Rules of citation in writing


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A citation is a reference to a source that you consulted or obtained information from while writing a college or professional research paper. Failure to do so results in a grave academic offense known as plagiarism.

There are different style manuals, and each has different rules for the style of citation and format used in a paper, among those, the most popular type of referencing, including APA and MLA.

Under the APA style manual, you use the author's last name and the year of publication, and for direct quotation, include the number page. For example, Derwing et al., 2002; Thomas, 2004.

There are many other rules of citations under the APA referencing style. But before we get into that, you should consider using a writing service for help. All this can be challenging to absorb, especially if you are new to academic writing. 

For such reasons, it would be best if you used an APA paper writing service. Not only are they fast and reliable, but they significantly put you at great odds of submitting a high grade on your paper.

With that said, here are some rules of APA writing.

Follow the Appropriate APA Format

APA stands for (American Psychological Association). It is a style of referencing commonly used in education, psychology, and education. It has its format and structure different from the other citation styles.

Under the APA format, you must;

  • Have the page margins on your document set to 1 inch on all sides.
  • Use ‘double-space.’
  • Have an indentation on the first line of every paragraph. This needs to be set at 0.5
  • Use Times New Roman (11).

An APA format paper will assume the following format/structure;

A Page Header

Every page under this style of referencing must have a page header. In the header, you must have a shortened title followed by a page number. This is also called the running head.

A Title Page

A title page consists of your details, including the author name, school affiliation title of the article, and the date, among other things. Contents of the title page will vary depending on the instructions from your lecturer.

An Abstract

It is a summary of the paper that follows the title page. You are basically communicating to the reader a summary of your main arguments as listed in the article.

Speaking of communication, your main arguments must be well explained. Consider using simple and easy to understand language. Communication skills of college students always seem to be lacking in such areas. So, it would be great if you polished such skills from time to time.

Main Body

As the name suggests, this is the bulk of the article. Your main points and ideas are to be listed here and properly-referenced.


References make up the last section of your paper. Any piece of material cited in the main body should be appropriately listed under this section.

How to Properly Write In-Text Citations

In-text citations refer to those citations listed in the main body of your text. As you are writing, remember to cite the author when referencing any published works. Under the APA style of referencing, you must write the authors' surname followed by publication date as follows.

For example, if you were to cite an author named John Doe who wrote the book in 2021, you would do it like this; (Doe, 2021).

How to Properly Write References on the References page

You must have references at the top of the page separate from the rest of the text. Consider using a page break to help you achieve this. Your book references under APA should start with the name(s) of the authors followed by the date, title of the book (it must be italicised), location, and other publication details, respectively. Here is an example;

  • Russell, S. J., & Norvig, P. (2020). Artificial intelligence: A modern approach. Boston: Pearsonz

Bottom Line

The text above contains guidelines that should make referencing a fairly straightforward process. The key is always to practise to sharpen your academic writing skills. But you could always look for help if you are having challenges while referencing.

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