, believes these supplements are overrated.

According to two leading researchers, the rate of childhood obesity exceeds the rate of adult obesity (K. Connelley, 2010; O. Connelley, 2010).

Studies from both A. Wright (2007) and C. A. Wright (2008) confirm the benefits of diet and exercise on weight loss.

A Work by Two Authors

When two authors are listed for a given work, include both authors’ names each time you cite the work. If you are citing their names in parentheses, use an ampersand (&) between them. (Use the word  and , however, if the names appear in your sentence.)

As Garrison and Gould (2010) pointed out, “It is never too late to quit smoking. The health risks associated with this habit begin to decrease soon after a smoker quits” (p. 101).

As doctors continue to point out, “It is never too late to quit smoking. The health risks associated with this habit begin to decrease soon after a smoker quits” (Garrison & Gould, 2010, p. 101).

A Work by Three to Five Authors

If the work you are citing has three to five authors, list all the authors’ names the first time you cite the source. In subsequent citations, use the first author’s name followed by the abbreviation  et al.  ( Et al.  is short for  et alia , the Latin phrase for “and others.”)

Henderson, Davidian, and Degler (2010) surveyed 350 smokers aged 18 to 30.

One survey, conducted among 350 smokers aged 18 to 30, included a detailed questionnaire about participants’ motivations for smoking (Henderson, Davidian, & Degler, 2010).

Note that these examples follow the same ampersand conventions as sources with two authors. Again, use the ampersand only when listing authors’ names in parentheses.

As Henderson et al. (2010) found, some young people, particularly young women, use smoking as a means of appetite suppression.

Disturbingly, some young women use smoking as a means of appetite suppression (Henderson et al., 2010).

Note how the phrase  et al.  is punctuated. There is no period comes after  et , but there is one with   al.   because it is an abbreviation for a longer Latin word. In parenthetical references, include a comma after  et al.  but not before. Remember this rule by mentally translating the citation to English: “Henderson and others, 2010.”

A Work by Six or More Authors

If the work you are citing has six or more authors, list only the first author’s name, followed by  et al. , in your in-text citations. The other authors’ names will be listed in your references section.

Researchers have found that outreach work with young people has helped reduce tobacco use in some communities (Costello et al., 2007).

A Work Authored by an Organization

When citing a work that has no individual author but is published by an organization, use the organization’s name in place of the author’s name. Lengthy organization names with well-known abbreviations can be abbreviated. In your first citation, use the full name, followed by the abbreviation in square brackets. Subsequent citations may use the abbreviation only.

It is possible for a patient to have a small stroke without even realizing it (American Heart Association [AHA], 2010).

Another cause for concern is that even if patients realize that they have had a stroke and need medical attention, they may not know which nearby facilities are best equipped to treat them (AHA, 2010).

A Work with No Listed Author

If no author is listed and the source cannot be attributed to an organization, use the title in place of the author’s name. You may use the full title in your sentence or use the first few words—enough to convey the key ideas—in a parenthetical reference. Follow standard conventions for using italics or quotations marks with titles:

Use italics for titles of books or reports.

Use quotation marks for titles of articles or chapters.

“Living With Diabetes: Managing Your Health” (2009) recommends regular exercise for patients with diabetes.

Regular exercise can benefit patients with diabetes (“Living with Diabetes,” 2009).

A Work Cited within Another Work

To cite a source that is referred to within another secondary source, name the first source in your sentence. Then, in parentheses, use the phrase  as cited in and the name of the second source author.

Rosenhan’s study “On Being Sane in Insane Places” (as cited in Spitzer, 1975) found that psychiatrists diagnosed schizophrenia in people who claimed to be experiencing hallucinations and sought treatment—even though these patients were, in fact, imposters.

Two or More Works Cited in One Reference

At times, you may provide more than one citation in a parenthetical reference, such as when you are discussing related works or studies with similar results. List the citations in the same order they appear in your references section, and separate the citations with a semicolon.

Some researchers have found serious flaws in the way Rosenhan’s study was conducted (Dawes, 2001; Spitzer, 1975).

Both of these researchers authored works that support the point being made in this sentence, so it makes sense to include both in the same citation.

A Famous Text Published in Multiple Editions

In some cases, you may need to cite an extremely well-known work that has been repeatedly republished or translated. Many works of literature and sacred texts, as well as some classic nonfiction texts, fall into this category. For these works, the original date of publication may be unavailable. If so, include the year of publication or translation for your edition. Refer to specific parts or chapters if you need to cite a specific section. Discuss with your instructor whether he or she would like you to cite page numbers in this particular instance.

In  New Introductory Lectures on Psycho Analysis , Freud explains that the “manifest content” of a dream—what literally takes place—is separate from its “latent content,” or hidden meaning (trans. 1965, lecture XXIX).

In this example, the student is citing a classic work of psychology, originally written in German and later translated to English. Since the book is a collection of Freud’s lectures, the student cites the lecture number rather than a page number.

An Introduction, Foreword, Preface, or Afterword

To cite an introduction, foreword, preface, or afterword, cite the author of the material and the year, following the same format used for other print materials.

Electronic Sources

Whenever possible, cite electronic sources as you would print sources, using the author, the date, and where appropriate, a page number. For some types of electronic sources—for instance, many online articles—this information is easily available. Other times, however, you will need to vary the format to reflect the differences in online media.

Online Sources without Page Numbers

If an online source has no page numbers but you want to refer to a specific portion of the source, try to locate other information you can use to direct your reader to the information cited. Some websites number paragraphs within published articles; if so, include the paragraph number in your citation. Precede the paragraph number with the abbreviation for the word  paragraph  and the number of the paragraph (e.g., para. 4).

As researchers have explained, “Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into one’s diet can be a challenge for residents of areas where there are few or no easily accessible supermarkets” (Smith & Jones, 2006, para. 4).

Even if a source does not have numbered paragraphs, it is likely to have headings that organize the content. In your citation, name the section where your cited information appears, followed by a paragraph number.

The American Lung Association (2010) noted, “After smoking, radon exposure is the second most common cause of lung cancer” (What Causes Lung Cancer? section, para. 2).

This student cited the appropriate section heading within the website and then counted to find the specific paragraph where the cited information was located.

If an online source has no listed author and no date, use the source title and the abbreviation  n.d.  in your parenthetical reference.

It has been suggested that electromagnetic radiation from cellular telephones may pose a risk for developing certain cancers (“Cell Phones and Cancer,” n.d.).

Personal Communication

For personal communications, such as interviews, letters, and emails, cite the name of the person involved, clarify that the material is from a personal communication, and provide the specific date the communication took place. Note that while in-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, personal communications are an exception to this rule. They are cited only in the body text of your paper.

J. H. Yardley, M.D., believes that available information on the relationship between cell phone use and cancer is inconclusive (personal communication, May 1, 2009).

At work, you may sometimes share information resources with your colleagues by photocopying an interesting article or forwarding the URL of a useful website. Your goal in these situations and in formal research citations is the same: to provide enough information to help your professional peers locate and follow up on potentially useful information. Provide as much specific information as possible to achieve that goal, and consult with your supervisor or professor as to what specific style he or she may prefer.

  • In APA papers, in-text citations include the name of the author(s) and the year of publication whenever possible.
  • Page numbers are always included when citing quotations. It is optional to include page numbers when citing paraphrased material; however, this should be done when citing a specific portion of a work.
  • When citing online sources, provide the same information used for print sources if it is available.
  • When a source does not provide information that usually appears in a citation, in-text citations should provide readers with alternative information that would help them locate the source material. This may include the title of the source, section headings and paragraph numbers for websites, and so forth.
  • When writing a paper, discuss with your instructor what particular standards you should follow.

9.5 Creating a References Page

  • Navigate and find examples of references in the JIBC APA Reference Guide
  • Compose an APA-formatted references page

The brief citations included in the body of your paper correspond to the more detailed citations provided at the end of the paper in the references section. In-text citations provide basic information—the author’s name, the publication date, and the page number if necessary—while the references section provides more extensive information, which allows your reader to follow up on the sources you cited and do additional reading about the topic if desired.

In-text citations are necessary within your writing to show where you have borrowed ideas or quoted directly from another author. These are kept short because you do not want to disrupt the flow of your writing and distract the reader. While the in-text citation is very important, it is not enough to enable yourreaders to locate that source if they would like to use it for their own research.

The references section of your essay may consist of a single page for a brief research paper or may extend for many pages in professional journal articles. This section provides detailed information about how to create the references section of your paper. You will review basic formatting guidelines and learn how to format bibliographical entries for various types of sources. As you create this section of your paper, follow the guidelines provided here.

Formatting the References Page

To set up your references section, use the insert page break feature of your word processing program to begin a new page. Note that the header and margins will be the same as in the body of your paper, and pagination will continue from the body of your paper. (In other words, if you set up the body of your paper correctly, the correct header and page number should appear automatically in your references section.) The references page should be double spaced and list entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If an entry continues for more than one line, the second line and each subsequent line are indented five spaces, or one tab space; this is called a “hanging indent.”

What to Include in the References Section

Generally, the information to include in your references section is:

The name(s) of the author(s) or institution that wrote the source

The year of publication and, where applicable, the exact date of publication

The full title of the source

For books, the city of publication

For articles or essays, the name of the periodical or book in which the article or essay appears

For magazine and journal articles, the volume number, issue number, and pages where the article appears

For sources on the web, the URL where the source is located

Before you start compiling your own references and translating referencing information from possibly other styles into APA style, you need to be able to identify each piece of information in the reference. This can sometimes be challenging because the different styles format the information differently and may put it in different places within the reference. However, the types of information each of the referencing styles requires is generally the same.

Navigating Y our Reference Guide

The JIBC APA Reference Guide is organized into types of sources—print, online, mixed media—and by number of authors (or if there is no author). Once you find the referencing format you need in the guide, you can study the example and follow the structure to set up your own citations. (The style guide also provides examples for how to do the in-text citation for quotes and paraphrasing from that type of source.)

You may be asking yourself why you cannot just use the reference that is often provided on the first page of the source (like a journal article), but you need to remember that not all authors use APA style referencing, or even if they do, they may not use the exact formatting you need to follow.

Putting together a references page becomes a lot easier once you recognize the types of information you continually see in references. For example, anytime you see something italicized for APA or underlined (in MLA), you know it is the title of the major piece of writing, such as a book with chapters or an academic journal with multiple articles. Take a look at the examples below.

Sample Book Entry

Sample Journal Article Entry

If you are sourcing a chapter from a book, do not italicize the title of the chapter; instead, use double quotes. You also need to include the pages of the chapter within the book. (You do italicize the title of the book, similar to the journal article example above.)

The following box provides general guidelines for formatting the reference page. For the remainder of this chapter, you will learn about how to format reference entries for different source types, including multi-author and electronic sources.

Formatting the References Section: APA General Guidelines

Include the heading References, centred at the top of the page. The heading should not be boldfaced, italicized, or underlined.

Use double-spaced type throughout the references section, as in the body of your paper.

Use hanging indentation for each entry. The first line should be flush with the left margin, while any lines that follow should be indented five spaces. (Hanging indentation is the opposite of normal indenting rules for paragraphs.)

List entries in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. For a work with multiple authors, use the last name of the first author listed.

List authors’ names using this format: Smith, J. C.

For a work with no individual author(s), use the name of the organization that published the work or, if this is unavailable, the title of the work in place of the author’s name.

For works with multiple authors, follow these guidelines:

  • For works with up to and including seven authors, list the last name and initials for each author.
  • For works with more than seven authors, list the first six names, followed by ellipses, and then the name of the last author listed.
  • Use an ampersand before the name of the last author listed.

Use title case for journal titles. Capitalize all important words in the title.

Use sentence case for all other titles—books, articles, web pages, and other source titles. Capitalize the first word of the title. Do not capitalize any other words in the title except for the following:

  • Proper nouns
  • First word of a subtitle
  • First word after a colon or dash

Use italics for book and journal titles. Do not use italics, underlining, or quotation marks for titles of shorter works, such as articles.

There are many word processing programs and websites available that allow you to just plug in your referencing information and it will format it to the style required. If you decide to use such a program, you must still check all your references against your referencing guide because the way those programs and sites piece the information together may not be the exact way you are expected to do so at your school. Always double check!

Citing other people’s work appropriately is just as important in the workplace as it is in school. If you need to consult outside sources to research a document you are creating, follow the general guidelines already discussed, as well as any industry-specific citation guidelines. For more extensive use of others’ work—for instance, requesting permission to link to another company’s website on your own corporate website—always follow your employer’s established procedures.

Formatting Reference Page Entries

As is the case for in-text citations, formatting reference entries becomes more complicated when you are citing a source with multiple authors, various types of online media, or sources for which you must provide additional information beyond the basics listed in the general guidelines. The following sections show how to format reference entries by type of source.

Print Sources: Books

For book-length sources and shorter works that appear in a book, follow the guidelines that best describe your source.

A Book by Two or More Authors

List the authors’ names in the order they appear on the book’s title page. Use an ampersand (&) before the last author’s name.

Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J. C. (1963).  Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research.  Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

An Edited Book with No Author

List the editor or editors’ names in place of the author’s name, followed by  Ed.  or Eds.  in parentheses.

Myers, C., & Reamer, D. (Eds.). (2009).  2009 nutrition index.  San Francisco, CA: HealthSource, Inc.

An Edited Book with an Author

List the author’s name first, followed by the title and the editor or editors. Note that when the editor is listed after the title, you list the initials before the last name.

The previous example shows the format used for an edited book with one author—for instance, a collection of a famous person’s letters that has been edited. This is different from an anthology, which is a collection of articles or essays by different authors. For citing works in anthologies, see the guidelines later in this section.

A Translated Book

Include the translator’s name after the title, and at the end of the citation, list the date the original work was published. Note that for the translator’s name, you list the initials before the last name.

Freud, S. (1965).  New introductory lectures on psycho-analysis  (J. Strachey, Trans.). New York, NY: W. W. Norton. (Original work published 1933).

A Book Published in Multiple Editions

If you are using any edition other than the first, include the edition number in parentheses after the title.

A Chapter in an Edited Book

List the name of the author(s) who wrote the chapter, followed by the chapter title. Then list the names of the book editor(s) and the title of the book, followed by the page numbers for the chapter and the usual information about the book’s publisher.

A Work That Appears in an Anthology

Follow the same process you would use to cite a book chapter, substituting the article or essay title for the chapter title.

An Article in a Reference Book

List the author’s name if available; if no author is listed, provide the title of the entry where the author’s name would normally be listed. If the book lists the name of the editor(s), include it in your citation. Indicate the volume number (if applicable) and page numbers in parentheses after the article title.

Two or More Books by the Same Author

List the entries in order of their publication year, beginning with the work published first.

Swedan, N. (2001).  Women’s sports medicine and rehabilitation. Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publishers.

Swedan, N. (2003).  The active woman’s health and fitness handbook.  New York, NY: Perigee.

If two books have multiple authors, and the first author is the same but the others are different, alphabetize by the second author’s last name (or the third or fourth, if necessary).

Carroll, D., & Aaronson, F. (2008).  Managing type II diabetes.  Chicago, IL: Southwick Press.

Carroll, D., & Zuckerman, N. (2008).  Gestational diabetes.  Chicago, IL: Southwick Press.

Books by Different Authors with the Same Last Name

Alphabetize entries by the authors’ first initial.

A Book Authored by an Organization

Treat the organization name as you would an author’s name. For the purposes of alphabetizing, ignore words like  t he  in the organization’s name (e.g., a book published by the American Heart Association would be listed with other entries whose authors’ names begin with   A .)

American Psychiatric Association. (1994).  Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM-IV  (4th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

A Book Authored by a Government Agency

Treat these as you would a book published by a non-governmental organization, but be aware that these works may have an identification number listed. If so, include the number in parentheses after the publication year.

U.S. Census Bureau. (2002).  The decennial censuses from 1790 to 2000 (Publication No. POL/02-MA). Washington, DC: US Government Printing Offices.

Print Sources: Periodicals

An Article in a Scholarly Journal

Include the following information:

Author or authors’ names

Publication year

Article title (in sentence case, without quotation marks or italics)

Journal title (in title case and in italics)

Volume number (in italics)

Issue number (in parentheses)

Page number(s) where the article appears

DeMarco, R. F. (2010). Palliative care and African American women living with HIV.  Journal of Nursing Education, 49 (5), 1–4.

An Article in a Journal Paginated by Volume

In journals, page numbers are continuous across all the issues in a particular volume. For instance, the winter issue may begin with page 1, and in the spring issue that follows, the page numbers pick up where the previous issue left off. (If you have ever wondered why a print journal did not begin on page 1, or wondered why the page numbers of a journal extend into four digits, this is why.) Omit the issue number from your reference entry.

Wagner, J. (2009). Rethinking school lunches: A review of recent literature. American School Nurses’ Journal ,  47,  1123–1127.

An Abstract of a Scholarly Article

At times you may need to cite an abstract —the summary that appears at the beginning of a published article. If you are citing the abstract only, and it was published separately from the article, provide the following information:

Publication information for the article

Information about where the abstract was published (for instance, another journal or a collection of abstracts)

A Journal Article with Two to Seven Authors

List all the authors’ names in the order they appear in the article. Use an ampersand before the last name listed.

Barker, E. T., & Bornstein, M. H. (2010). Global self-esteem, appearance satisfaction, and self-reported dieting in early adolescence.  Journal of Early Adolescence, 30 (2), 205–224.

Tremblay, M. S., Shields, M., Laviolette, M., Craig, C. L., Janssen, I., & Gorber, S. C. (2010). Fitness of Canadian children and youth: Results from the 2007–2009 Canadian Health Measures Survey.  Health Reports, 21 (1), 7–20.

A Journal Article with More Than Eight Authors

List the first six authors’ names, followed by a comma, an ellipsis, and the name of the last author listed. The article in the following example has 16 listed authors; the reference entry lists the first six authors and the 16th, omitting the seventh through the 15th.

The idea of an eight-page article with 16 authors may seem strange to you—especially if you are in the midst of writing a 10-page research paper on your own. More often than not, articles in scholarly journals list multiple authors. Sometimes, the authors actually did collaborate on writing and editing the published article. In other instances, some of the authors listed may have contributed to the research in some way while being only minimally involved in the process of writing the article. Whenever you collaborate with colleagues to produce a written product, follow your profession’s conventions for giving everyone proper credit for their contribution.

A Magazine Article

After the publication year, list the issue date. Otherwise, magazine articles as you would journal articles. List the volume and issue number if both are available.

A Newspaper Article

Treat newspaper articles as you would magazine and journal articles, with one important difference: precede the page number(s) with the abbreviation  p.  (for a single-page article) or  pp.  (for a multipage-page article). For articles that have non-continuous pagination, list all the pages included in the article. For example, an article that begins on page A1 and continues on pages A4 would have the page reference A1, A4. An article that begins on page A1 and continues on pages A4 and A5 would have the page reference A1, A4–A5.

A Letter to the Editor

After the title, indicate in brackets that the work is a letter to the editor.

Jones, J. (2009, January 31). Food police in our schools [Letter to the editor].  Rockwood Gazette,  p. A8.

After the title, indicate in brackets that the work is a review and state the name of the work being reviewed. (Note that even if the title of the review is the same as the title of the book being reviewed, as in the following example, you should treat it as an article title. Do not italicize it.)

Citing Articles from Online Periodicals: URLs and Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

Whenever you cite online sources, it is important to provide the most up-to-date information available to help readers locate the source. In some cases, this means providing an article’s URL, or web address. (The letters  URL  stand for uniform resource locator.) Always provide the most complete URL possible. Provide a link to the specific article used, rather than a link to the publication’s homepage.

As you likely know, web addresses are not always stable. If a website is updated or reorganized, the article you accessed in April may move to a different location in May. The URL you provided may become a dead link. For this reason, many online periodicals, especially scholarly publications, now rely on DOIs rather than URLs to keep track of articles.

A  DOI  is a digital object identifier—an identification code provided for some online documents, typically articles in scholarly journals. Like a URL, its purpose is to help readers locate an article. However, a DOI is more stable than a URL, so it makes sense to include it in your reference entry when possible. Follow these guidelines:

If you are citing an online article with a DOI, list the DOI at the end of the reference entry.

If the article appears in print as well as online, you do not need to provide the URL. However, include the words  e lectronic version  after the title in brackets.

In all other respects, treat the article as you would a print article. Include the volume number and issue number if available. (Note, however, that these may not be available for some online periodicals.)

An Article from an Online Periodical with a DOI

List the DOI if one is provided. There is no need to include the URL if you have listed the DOI.

Bell, J. R. (2006). Low-carb beats low-fat diet for early losses but not long term.  OBGYN News, 41 (12), 32. doi:10.1016/S0029-7437(06)71905-X

An Article from an Online Periodical with No DOI

List the URL. Include the volume and issue number for the periodical if this information is available. (For some online periodicals, it may not be.)

Note that if the article appears in a print version of the publication, you do not need to list the URL, but do indicate that you accessed the electronic version.

Robbins, K. (2010, March/April). Nature’s bounty: A heady feast [Electronic version].  Psychology Today, 43 (2), 58.

Provide the URL of the article.

McNeil, D. G. (2010, May 3). Maternal health: A new study challenges benefits of vitamin A for women and babies.  The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/04/health/04glob.html?ref=health

An Article Accessed through a Database

Cite articles accessed through a database the same way you would normally cite a print article. Provide database information only if the article is difficult to locate.

APA style does not require the item number or accession number for articles retrieved from databases. You may choose to include it if the article is difficult to locate or the database is an obscure one. Check with your instructor for specific requirements for your course.

An Abstract of an Article

Format article abstracts as you would an article citation, but add the word  Abstract  in brackets after the title.

Bradley, U., Spence, M., Courtney, C. H., McKinley, M. C., Ennis, C. N., McCance, D. R.…Hunter, S. J. (2009). Low-fat versus low-carbohydrate weight reduction diets: Effects on weight loss, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular risk: A randomized control trial [Abstract].  Diabetes , 58 (12), 2741–2748. http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/early/2009/08/23/db00098.abstract

A Nonperiodical Web Document

The ways you cite different nonperiodical web documents may vary slightly from source to source, depending on the information available. In your citation, include as much of the following information as you can:

Name of the author(s), whether an individual or organization

Date of publication (Use   n.d.   if no date is available.)

Title of the document

Address where you retrieved the document

If the document consists of more than one web page within the site, link to the homepage or the entry page for the document.

American Heart Association. (2010). Heart attack, stroke, and cardiac arrest warning signs. Retrieved from http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3053

An Entry from an Online Encyclopedia or Dictionary

Because these sources often do not include authors’ names, you may list the title of the entry at the beginning of the citation. Provide the URL for the specific entry.

Addiction. (n.d.) In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary . Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/addiction

Graphic Data

When citing graphic data—such as maps, pie charts, bar graphs, and so on—include the name of the organization that compiled the information, along with the publication date. Briefly describe the contents in brackets. Provide the URL where you retrieved the information. (If the graphic is associated with a specific project or document, list it after your bracketed description of the contents.)

US Food and Drug Administration. (2009). [Pie charts showing the percentage breakdown of the FDA’s budget for fiscal year 2005].  2005 FDA budget summary . Retrieved from mhttp://www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/ReportsManualsForms/Reports/BudgetReports/2005FDABudgetSummary/ucm117231.htm

An Electronic Book

Electronic books may include books available as text files online or audiobooks. If an electronic book is easily available in print, cite it as you would a print source. If it is unavailable in print (or extremely difficult to find), use the format in the example. (Use the words  Available from  in your citation if the book must be purchased or is not available directly.)

Chisholm, L. (n.d.).  Celtic tales.  Retrieved from http://www.childrenslibrary.org/icdl/BookReader?bookid= chicelt_00150014&twoPage=false&route=text&size=0&fullscreen=false&pnum1=1&lang= English&ilang=English

A Chapter from an Online Book or a Chapter or Section of a Web Document

Chapters and sections from online books or web documents are treated similarly to their print counterparts with the addition of retrieval information. Include the chapter or section number in parentheses after the book title.

Hart, A. M. (1895). Restoratives—Coffee, cocoa, chocolate. In  Diet in sickness and in health  (VI). Retrieved from http://www.archive.org/details/dietinsicknessin00hartrich

A Dissertation or Thesis from a Database

Provide the author, date of publication, title, and retrieval information. If the work is numbered within the database, include the number in parentheses at the end of the citation.

Computer Software

For commonly used office software and programming languages, it is not necessary to provide a citation. Cite software only when you are using a specialized program, such as the nutrition tracking software in the following example. If you download software from a website, provide the version and the year if available.

Internet Brands, Inc. (2009). FitDay PC (Version 2) [Software]. Available from http://www.fitday.com/Pc/PcHome.html?gcid=14

A Post on a Blog or Video Blog

Citation guidelines for blogs are similar to those used for discussion forum postings. Briefly describe the type of source in brackets after the title.

Because the content may not be carefully reviewed for accuracy, discussion forums and blogs should not be relied upon as a major source of information. However, it may be appropriate to cite these sources for some types of research. You may also participate in discussion forums or comment on blogs that address topics of personal or professional interest. Always keep in mind that when you post, you are making your thoughts public—and in many cases, available through search engines. Make sure any posts that can easily be associated with your name are appropriately professional, because a potential employer could view them.

A Television or Radio Broadcast

Include the name of the producer or executive producer; the date, title, and type of broadcast; and the associated company and location.

West, Ty. (Executive producer). (2009, September 24).  PBS special report: Health care reform  [Television broadcast]. New York, NY, and Washington, DC: Public Broadcasting Service.

A Television or Radio Series or Episode

Include the producer and the type of series if you are citing an entire television or radio series.

Couture, D., Nabors, S., Pinkard, S., Robertson, N., & Smith, J. (Producers). (1979).  The Diane Rehm show  [Radio series]. Washington, DC: National Public Radio.

To cite a specific episode of a radio or television series, list the name of the writer or writers (if available), the date the episode aired, its title, and the type of series, along with general information about the series.

Bernanke, J., & Wade, C. (2010, January 10). Hummingbirds: Magic in the air [Television series episode]. In F. Kaufman (Executive producer), Nature.  New York, NY: WNET.

A Motion Picture

Name the director or producer (or both), year of release, title, country of origin, and studio.

Spurlock, M. (Director/producer), Morley, J. (Executive producer), & Winters. H. M. (Executive producer). (2004).  Super size me.  United States: Kathbur Pictures in association with Studio on Hudson.

A Recording

Name the primary contributors and list their role. Include the recording medium in brackets after the title. Then list the location and the label.

Smith, L. W. (Speaker). (1999).  Meditation and relaxation  [CD]. New York, NY: Earth, Wind, & Sky Productions.

Székely, I. (Pianist), Budapest Symphony Orchestra (Performers), & Németh, G. (Conductor). (1988). Chopin piano concertos no. 1 and 2  [CD]. Hong Kong: Naxos.

Provide as much information as possible about the writer, director, and producer; the date the podcast aired; its title; any organization or series with which it is associated; and where you retrieved the podcast.

Kelsey, A. R. (Writer), Garcia, J. (Director), & Kim, S. C. (Producer). (2010, May 7). Lies food labels tell us.  Savvy consumer podcast  [Audio podcast] . Retrieved from http://www.savvyconsumer.org/podcasts/050710

Self – Practice EXERCISE 9.4

Using the guidelines above and your JIBC APA Reference Guide , identify what each of these types of sources are based on their identifying characteristics and under which categories you would find them in the reference guide. Choose the answer that best describes each example.

Baudrillard, Jean. For a Critique of the Political Economy of the Sign. Trans. Charles Levin. Saint Louis: Telos, 1981.

A book with two authors

A multi-volume work

An article in a journal

A book with one author

United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (2014). The Dangers and consequences of marijuana abuse. Retrieved from http://www.justice.gov/dea/docs/dangers-consequences-marijuana-abuse.pdf

Online government document

Online task force report, corporate author

Online codes and standards

Watson, S. (2003). Antigone. In R. Sullivan & M. Levene (Eds.), Short Fiction: An Anthology (pp. 323-329). Don Mills, Ont.: Oxford University Press. (Original work published 1979)

A short story reprinted in an anthology

A chapter in a book

A multi-volume book

A book with three authors

Gilbert, Elliot. “The Ceremony of Innocence: Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol. ” PMLA 90 (1975): 22-31.

An online journal article

An academic article

A newspaper article

Ogborne, A.C., Smart, R.G., & Adlaf, E.M. (2000). Self-reported medical use of marijuana: A survey of the general population. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 162 (12), 1685. Retrieved from http://ecmaj.ca.cgi

An online academic journal article

An online authored report, non-governmental organization

An online academic journal article by multiple authors

An e-version of a print book

David, L. (Producer) & Guggenheim, D. (Director). (2006). An Inconvenient Truth [Motion Picture]. United States: Lawrence Bender Productions.

A television series

A video/DVD

Jaynes, J. 1986 Consciousness of the voices of the mind. Canadian Psychology 27. 128-137.

An academic journal article

A magazine article

Spiro, M.D. (1983). Introduction: Thirty years of kibbutz research. In E. Krause (Ed.), The sociology of the kibbutz: Studies in Israeli society II. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

An edited book

All of the above

Kamel, F., Tanner, C., Umbach, D., Hoppin, J., Alavanja, M., Blair, A.,… Sandler, D. (2007). Pesticide exposure and self-reported Parkinson’s disease in the agricultural health study. Am J Epidemiol , 165: 364-374.

An online academic article with eight or more authors

A book with eight or more authors

A print journal article with eight or more authors

A chapter in an edited book

McPartland, J.M., & Pruitt, P.L. (1997). Medical marijuana and its use by the immunocompromised. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, 3 (3), 39-45. doi: 10.1080/102825

An online newspaper article

An online article with DOI

A chapter of a book from an online library

Some examples taken from:

D. Although two names are given, only the first is the author; the second is a translator. It is a book because it has a city and publisher.

A. Starts with “United States” = good chance it is a government-produced document

A. The title of the book contains “anthology,” which means collection of stories, and “fiction” refers to stories. We know it is a book because of the city and publisher.

B. There are actually three titles given here: the article, a book within the title of the article, the journal name PMLA ( Publications of the Modern Language Association ). There are also a volume number after PMLA and page numbers.

C. There are three authors, URL, and title of journal, identifying it as an online article with multiple authors.

C. The keywords identifying it as a video/DVD are director, producer , and motion picture

B. The title of journal and article, and the page numbers identify it as a journal article, but there is no URL so we know it is not online.

D. There are two titles, one italicized and one not, so it is part of a bigger source; the second name followed by “Ed.” shows this was an edited book; we know it is a book because of the city and publisher.

C. The title of journal and article, with page numbers, identifies it as a journal article, but not online as there is no URL. More than eight authors are listed.

B. It is identified as a journal article because the journal title is given, and the name of the article. There is no URL but there is a DOI, identifying it as being online.

Sample Reference Page

Review the following example from Jorge’s paper on evaluating low-carbohydrate diets. This is an example of how to piece all of your referencing information into one section.

Assignment 3 (2.5%)

Using the JIBC APA Reference Guide , compile a reference page consisting of the six sources given below. You will need to apply the required formatting for each of the references as well as the page as a whole. You will have to look at each of the sources and the information that is given for each: there may be some extra information you will need to omit from the references.

1. Identify what type of source this is from the information given.

2. Find the example of that type of source in the reference guide.

3. Decide what information you need and do not need for each.

4. Compose each individual source’s reference.

5. On a separate page, combine the references you created for the six sources into a correctly formatted reference page.

Submit this assignment to your instructor for grading . ( 2.5% )

Referencing information for Assignment 3

1. American Music Teacher , August-Sept 1999 v49 (1) p34(5) 1998 National Survey of High School Pianists. Harold Kafer; Richard Kennel

2. The Economist (US), June 1, 1996 v339 n7968 p79(1) The food of the gods.

3. Current Directions in Psychological Science , Dec 2005 v14 i6 p317(4) Music and Cognitive Abilities. Glenn E. Schellenberg

4. Nursing interventions: effective nursing treatments / [edited by] Gloria M. Bulechek, Joanne C. McCloskey. Philadelphia: Saunders, c1999. 3rd ed Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN: 072167724X Fenwick Stacks Call Number: RT48 .N8833 1999

5. Kok, S.C. (2005). Music and learning. In Hoffman, B. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Educational Technology .Retrieved: March 28, 2008, from http://coe.sdsu.edu/eet/articles/musiclearning/start.htm

6. Tuning up young minds: music lessons give kids a small IQ advantage.B. Bower. Science News 165.25 (June 19, 2004): p389(1). (446 words)

Checklist 7.1  Reference Page Reminder

Just to review, your final reference page needs to:

Start on an fresh page after your last page of writing

Be titled “Reference Page” or “References”

Be in alphabetical order based on the author’s last name

Be double spaced

Have hanging indents

In APA style, book and article titles are formatted in sentence case, not title case. Sentence case means that only the first word is capitalized, along with any proper nouns.

  • In APA papers, in-text citations usually include the name(s) of the author(s) and the year of publication.
  • In-text citations correspond to entries in the references section, which provide detailed referencing information about a source.
  • Entries in the references section include as much of the following information as possible:
  • Print Resources: Author(s), date of publication, title, publisher, page numbers (for shorter works), editors (if applicable), and periodical title (if applicable).
  • Online resources (text based). Author(s), date of publication, title, publisher or sponsoring organization, and DOI or URL (if applicable).
  • Electronic resources (non text based).Details about the creator(s) of the work, title, associated company or series, and date the work was produced or broadcast. The specific details provided will vary depending on the medium and the information that is available.
  • Electronic resources (text based). If widely available in print form, it is sometimes unnecessary to provide details about how to access the electronic version. Check the guidelines for the specific source type.

Journal entry #9

Write a paragraph or two responding to the following.

What did you find the most straightforward/easy about citations?

What did you find more difficult about citations?

What did you find the most straightforward/easy about composing references?

What did you find more difficult about composing references?

What concerns you most about referencing citations? What will you do to address this?

Remember as mentioned in the Assessment Descriptions in your syllabus:

You will be expected to respond to the questions by reflecting on and discussing your experiences with the week’s material.

When writing your journals, you should focus on freewriting—writing without (overly) considering formal writing structures—but remember that it will be read by the instructor, who needs to be able to understand your ideas.

Your instructor will be able to see if you have completed this entry by the end of the week but will not read all of the journals until week 11.

Writing for Success - 1st Canadian Edition by Tara Horkoff; an author removed at the request of the original publisher; and Horkoff, Tara is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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