Term Paper: Format of Citations and References
As you write your term papers, it will be important for you to document where you obtained the information cited in your report. Many of the references you use will come from published sources. Some may come from electronic sources such as the World Wide Web, Melvyl and Harvest databases available through the UC Davis library, CD references and the like, and some may come from interviews. An important component of your writing will be the effective use of reference material. This skill will serve you well in writing papers of all types, not just those required for classes.
For this class, we will be using the documentation style of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2001) modified with italics substituted for underlining. This format is very similar to that of the Modern Language Association, and these are the most commonly used styles for publishing in the social and natural sciences. The general form of citations in the body of the text is to include the author and date in parentheses (as above) and optionally include the page number(s) after the date. If the author's name was just mentioned in the text, it is not necessary to repeat it in the citation. The rules are described in more detail, with examples, in section 3.
2. Basic Guidelines
The purpose of the term paper in ECS 15 is for you to learn how to do effective research on a subject and then write it up clearly, showing where you got your information.
A research paper requires searching for information pertinent to a given subject, organizing it, and presenting it effectively in written form. Oral research reports are also useful, but this course does not cover them.
In the following sections, we will present the way that we want you to cite your references in the term paper for this course. The required format meets the accepted practices cited in Li and Crane (1993), a reference that is currently considered the best authority on citing electronic sources. This book in turn follows the basic format for the American Psychological Association (APA, 2001), which is a good format (though by no means the only acceptable one in technical publications). You may be required to use slightly different formats for other papers, such as papers submitted for publication to refereed journals, each of which typically have their own styles. Learning how to follow one such set of rules is a worthwhile exercise. You will therefore be expected to use the format set out below.
3. In-text Citation to References
When citing a reference from your reference list, please use the following conventions. Put in parentheses the author(s) last names, the year, and optionally the page number(s) separated by commas.
For one author, use the author's last name and year separated by a comma. For example: (Walters, 1994) or (Austin, 1996).
For two to five authors, use their last names separated by commas and with an ampersand "&" before the very last name in the list, then the year separated by a comma. For example: (Li & Crane, 1993) (Charniak, Riesbeck, McDermott & Meehan, 1994).
For more than five authors, use the first author's last name and "et al." For example: (Walters, et al., 1992).
For the date, use the year. If there are two references by the same author(s) for the same year, use letters after the year: (Walters, 1993b).
If there are specific page numbers for a citation, add them after the year (Walters, 1994, pp. 31-49).
If you include the author's name(s) in the text of a sentence in the paper, you may omit their names from the parentheses as follows: "Austin (1996) includes valuable references to ...." or "The examples given by Li and Crane (1993) on web addresses ...".
Do not use footnotes in this class for citations. You can use them for explanatory text, but not for references. Have the citation make it easy to find the reference in the "References" section. All references in that section should be complete enough for readers to obtain a copy for themselves.
4. Your List of References
Create a list of references, one for each item cited in the paper, in a section called "References". This section goes at the end of your paper. The references are to be alphabetized by the fist author's last name, or (if no author is listed) the organization or title. If you cite more than one paper by the same first author, sort them by year of publication, earliest year first. Do not use footnotes for citations.
Single-space the entries in your list of references. Start at the left margin for the first line of each bibliography entry. Each additional line of each entry should be indented a reasonable amount. Separate the entries with a blank line. Do not number the references. Doing so means you have to renumber all the references whenever you insert a new reference.
4.1. Author, Date, and Title
The general format for the author, title, and date in your reference list is as follows:
Author. (date). Title. [the full reference, which follows, is discussed below]
The following explains these fields.
First author's last name, followed by the initials. If there are two authors, separate their names with "and". For three or more authors, separate all but the last author's name with commas, and use "and" before the last author's name in the list. If published by an agency with no author given, list the name of the agency. End with a period. For example:
Walters, R.F. and Reed, N.E.
Walters, R.F., Bharat, S. R. and Austin, A.A.
Charniak, E., Riesbeck, C., McDermott, D. and Meehan, J.
National Bureau of Standards.
Enclose the date in parentheses. Use a date sufficiently specific for the item. For example, give the year of publication for a book, the year and month of publication for a monthly magazine or journal, and the year, month, and day for a newspaper or daily periodical. End with a period. For example:
(1995, August 30).
If the title is that of an article, use the regular font; if it is the title of a book, italicize it. Capitalize only the first letter of the first word and proper nouns. If there is a subtitle, it too should begin with a capital letter. End with a period. For example, an article's title would look like:
Computer-based systems integration.
and a book's title would look like:
The abc's of MUMPS: An introduction for novice and intermediate programmers.
4.2. Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers
The following apply to citing the name and identifying information for journals, magazines, newspapers, and periodicals in general.
When citing the name of a journal, magazine or newspaper, write the name in italics, with all words capitalized except for articles, prepositions and conjunctions.
Volume, number, and page numbers
Give the volume number in italics, followed by the issue number in parentheses (if there is an issue number), and the page number(s). For magazines, precede page numbers with "p." (if the article is on a single page) or "pp." (if the article is on multiple pages). For example:
Communications of the ACM, 27(2), 141-195.
Journal of Advertising Research, 32, 47-55.
Time, 146, pp. 42-44.
Publisher and Location
Give the city and state (if in the United States), followed by a colon and the publisher name, followed by a period. For example:
Englewood Cliffs NJ: Prentice-Hall.
London: Edward Arnold
If you choose to include any personal interviews, reference them with the person's name, their professional title and employer, and the date, time, and place of the interview. For example:
Albert Einstein (1935, January 5), Professor of Theoretical Physics, Princeton University, 3:00pm, Princeton, NJ.
4.4. References Found in Electronic Form
Many resource materials are available through Melvyl and Harvest, which are the electronic access points for the UC Davis library. More are on CDROM, or on the Internet. These can serve as appropriate references for research reports and term papers. It is important, however, to acknowledge the sources of these documents, even though you may never have seen "hard copy" (printed versions) of the file(s) you wish to cite. This section describes how you are to cite references that you have obtained from electronic repositories.
The basic form of your reference will be similar to printed references, but you will need to add some important additional information: the type of medium used, and the material's availability.
In general, if you wish to cite an electronic file, you should include either the term "[Online]" or the term "[CDROM]" (enclosed in square brackets) before the closing period terminating the title of the work cited. If you are citing a part of a larger work, you should give the title, followed by a comma, the word "In" followed by the larger work, and then add "[Online]" or "[CDROM]" as appropriate, followed by a period.
Citing the availability of an electronic document should give the reader enough information to know where to locate the file and, if necessary, the specific portion of the file cited. Electronic documents can come from several types of locations:
ftp: identify the ftp server, location (path), and file name
Internet (e.g., world wide web): give the location and file name; the URL is sufficient
mailing lists, newsgroups: identify the server, method of access, and file name; do not cite personal email
databases (e.g., computer database in Melvyl): identify access method
In each case, you should give enough information to let the reader know how to access the information electronically. Generally, giving the site (Internet-style server name) on which the information resides, the name of the file, and the complete path (list of directories) showing how to get to it is sufficient.For example:
[Online]. Available: email: firstname.lastname@example.org Message: Get POETICS TODAY.
[Online] Available: FTP: ftp.bio.indiana.edu, Location: /usenet/bionet/neuroscience, File: 9512.newsm.
[CDROM]. Available: UMI File: Business Periodicals Ondisk Item 91-11501.
[Online]. Available: http://escher.ucdavis.edu:1024/rtahomepage.html
5. Samples of Complete References
All of the examples given above may be summarized by citing a few references in the form we would like you to use. Here are some examples that would be cited in the text as (Crosley, 1988), (Essinger, 1991, May 28, pp. 97-99), (Armstrong & Keevil, 1991, p. 103), and so forth.
5.1. Printed Book
Crosley, L.M. (1988). The architects' guide to computer-aided-design. Toronto: John Wiley & Sons.
5.2. Magazine Article
Essinger, J. (1991, May 28). Just another tool of your trade. Accountancy 108, pp. 91-125.
5.3. Journal Article
Armstrong, P. and Keevil, S. (1991). Magnetic resonance imaging-2: Clinical uses. British Medical Journal 303(2), 105-109.
Computer, Christopher C. (1996, January 10) Professor, Computer Science Department, University of California - Davis, 3:00 pm, Davis, California.
5.5. World Wide Web Address
Austin, A. (1996) Annotated List of World Wide Web Technical Writing and Computer-Aided Composition Resources [Online]. Available: http://wwwcsif.cs.ucdavis.edu/~austina/cai.html.
Burke, J. (1992, January/February). Children's research and methods: What media researchers are doing, Journal of Advertising Research, 32, RC2-RC3. [CDROM]. Available: UMI File: Business Periodicals Ondisk Item: 92-11501.
Blood, T. (1995, November 30). Re: Brain implants: the Chinese made it! [Online] In Newsgroup: bionet.neuroscience, Available FTP: ftp.bio.indiana.edu, Directory: /usenet/bionet/neuroscience, File: 9512.newsm, Date: Thu, 30 Nov 1995 20:39:35.
Watson, L, and Dallwitz, M.J. (1990, December). Grass genera of the world-interactive identification and information retrieval. Flora Online: An Electronic Publication of TAXACOM (22). [Online]. Available FTP: huh.harvard.edu, Directory: pub/newsletters/flora.online/issue22, File:022gra11.txt.
American Psychological Association (APA) (2001). Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (Fifth Edition).Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.
Li, X. and Crane, N.B. (1993). Electronic style: A guide to citing electronic information. Westport, CT: Mecklermedia.
Here is a PDF version of this document.
Referencing your sources means systematically showing what information or ideas you are quoting or paraphrasing from another author’s work, and identifying where that information come from. You must cite research in order to do research, but at the same time, you must delineate what are your original thoughts and ideas and what are the thoughts and ideas of others.
Procedures used to reference the sources you have relied upon vary among different fields of study. However, always speak with your professor about what writing style for citing sources should be used for the class because it is important to fully understand the citation style to be used in your paper, and to apply it consistently. If your professor defers and tells you to "choose whatever you want, just be consistent," then choose the citation style you are most familiar with or that is appropriate to the discipline [e.g., use Chicago style if its a history class; use APA if its an education course; use MLA if it is a general writing course].
1. Should I avoid referencing other people's work?
No! Referencing other people's research is never an indication that your work is substandard or lacks originality if placed in the proper context. In fact, the opposite is true. If you write your paper without adequate references to previous studies, you are signaling to the reader that you are not familiar with the literature about the topic, thereby, undermining the validity of your study and your credibility as a researcher. Including references in academic writing not only defends you against allegations of plagiarism, but it is one of the most important ways to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of previous studies about the research problem. It is the intellectual packaging around which you present your study to the reader.
2. What should I do if I find that my idea has already been examined by another researcher?
Do not ignore another author's work because doing so will lead your readers to believe that you have either borrowed the idea or information without properly referencing it [this is plagiarism] and/or that you have failed to conduct a thorough review of the literature. You can acknowledge the other research by writing in the text of your paper something like this: [see also Smith, 2002], then citing the complete source in your list of references. Use the discovery of prior research is an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of the problem being investigated and, if applicable, as a means of delineating your analysis from those of others [e.g., the prior study in ten years old and doesn't take into account current conditions]. Reacting to prior research can include: stating how your study updates prior research, offering a new or different perspective, using a different method of data gathering, or describing a new set of recommendations, best practices, or working solutions.
3. What should I do if I want to use an adapted version of someone else's work?
You still must cite the original work. For example, maybe you are using a table of statistics from a journal article published in 1996 by author Smith, but you have altered or added new data to it. Reference the revised chart as: [adapted from Smith, 1996] then cite the complete source in your list of references. You can also use other terms in order to specify the exact relationship between the original source and the version you have presented, such as, "based on Smith ...," or "summarized from Smith ...." Citing the original source helps the reader locate where the information was first presented and under what context it was used as well as evaluate how effectively you adapted it.
4. What should I do if several authors have published very similar information or ideas?
You can indicate that the idea or information can be found in the work of others by stating something similar to the following example: "Though in fact many authors have applied this theory to understanding economic relations among nations [for example, see Smith, 1989; Jones, 19991; Johnson, 1994], little attention has been given to applying the theory to examining the actions of non-governmental organizations in a globalized economy." If you only reference one author or only the most recent study, then your readers may assume that only one author has published on this topic, or, conclude that you have not reviewed the literature thoroughly. Referencing all relevant authors of prior studies gives your readers a clear idea of the breadth of analysis you conducted in preparing to study the research problem. If there has been a lot of prior research on the topic, cite the most comprehensive and recent works because they will presumably discuss and cite the older studies, but note that there has been significant scholarship devoted to the topic so the reader knows that you are aware of this.
5. What if I find exactly what I want to say in the writing of another researcher?
In the social sciences, the rationale in duplicating prior research is generally governed by changing circumstances or conditions that warrant a new investigation. If someone else has thoroughly investigated precisely the same research problem as you, then you likely will have to change your topic, or at the very least, review the literature to identify something new to say about the problem. However, if it is someone else's particularly succinct expression, but it fits perfectly with what you are trying to say, then you can quote it directly, referencing the source. Don't see this as a setback or discouraged by the fact that the brilliant idea or important insight that you came up with on your own has already been identified by someone else. Discovering an author who has made the same point that you have is an opportunity to add legitimacy to, as well as reinforce the significance of, the research problem you are investigating. The key is to build on that idea in new and innovative ways.
6. Should I cite a source even if it was published long ago?
Obviously, any resource used in writing your paper should be cited, regardless of when the study was completed. However, in building a case for understanding prior research about your topic, it is generally true that you should focus on citing the most recently published studies because they presumably have built upon the research of older publications. This is particularly true of new or revised editions of books, unless an older edition has unique information not carried over into newer editions. When referencing prior studies, use the research problem as your guide concerning what to cite. If a study from forty years ago investigated the same research problem, it probably should be studied and included in your list of references because the research may have been a foundational or groundbreaking even if its findings are no longer relevant to current conditions or reflective of current thinking [one way to determine if a study is foundational or groundbreaking is to examine how often it has been cited in recent studies]. However, if an older study only relates to the research problem tangentially ot it has not been cited in more recent studies, then it may be more appropriate to list it under suggested readings.
Ballenger, Bruce P. The Curious Researcher: A Guide to Writing Research Papers. 7th edition. Boston, MA: Pearson, 2012;Harvard Guide to Using Sources. Harvard College Writing Program. Harvard University;How to Cite Other Sources in Your Paper. The Structure, Format, Content, and Style of a Journal-Style Scientific Paper. Department of Biology. Bates College; Lunsford, Andrea A. and Robert Connors; The St. Martin's Handbook. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1989; Mills, Elizabeth Shown. Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace. 3rd edition. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015; Research and Citation Resources. The Writing Lab and The OWL. Purdue University; Using Evidence. Writing Tutorial Services, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. Indiana University.