A citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source that you used to gather information for your research work. A citation is like a label that identifies its source, so that other people can find out about it later if they want to. There are many different types of citations, but they all serve the same purpose of identifying sources.
References are important elements in any type of writing project, including essays. An essay that lacks references may be dismissed by readers as someone who cannot back up their claims. Even if an essay is not considered scientific, such as an opinion piece, it is still recommended to include some form of citation when using information from other sources to support your arguments or ideas.
The easiest way to cite sources in essay writing is with footnotes. A footnote is a comment on a page or paragraph that provides information about another source. Footnotes can only be used in physical books or magazines, not online. They are placed at the bottom of the page with space after it for adding more information. The original source can be identified by number or lettering, depending on the publisher.
Footnotes are useful for explaining concepts or details about a topic which would otherwise distract from the main message of the essay.
What exactly is a citation?
Citing a source involves demonstrating inside the body of your writing that you borrowed words, ideas, figures, images, and so on from another source. Citations are a quick way to identify a published work (e.g. a book, article, chapter, or website). When you cite something, you show that you have read and understand it, and you give credit where it is due.
Citations are like tickets that prove that you have been to certain places and done certain things. These tickets are called references. References are important because they demonstrate that you have done some research and can back up what you say with evidence. Without citations, people would just assume everything you wrote was yours alone.
References can be cited in three forms: parenthetical, end-of-sentence, and within the text itself. Parenthetical citations are used when the information being cited is included as part of a quote. End-of-sentence citations are used when the information being cited comes after a series of sentences. Within-sentence citations are used when the information being cited comes before a series of sentences.
For example, if I were writing about monkeys and used a phrase that someone else had previously used with regard to computers, I would need to provide a reference. This could be done by adding "according to Monkeys vs. Machines" or something similar after the fact.
A citation specifies the original source of an idea, piece of information, or image that is referred to in a work for the reader. The in-text citation acknowledges the source of information utilized in the body of a work. Citations are collated into a reference or works cited list at the conclusion of a publication. They are included to acknowledge authorship and ownership rights, to provide readers with access to other relevant literature, and to help researchers trace their own work through multiple publications.
Citations can be classified as direct or indirect. If the referenced material is found in another book or article, this fact is indicated by including the author's name and date of publication within the text of the work. These are called "direct" citations. If the reference is not to a published article, it is called an "undirected" citation. Undirected citations are used when there is no way to identify which published work contains the information being cited.
For example, if a researcher studies materials science at two different universities over the course of several years, they would use undirected citations because they cannot tell which faculty member's research papers describe the study results from either university. However, if that same researcher cites one of these articles in a later paper, they would use directed citations because they know which university's work is being referred to.
Directly citing a single source is important because it helps others find related work.