Students write a lot of academic essays, research papers, assignments, and reports. Along with the workload, the process of referencing and citing each document can be daunting. But it is essential to add an excellent reference to back up one’s writing. Inadequate referencing is very common among students, and it can affect their grades. So, it’s about time students learn how to properly cite for their papers and improve their chances for success.

What Is Citing?

Citing a source means showing that the idea or words used are taken from somewhere else. It is a formal reference to a book, website, or published/unpublished source used to gather information. Citing should be done whenever one quotes, paraphrases, or summarises a paper.

Citation often includes the following:

  • author/s name;
  • date of publication;
  • location of the company;
  • title of the article;
  • page numbers;
  • publisher details;
  • URL.

Why Is Citing Important?

Citing helps in delivering plagiarism-free content. Whenever a student writes about a topic or an idea, it is crucial to add references to other sources. Unless the idea is a known fact by everyone, citing is mandatory. Nothing is worse than taking credit for someone else’s opinion.

A proper citing allows readers to expand their knowledge through hard facts. They can brainstorm by visiting the materials and links used.

  • Citing symbolizes that thorough research is done on a specific topic.
  • It is a great way to add a strong complement to your ideas.
  • It gives the readers diverse ideas on a topic by different authors.
  • It gives credit to the original author and helps avoid plagiarism.

Rich content, citations, and proofreading are essential for writing a unique research paper. Citations can be taken from many reliable online sources, some of which we have covered in this article. Students can also avail themselves online services like proofread my paper on Studyfy to finetune their work. Seize every opportunity to make your academic paper flawless. You can also buy essay on which will help you turn in your work on time.

Which Citation Format Is the Best Choice?

There are numerous ways to add a reference to the research paper. However, different institutions or lecturers prefer different styles. So, students should check with their instructors on what type is expected for use.

Some of the Most Popular Formats

MLA (Modern Language Association)

MLA is the most common format in education. It is widely used for subjects like philosophy, English, art history, religion, and music. It presupposes using in-text citations. A paper written in MLA style should have a “Works Cited” list to add the sources.

APA (American Psychological Association)

APA is also primarily used in education. It is pretty standard for lecturers to ask students to follow APA formatting. It is acceptable for subjects like psychology, engineering, science, and social studies. The paper should have a “References” list at the end to mention the sources. Similar to MLA, this style also uses in-text citations.


The University of Chicago created the Chicago style. This formatting is primarily used in business, fine arts, and history. Chicago uses footnotes and endnotes instead of in-text citations. It helps readers focus on the details.

Some of the common mistakes made by students when using citations are the following.

  • Using outdated information. This is a crucial aspect because the relevance of today’s content depends on the latest information.
  • Not writing citations in alphabetical order.
  • Not following a standardized format or way of using citations in papers.
  • Not including the web address for online sources or adding broken links.
  • Incorrect punctuations or grammar that hinder the comprehension of cited sources.
  • Forgetting to add page numbers when citing a book or journal.

5 Reliable Online Sources to Use for Citing

Most of the students use sources from the Internet as a reference. Countless sources on the Internet are reliable. Here are five reliable online sources that can be used by students for citations.


Gartner is a leading advisory and research company. They write business insights on a wide range of topics. They also have rich content on:

  • research;
  • finance;
  • human resources;
  • information technology;
  • marketing;
  • operations;
  • sales;
  • customer service.

Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center talks about facts, trends, and issues. They bring social awareness by conducting public polling, issue analysis, and research. Their research topics include:

  • the Internet;
  • journalism;
  • media;
  • technology;
  • politics;
  • religion;
  • social trends;
  • ethnicity;
  • public life.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

CDC works towards protecting people from health and safety threats. Be it curable or incurable and infectious or non-infectious diseases, CDC provides the necessary health information to ensure public well-being. The research is done on topics like:

  • new health threats;
  • advanced technology;
  • public health, etc.


Forbes is a well-known and reputed global company. The company also happens to be one of the most reliable online sources one can cite because of its deep roots in modern technology and culture. Their media channels talk extensively about:

  • business;
  • money;
  • entrepreneurship;
  • stocks investment;
  • technology;
  • lifestyle, etc.

Forbes is the ultimate destination for everything one needs to know related to these topics.

Google News

Easily one of the biggest news aggregators in the business, Google News provides comprehensive information about the latest advancements in everything around us. It is a go-to platform to get updated about any news and trending topics.

Google News can also show customized news and topics depending on one’s likes and interests. So, this can be a reliable option for students. They can filter out the information they are looking for.

Apart from these online sources, there is various software to generate and use citations. Here are some excellent examples:

  • BibMe;
  • Docs Cite.
  • Citation Machine.
  • EasyBib;
  • MyBib.

To Conclude

Students should rely on trustworthy and reputable online sources for citing. Whether it is a research paper or general writing, a precise citation adds credibility to the writer. A proper formatting style is equally important while adding a reference. On the whole, including citations in your paper helps avoid plagiarism, shows your strong research skills, and allows you to deliver unique and well-researched content.