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What Is A Citation Generator?

May 13, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 188


The information presented here is for anyone who contemplates writing academic documents, scientific articles and papers, and not for those that write ordinary text, e.g. articles for blog posts. Citations in academic articles are usually written in-text, e.g. in the body of the document, and at the end of the manuscript, for example in a reference list or a list of works cited. Regardless of where the citation is written in the document, it needs to comply with certain rules governing the citation of sources.

Formatting the references

Citation generators help pupils, students, and other authors create proper citations when they write documents. All citation generators have one thing in common: they offer help to authors who want to know how a source may be cited in a document. There are several set of rules available (also referred to as citation systems). And I have listed three common systems below. There is not enough space here to go through them all in detail, but these three (APA Style, MLA Style, and Chicago/Turabian note style) are the backbones of millions of academic documents where proper citation is a must. Citation generators follow the rules within these citation systems. For example, if you are using an APA Style citation generator, it will adhere to the rules and recommendations of the APA Style.

What is APA formatting?

APA Style is recommended by the American Psychology Association (APA) and it is often used in the social sciences, such as psychology, sociology, and education. APA Style is a parenthesis system which means that the in-text citations are written is such a fashion that the authors' last names and the years of publication are reported. For example, if you are citing a book published 2012 by John Smith, you will put this in your running text, like so (Smith, 2012). You write the full citation under the heading References towards the end of your manuscript. Complicated? Not sure how to do it? Do not worry. Good online citation generators will help you with this.

What is MLA formatting?

MLA Style is recommended by the Modern Language Association (MLA) and it is often used in the humanities and the arts. It is also a parenthesis system, like APA, where the cited author's last name is written within brackets in the running text. Using the same book as above as an example, the MLA formatted in-text citation should be (Smith). However, unlike APA, you do not need to write the year of publication. You may add the page that you are citing, though. For example, you may write (Smith, 79) if you are citing page 79 of the same book. The list of references is called a Works Cited list, within the MLA system.

What is Chicago/Turabian formatting?

Chicago/Turabian note style is, as one would guess, a style where the use of notes is recommended. It means that you do not put the in-text citation within brackets. Rather, you insert a superscript number (a footnote or endnote number) in your running text, and in that footnote/endnote, you write the citation. And towards the end of your manuscript, you write the full citation again. Do not worry if is sounds complicated because it is really simple in practise. A good online citation generator will help you with this as well.

In summary

It is important to pick the right system, and to follow it in detail. A citation generator cannot pick the system for you. That is something you must do. Once you have selected a system, you need to create the citations and insert them into your manuscript and this is something that the citation generator can help you with. Also, it is up to you to find your personal favorite generator, and to learn how to use it. There are plenty of citation generators to be found online, if you search via Google using phrases such as 'free citation generator' or 'how to write citations'. Good luck with your writing!

Kent Lofgren works as a teacher and researcher at a university in Sweden. He has created a citation machine for students, professors, scholars, and other professionals who author academic texts and need support and help with their citations.

Source: EzineArticles
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