As hard as it is to believe, another year of writing assignments and research papers has gone by. While the overall concepts and best practices about writing remain constant, each year brings new lessons to learn that can make your papers stronger than ever. As you prepare for another semester, read these citation resolutions that will help you make your first assignment in 2019 the best yet!
1. I will create citations as I write my paper instead of waiting until the end
As you write your paper, be sure to include references within the text that correspond with references on a works cited page or bibliography. These are called “in-text” or “parenthetical” citations. The most effective time to complete these is directly after you have made your reference to another source. What is great about this system is that these in-text citations serve as a natural list for all of the citations that you have made in your paper, which will make completing the works cited page a whole lot easier. After you are done writing, all that will be left for you to do is scan your paper for these references, and then build a works cited page that includes a citation for each one.
2. I will be careful to include citations when I paraphrase
Paraphrasing another source is an effective way to include outside information in your paper without interrupting your writing flow. However, you always need to include a citation after you paraphrase in your paper. Neglecting to do so is plagiarism, and can have serious academic consequences. Including an accurate parenthetical or in-text citation will help you avoid making this costly mistake.
3. I will be consistent with my citation style
Some classes require you use MLA format, while others may require APA format, Chicago, or even Harvard referencing. These specifications can be difficult to keep track of, but being consistent with your style is perhaps the easiest thing you can do to make sure you have well-written citations. Double-checking your citations at the end of your paper before handing it in can lead to good last minute improvements and can prevent you from unnecessarily losing points.
4. I will cite accurately, not excessively
While it is important to include citations in your paper, you shouldn’t be including them after each and every sentence you write. The important thing to remember is to cite only if you are including information from an outside source. This information should only be included if you feel that it backs up your claim effectively enough to the point where another researcher could potentially find that source and identify it as being related to your argument. Remember, your paper should be about your own original ideas, not just a list of ideas from other sources.
5. I will consider the trustworthiness of each source before including it in my paper
Collecting outside sources that support your research and specific topic is a critical step in writing an effective paper. But it is extremely important to remember that choosing to include a reference to another source in your paper is a decision not to be taken lightly. Before you proceed with using a source from another author, run a quick internet search for it and see if other scholars in your field have written about it as well. It is also a good idea to check to see if there are book reviews about it or other peer accolades. If you spot something that seems off to you, you may want to consider leaving it out of your work. Doing this before your start making citations can save you a ton of time in the long run.
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