Citations are essential in academic and intellectual writing as they reference the sources used to support ideas and arguments. Disregarding citation procedures and failing to cite sources can result in plagiarism. Citing references is critical in scholarly writing, literature reviews, and other writing forms that value credibility and accuracy.

For instance, in a blog post discussing the benefits of exercise, the author presents claims about its impact on mental health, like “Exercise can reduce anxiety and depression.” This statement lacks citations. On the other hand, the author can back up their claims by citing a study from the Journal of Psychiatric Research (Smith et al., 2020) that reveals how regular exercise can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. By providing a reference, the author reinforces their argument and provides evidence for their claims.

Here is an in-depth guide on what is reference in research.

What is Referencing in Research?

Citation styles are vital in academic writing, recognizing and citing online sources while following a style guide. Referencing common knowledge, opinions, ideas, and theories involves creating a reference list that includes publication year and page numbers while also applying proper capitalization. This process supports credibility and allows verification of information.

Here are the benefits of correct referencing:

APA Style Referencing

APA style, commonly used in social science academic papers, provides standards for writing style, formatting, and citing sources to ensure accuracy and clarity. In an APA style referencing tutorial, both parenthetical in-text citations and reference list citations are included. APA style citation format differs from MLA and Chicago style citation formats. Parentheses are used in APA style for in-text citations.

An example of an APA reference is Smith, J. D. (2019). The effects of social media on mental health. Journal of Social Psychology, 150(2), 267-278.

MLA Style Referencing

MLA style, commonly used in the humanities, emphasizes the author-page style of in-text citation and is another popular citation and reference format. In the works cited section, the author’s name, publishing details, title, and medium of publication are listed in alphabetical order. The first author’s last name is used in MLA style to arrange entries in the works cited section.

An example of MLA style is Smith, John. “The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health of New York College Students.” Journal of Social Psychology, vol. 150, no. 2, 2019, pp. 267-278.

This format and in-text citation style are distinctive because they offer a standardized method for citing sources in academic work to prevent writing issues like plagiarism.

5 Types of Information You Need to Reference in Your Research

In a research paper, references to a variety of reliable sources of data get frequently used. Here are some types of information that you need to reference.


Journal Articles

Journal papers and articles generally cover a broad range of topics in different academic fields of study and are published in scholarly journals. They provide detailed information on research studies, experiments, and theories and often get used as primary sources of information for academic research.

The author’s name, the article’s title, the journal’s name, the volume and issue number, the year of publication, and the page numbers must all be present when citing journal articles in research. Readers will then use this information to find the initial source of information and confirm its accuracy.

Author’s Name

The primary source identification method is frequently the author’s name, primarily when several works have been published on the same subject. Readers would find it challenging to locate the information you are quoting without the author’s identity, and they would be unable to find the source independently.

The author’s identity is also vital to determining the source’s reliability. Readers can assess an author’s credentials and area of knowledge, as well as any biases or conflicts of interest, by learning the author’s name.

Date of Publication

Establishing relevance is especially crucial in areas that change quickly, like science and technology, where findings from previous studies can quickly become dated. The publication date can also offer crucial background details, such as the historical, cultural, or political environment in which the work got created.


In the modern era of information, web pages have become an everyday source of data and knowledge for researchers. It is crucial to use websites as data sources when conducting research. Web page citations must include the URL, date accessed, author or organization responsible for the material, and page title.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Peer-reviewed papers are trustworthy and authoritative sources of information, so as a researcher, you must cite them in your work. These papers have undergone expert scrutiny, and any assertions or conclusions have been examined for validity and accuracy.

Therefore, citing peer-reviewed articles lends credibility to your study by allowing you to quote data that has already undergone a rigorous review to back up your claims.

Reference Page vs. In-Text Citations

Use an in-text citation to cite a particular piece of information or idea within a paragraph which helps avoid plagiarism in literature. It depends on the citation style and entails adding the author’s name and the year of publication in parentheses after the pertinent data.

On the other hand, reference pages offer a thorough list of all the sources used in writing and get placed after a document and help avoid copyright infringement. These citations usually include the author’s name, the work’s title, the year it was published, and any additional pertinent details, like the referenced material’s publisher or page numbers.

Final Thoughts

References are essential to research because they enable the reader to confirm the validity and accuracy of the data provided in a paper. Giving credit to the original writers through references also aids in their efforts to avoid plagiarism. 

Quetext offers a powerful plagiarism checker to help researchers ensure their work is original and properly cited. Try our plagiarism checker today and experience the peace of mind of knowing your work is original and properly cited.