Demystifying Academic Citations: A Guide for Assignment Writers

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When you are supposed to write an academic assignment for any educational level, it is important to write citations. However, not many of us know exactly what citations and referencing are. So, let us begin discussing our topic by understanding its precise meaning and purpose.

Suppose your topic is regarding sales of FMCGs – Fast Moving Consumer Goods like milk and vegetables. To write a thesis, you first need an unexplored niche, so you begin searching the web for whereabouts. Soon, you will come across conclusions from previous research works, and by deriving them, you will be ready to settle.

You have enough material to generate a problem statement, but you will have to quote those authors. When you mention their names in brackets with the year of their work, this is a citation at the end of their research conclusions. When you finish writing your paper, you must make a list of authors whose work you have cited. Completing the list of their names along with the complete source details of their work is referencing. Hence, both phenomena are equally significant in writing an academic assignment.

Demystifying Writing Citations for an Academic Assignment

The process of acknowledging the source you have used to accomplish your problem statement is obligatory. Think for yourself. Is it not dishonouring the authors or stealing their credit? Don’t they deserve appreciation and recognition? Beyond any doubt, they do.  So here, we are deciphering the usage of citations in assignments for writers.

Plagiarism Vs Credentials

Using another person’s work and not citing them can be a punishable offence under many laws.  This is also known as plagiarism in the scholastic world. In addition, copying text or images from someone else’s work is highly frowned upon by everyone. Therefore, you must never forget to mention the credentials of the authors you have quoted.

So now, instead of finding assignment help online, refer to the referencing styles below. Every academic writer must be familiar with these terminologies and should be able to cite accordingly.  

1. American Psychological Association – APA

As suggested by its name, this style is normally appropriate for social sciences. Under this approach, the sequence of the source’s details goes from name to complete date of publication to title and URL. Moreover, if a quote is included, the exact page number must be included for easy validation. The in-text citation would consist of the author’s last name and year of publication.

2. Modern Language Association – MLA

Literature studies and humanities subjects like philosophy, fine arts and political sciences often use this style in assignments. Writers must adhere to the extensive list of things that are a part of referencing for this style. They are authors, title, version number, publication house, issue date, and location. Furthermore, regarding in-text credentials, the bracket should comprise the author’s last name and page number. For example (Belle 63). 

3. Unidentified Details

There are situations such as a website that does not mention the name of the journalist or instances where the information is anonymous. For such circumstances, you might want to use the word anonymous instead of their name. In addition, when there is no name, you can also go for the title and publication year to be cited within the text. Similarly, if no date is provided, the writers can use ‘n.d.’ in its place. It stands for no date.

4. Chicago Style

Moving on to the next manner of acknowledging the sources – Chicago style. There are two options, and you may choose either one. First is author-date reference. In this, you must include the last name of the journalist and the issuing year in the brackets. At the same time, the second option is notes and bibliography. Under this heading, you are free to mention references in the footnotes, if not at the end of your thesis.  

5. Harvard Referencing

Harvard’s approach is principally relevant to business academics. It authorises the in-text citation to be in the footnotes or the body right after the quote. Here, you only include the author’s last name and date of issuance. However, a page number has to be there in some special cases. On the other hand, the reference list holds the rest of the complete details about a journalist. They go from name to title, publisher, location, year and number of pages used.

Is paraphrasing the same as referencing?

Many experts recommend paraphrasing, but replacing references or citations is not enough. You still have to mention the source and details of the research paper.

How many citations or references should a paper have?

There is no set limit in any context, but using 3 to 4 strong citations is enough to support a valid argument. However, you must follow his advice if the instructor asks for more than that.

How to improve your referencing skills?

For this, first, you need to record all the sources you used in a separate document. Next, you must use referencing tools while keeping your chosen style in mind. Moreover, you should always ensure that your work is faultless.

What do I do when I do not find a reference for the point I wish to make?

If the point you want to establish does not have a direct source, then you can use the derivation technique. It is very simple; you just have to use an author’s dialogue to connect it to yours.


After all that knowledge you have gained through this article, we hope you will never be confused again. This article is a blessing for you as an academic writer who produces assignments. All these specifications will come in handy in your future efforts.

A quick recap: We can say that citing someone’s work is highly important. If you fail to do so, authorities will see it as theft, and you might be severely punished for copyright infringements. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry. Use whatever the instructor has prescribed for a referencing style and work along that. Simply, maintain a proper list of authors referred, keep the bibliography updated, and you are good to go.

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