The main referencing styles includes:
APA, MLA, OSCOLA, AMA, Chicago, Turabian, IEEE

Citation Styles

There are various citation styles used in academic writing. They include the APA, MLA, Harvard, and Chicago styles. These citation styles are used to indicate, to the reader, that the information cited originated from elsewhere. Each of the four citation styles is cited in different ways.

The American Psychological Association, commonly abbreviated as APA, is the most commonly used guideline for academic writing.  An APA citation entails a snapshot of the information contained in the reference. For the intext citations, writers should include the author’s or authors’ last name and the year of publication of the used material. In the case that the material being used has three or more authors, the writer should, at the first citation of the material, cite all the authors’ last names and the year of publication. These constituents of the APA in-text citation should be separated using a comma. However, for the subsequent citation of such a material, an individual should cite the last name of the first author followed by “et al.” and the year. On the other hand, the references citations should start on a new page of a document. The reference entries should be alphabetized with all the different intext citations being accounted for in the reference list.

The MLA citation style is another style that is used in academic writing. This style follows an author-page format which means that the writer is expected to include the last name of the author and the page number from which the cited paraphrase or quotation originated from for sources that have a maximum of three authors. For sources, such as websites, that don’t have page numbers, the initials “n.p” should be included. Sources that have more than three authors, therefore, should be cited using the last name of the first author followed by the phrase “et al”. These citations are expected to occur after the paraphrase or quotation but before the full stop. The writer should use a new page for the works cited page. All in-text citation entries included in the document should be included in this page in alphabetical order.

Another citation style frequently used in academic writing is the Havard citation style. The particulars included in the in-text citations for the Harvard referencing style include the author’s or editor’s last name, year of publication of the source, and the page number from where the quotation or paraphrase can be found. For sources, such as websites, that don’t have page numbers, the initials “n.p” should be included. This is the case for sources that have a maximum of three authors. For sources with more than three authors, the last name of the first author followed by the phrase “et al”, the year of publication, and the page number or the initials “n.p” should be used. The reference list for this citation style should also appear on a new page. Similar to the other citation styles, the reference list should include entries that exhaust the in-text citation entries. Also, these entries should be double spaced.

College academic writers also use the Chicago citation style. The style entails the use of footnotes and endnotes in referencing quotations or paraphrases from the various sources used. Superscript numbers are used to certain from a source by placing them after a paraphrase or a quote. The citation numbers are expected to appear sequentially with each of these numbers corresponding to a citation, footnote, or endnote. The footnotes used should appear at the bottom of the page in which they are cited while the endnotes should appear in a new page, before the bibliography page, with the page titled “Notes”. Citing a footnote for the first time requires the inclusion of the first and last name of the author or authors, title, publication city, name of the publisher, publication year, and the pages used. Shortening the citation is allowed is it has already been used. The shortened citation should include a shortened name of the author or authors, a shortened title, and the pages used. A writer is allowed to use the phrase “Ibid” together with the pages used in the case where the citation has been used immediately prior.

How to avoid plagiarism in writing

 Plagiarism is stealing another person’s words or ideas without acknowledging the source. It is unethical and can lead to dire consequences such as the retraction of a research paper.  When writing papers, an in-depth research is required to back up your points and provide evidence. It is important to cite all the sources used. Here are some tips you can use to avoid plagiarizing.

  1. Understand the context

Read through the source to understand the ideas and thoughts of the author. Make short notes as you read through the text. Don’t copy-paste information directly from the source, instead, write the content in your own words and add other relevant points, ideas, and arguments.

  1. Cite the sources

There different citation styles such as APA, MLA, and Chicago. Choose one and be consistent. Include the in-text citations and the reference list. Provide information such as the author, title of the source, and the publication details. Cite every quote or paraphrase borrowed from another source. Also, cite materials that you had published before to avoid self-plagiarism.

  1. Manage your citations.

As you make notes, list all the sources you have researched from and remember to include them in your text. You can also use citation software such as a reference manager to manage citations. Include multiple citations in the background information.

  1. Use plagiarism checkers

Plagiarism checkers detects any borrowed information that is not cited. It does this by comparing your work with other sources such as websites, articles, and books. There are different plagiarism checkers such as Grammarly and Turnitin. Use them before submitting your work.

  1. Quote or paraphrase

Quote and paraphrase other people’s work. A quote contains the author’s words in the exact way they appear in the original text. Paraphrasing is writing another person’s work in your own words. It proves that you have understood the context. It also creates room for restructuring the sentences and adding your thoughts.

A quotation should only be used if the quote will lose meaning when paraphrased or if you prefer using the author’s words and style. It should be in quotation marks. The quote should be attributed to the author.

To avoid plagiarism when paraphrasing, use words that are different from those used in the main source but do not lose the meaning. Paraphrasing ensures your words dominate in your paper.

Plagiarism can be avoided. This can only be accomplished through citing sources, quoting, paraphrasing, and using plagiarism checkers. Always manage your citations to avoid unintentional use of other person’s work without acknowledging them.