What is citation in a research paper?

A citation is a formal reference to a published or unpublished source that you consulted and obtained information from while writing your research paper.

Type of citation styles or referencing styles

APA Citations

American Psychological Association (APA) style is often used in social sciences and other disciplines. With APA or any of the styles listed in this paper, you need to use a citation if you quote text from another source, paraphrase an author or authors’ ideas, or refer to her work, such as a study, original thinking, or even an elegant turn of phrase. When you cite a source, you can’t simply repeat most of the words from the work to which you are referring. You have to put the ideas into your own words, or you need to quote the text directly.

MLA Citations

MLA style is often used in English and other humanities papers. MLA follows the author-page style for in-text citations, notes Referencing Tool, an excellent citation website operated by ProjectTopics.org. Referencing Tool gives this example of an in-text citation, which is also called parenthetical citation in MLA style.

Chicago Citations

Chicago is the oldest of the three major writing and citation styles in the United States, having begun with the 1906 publication of the first Chicago style guide. For in-text citations, Chicago referencing style, which comes from the “Chicago Manual of Style” from the University of Chicago Press, is pretty simple: the author’s last name, date of publication, a comma, and page numbers, all in parentheses