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What is a citation?

“A citation is a reference to any published work as well as any form of communication with sufficient details to uniquely identify the item. When academics, scientists, and other professionals refer to any published work in their own published work, they cite it, giving the author, year, title, and locus of publication (journal, book, working paper, etc.).”[1]

Do I have to cite?

Did I do my citations right?

You wrote a few sentences and made a few claims in your paper. You also added citations here and there. Now you want to know if you did it correctly.

Read each sentence and ask yourself this question: “How did you know that?”

If your answer to that question is not immediately clear, then you didn’t do your in-line citation correctly. Keep on reading then!

How to do proper citation

1. Know your citation style

First you have to know what citation style is needed by your professor, school, or journal you need to publish in. There are several hundred different citations styles. This page alone lists more than 9875 citation styles. You will only need to know and use a couple of them in your academic life.

Ask your professor which citation style they prefer and use that.

In our courses we use either IEEE (with URL) or APA. You can use other styles if you like as long as you know what you are doing.

2. Learn the chosen style

Each citation style comes with a lot of freely-available guides, samples, tutorials, and online materials. To learn how to cite a source using the IEEE style, you need to read about the way an IEEE citation is created.

Read this to get a better idea about the IEEE style:

3. Use Zotero

Once you read about your chosen citation style, you might want to use a software to automate the manual typing of a citation for you. Your best option is using Zotero.


[1] J. R. Faria, ‘Citations’, International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 01-Jul-2020]

citation.txt · Last modified: 2020/09/25 17:08 by Eric Bright