Writing A Strong Research Paper: Citation Formatting Rules


If there is one thing that puzzles the college students and doctoral research fellows the most, it is citation. There are so many academic writing formats and mechanisms and so many online guidebooks for students, they often cannot decide on following the right research paper citation formatting rules. Whether you are about to use in-text citations or endnotes or you want to cite the resources, mainly peer-reviewed journals, here is a brief guide to help you with choosing the right academic paper citation formatting rules.

Check with your mentor to identify the right formatting rule

Every college and university recommends a particular academic writing format, whether it’s APA or MLA or Harvard. Therefore, you should ask your teachers about which formatting style to follow. However, we will only discuss the MLA style basic citation rules here.

The basic in-text citation formatting rules

Parenthetical citation formatting rules are followed in MLA style. In this method, you have to place punctuation marks after quotes and paraphrases. The source info in parenthetical citation is dependent on the source media. Any information that you have sourced from somewhere else for in-text citation should be supported by source information on the citation page. In MLA style, the author-page method is mainly followed for in-text citation.

Citation formatting rules for print sources

For citing print sources, you should furnish a signal phrase or word. You don’t need to mention it in citation if you furnish the signal word/phrase.

Citation formatting rules for corporate author

If a source is written by a corporate author, you should name of the corporation that should be followed by the in-text citation page number. You need to use abbreviations wherever appropriate. You should not use long citations if it is not needed.

Ask your teacher and peers

As previously mentioned, every college and university follows a particular academic writing and citation style. If your college decides to go with APA or Harvard, the citation formatting rules will vary for sure. Therefore, you should give citations after knowing the proper formatting rules from your department professor or from your peers.

Citation formatting determines good score

Writing a strong research paper requires religious adherence to citation formatting rules. Sadly, many students and researchers forget to lay adequate emphasis on citation formatting. If you want to score well in exams, you need to know the right citation formatting rules first and then stick to that.