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What is Citation and When do you need to Cite your Sources?

Citation in research is the practice of acknowledging and referencing the works, ideas, and data of others used in your work and is fundamental to scholarly integrity. It ensures the ethical and rigorous conduct of academic and scholarly work based on existing knowledge.

Citing Sources

Citations, often integrated as in-text references or footnotes, give credit to original authors and substantiate your arguments with credible evidence.

Listing the cited sources in a bibliography or reference list aids readers in fact-checking and exploring further if interested.

Why Should You Cite?

  • To acknowledge the intellectual contribution of the original authors and to give them due credit.
  • To support the claims and arguments in your research and to add credibility to your research.
  • To help readers verify the sources used and delve deeper into the topics of their interest.
  • To ensure that you are using others’ work ethically and responsibly, thereby avoiding plagiarism.
  • To base your work on existing knowledge and contribute to the ongoing research in your field.

Transparent and accurate citations foster trust in your work and demonstrate academic integrity.

When do you need to cite your sources?

Citing sources is imperative whenever you incorporate external information, ideas, or creative works into your own writing. It applies to direct quotations, paraphrased content, statistical data, images, graphics, and multimedia. Additionally, you should cite sources when drawing on someone else’s research findings, theories, or opinions to support your arguments or claims.

What does a citation look like?

The format of a citation may vary depending on the citation style, the reference source (book, journal, website, etc.) used, and the requirements of the institution and/or publications. Here are a few examples of the different citation styles:

Book Citation (APA Style):

Smith, J. A. (2020). The Art of Research: A Comprehensive Guide. Academic Press.

In-text Citation (APA Style):

(Smith, 2020)

Journal Article Citation (MLA Style):

Johnson, S. “The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity.” Environmental Science Quarterly, vol. 45, no. 3, 2019, pp. 123-136.

Website Citation (Chicago Style):

World Health Organization. “COVID-19 Vaccination Guidelines.” World Health Organization, (accessed September 10, 2023).


NSK is a project manager with a Ph.D. in Plant Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering from University of Madras and has published articles in the fields of plant genetic engineering and molecular biology. In her current role as Manager, Scientific Editing and Journal Services, NSK plays a pivotal role in facilitating communication between journals and authors, ensuring a seamless publication process.

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