How to Properly Source and Cite for School Papers

It is well known that writing papers are a tedious task that needs to be dealt with carefully in the academic field. Acknowledge source & cite for school papers to make it errorless and more presentable.

While preparing papers, students are already puzzled with the responsibility of collecting data, lots of reading for fact-finding, and research work. So why burden oneself with the extra worry of copyright issues? Learn how to properly cite, and create a well-rounded and flawless academic paper properly.

Before we move to the question of the importance of citation for school papers, the beginners need to make themselves aware of the meaning of citation and acknowledging resources:

Preparing a school paper includes various steps, and each of them is equally significant. First, the writers should mind map about the topic chosen. It is followed by data collection, research work, and finally, the writer creates the final draft with their creativity. The more personal input the paper has from the writer, the unique it becomes. 

If you’re feeling the crunch of deadlines for school papers, you can breathe easy knowing you’re not alone. With multiple papers assigned for different classes (and even the same one) the last thing you want to worry about after working hours on a paper, is if the citations are correct. Read through our steps before submitting your final paper and saying hello to holiday break.

However, no matter how unique the writer’s thought may be, sometimes the actual work bears signs of the work from which the writer took inspiration. Whether intentional or accidental, fault makes the research papers null and leads them to duplicate content. 

Mentioning source & cite for school papers saves the writer from producing a plagiarized content unintentionally. The writer acknowledges the sources from where they have been inspired for the original writing and cites useful sources, including books, articles, e-books, journals, and other primary and secondary sources.

The Need for Citing Sources:

  • An original paper reflects the creativity of the writer. It is a brainchild of the creator that needs lots of effort on the part of the writer. The proper citation gives the writer the credit that they deserve.
  • A carelessly copied work without the mention of the source is nothing but a plagiarized content. Such content stands at a risk of being canceled by the school. It often leads to a deduction of marks and grades.
  • Academic papers without proper citation do not contain a proper value. Duplicated content does not only lead to the deduction of marks but also damages the reputation and goodwill of the writer. 
  • Many authors, organizations, publishers have legal copyright infringement over their content to avoid content theft. They limit unauthorized access over their content and can also take legal steps against the offenders. 
  • Citation and source prevent plagiarism. Plagiarism is a common problem faced in the academic field by all writers. Hence, it threatens the creativity and originality of a unique creation.
  • With the latest fast plagiarism checking tools, duplicated content can be identified within a few minutes. A citation is necessary to avoid unwanted consequences, followed by content theft.

  • Citation makes the readers aware of the variety of other sources for further reading. It encourages viewers to seek more related information and increases the popularity of one’s work.

  • Source and cite for school papers is an essential component. Without proper citation techniques, the paper is incomplete. Students need to be familiar with the art of proper citation before they try their hand at research paper presentation.

Format of Citation and Paper

Two of the most common forms of citations in both high school and college are MLA and Chicago. Teachers and professors alike favor a particular style depending on the type of course and writing. Be sure you understand which citation is preferred and that each piece is in the right place, ie author name, page number, published work, date, etc.

Another point to keep in mind besides citation style, is the formatting of the paper itself. It’s always a good idea to check if the paper should be double-spaced, use a specific font, and have a certain margin type. While these may seem like non-essential points, many teachers expect the papers in an exact format and you don’t want a grade lowered for any reason you can prevent.

Number of Quotes

When writing most papers, sources are a necessary requirement to make your paper well-rounded and support your claims. To cut down on redundant information and superfluous content, many teachers put a cap on the amount of quotes that can be used or how many lines.

Choose only the most important quotes that give the idea of what you are writing about. In some cases, truncating a quote will also suffice, as long as it supports the rest of the writing.

Quotations are helpful as it makes the reader or the examiner realize that the author has understood the concept. However, that does not mean that the writer will fill the research paper with quotations for this reason. 

Researchers should know that over-quoting can reduce the value of the paper. Only 10%-20% of quotes are allowed in a research paper. If a researcher gives more than that, then the quality of the paper will suffer. Thus, affecting the academic career of that person, which is not at all desirable.

How to Cite Sources?

The basic guidelines for citation in all styles are similar, which includes the mention of:

  • Author: The initials of the author are generally used in the citation. In the case of two writers, the names are separated with a comma. If the written piece does not contain any details of the author, the first few references of the actual work are mention in that place.
  • Date of Publication: One main component of writing bibliography is mentioning the publish date of the piece. In case of unavailability of the date (n.d) is used.
  • Title of the source: In the chronological order book, the article title is followed by the author’s name.
  • Page Number: Whether an e-book or a printed one mentioning the page number of the written work is a must. In cases when the page number is not available for any online content, other details like the webpage address of the work are provided.
  • Journal or article in printed or online format: For journals and articles, the title of the issue, publishing date, publisher details, volume, and issue number need to be mentioned.
  • Web page: Along with other details, the web page address or URL is given in the bibliography. If the writer’s source is available on a particular web page, it is also provided. 
  • Other details: Other than the mentioned sources, if the writer makes use of any other mode like TV programs, movies, songs, and other such things that sources are also required to have a proper citation based on the different styles.
  • Parenthetical citation: This is applicable for MLA format, where the writers mention the source if lines are quoted. 
  • Format: Generally, the citation starts at the end of the entire document. For easy reference of the readers, the listing of different sources is completed in alphabetical order. This process of citation is known as the bibliography.

Scan for Plagiarism

Now that the reader is quite aware of the various citation styles, now comes the importance of using the plagiarism checker. Well, the writer needs to use a plagiarism checker to know if they have missed any citation. If they have missed it, the checker will highlight that part as plagiarized. 


The final step before submitting your paper is to check that all of your sources have been cited. One of the easiest ways to do this is check your paper for plagiarism with an easy scan. Copyleaks allows you to see all of the sources that are included in your paper, along with the percentage of similarity to each source. This is helpful for when you forget to include quotes and the source (and even better for making sure you’re not accused of plagiarism!)

Writing a paper is only half the work, but knowing how to cite and source can make all the difference. Be sure to know where all of your sources come from with Copyleaks.


When to Cite Sources?

  • Whether in a printed form like a book, article, research papers, or digital content like an e-book, web pages, and images, everything requires citation. 
  • Taking inspiration from someone’s idea or summarizing someone else’s work also demands acknowledgment.

How Do You Write References?

  • It is better to take the help of those resources that are not older than five years To cite sources in the reference list. However, in some instances, exceptions can be made.
  • Sources, those are there in the main content as an in-text citation, or as footnotes, should be there in the reference list. The list should be organized alphabetically, and in some cases, numerically.
  • There can be journals that have not been published but used in the main content. The writer can acknowledge those journals. However, they are not part of the same reference list. They should be numbered separately.
  • The authors can cite poster sessions in their reference list; however, it is better not to cite personal communication, if not very important. But the citation will not be there in the reference list. With their art of writing, the author should mention this in the main content. If required, provide a parenthesis to the conversation, with the name of the person with whom the conversation took place and the date.
  • Manuscripts, submitted, but not accepted, should not be in the reference list, but in the “unpublished observation.” Also, the author needs to provide written permission, that they had, from the source.

Should You Include a Reference on Your CV?

If an author has published any work, single-handedly, or in collaboration, they should include it in their CV, especially if the job application demands it. It will give the employer a chance to see the work, first hand, and judge the candidate’s quality.

What Should You Include in a Reference?

The reference list contains those citations that have already been there in the main content, but, in an elaborate way, with the author’s name, publication edition, date, place, and various other things

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