Academic Writing Made Simple: 5 Golden Rules For Citing Sources Properly

Many students argue that academic writing is complicated, partially because of the unclear rules for citing sources. In truth, these rules are easy to follow when you take your time and study them carefully. It is a good idea to have several good examples of academic papers and learn how other students have cited the sources. If you want to make your writing process somehow easier, you should start by studying the 5 golden rules for students that describe the citation basics:

  1. Just cite it if you are not sure whether to cite or not.
  2. You cannot cite too much. When you work with different sources, you must ensure that you cite the ideas and facts represented there as often as you need to. You should keep track of the material and be able to explain where your information came from. Do not forget to cite in the text and in a list of works cited. You should cite websites, online databases, textbooks, scholarly articles, news magazines, pictures, etc.

  3. Format your quotations correctly.
  4. When you provide exact words from a book, article, or review; you should use quotation marks. Otherwise, you are claiming that those ideas and words are yours. This is called plagiarism, which is absolutely unacceptable in the academic world. Do not forget to give credit when you use figures, charts, graphs, and tables written by others.

  5. Paraphrase in your own words.
  6. Paraphrasing is a useful technique that helps students avoid plagiarism and makes your text more readable. However, you should use your own words and keep in mind that they should not be close to the words that were mentioned in the source.

  7. Cite the ideas of others even if you present them as paraphrases.
  8. You should demonstrate where the ideas in your paper come from. Remember that you should not cite common knowledge. When you paraphrase the ideas of others, you should cite them in parentheses. If you fail to cite such ideas, this means that you are providing the ideas and points of others as your own.

  9. Include all the sources in your list of works cited.
  10. Though it seems obvious, many students often forget to include a few sources in their bibliographies. However, readers should be able to learn more by using your bibliography, so it is necessary to include everything in the list. It shows the credibility of your research and helps others verify the information that you have provided in your paper.