Research Paper Citation Methods: Basic Rules For Students

In discussing research paper citation methods, it is important that you understand that your field of study usually determines the type of citation you use. It could be MLA or it could be APA which are the two most popular citation formats. While those in the arts field use the former, students in the science and social science fields mostly use APA. Based on this, there are several basic rules to which students must abide when citing their work. Failure to abide by these given rules would surely lead to loss of some points. So, it becomes important that you find out the much you can about these basic rules of citation.

First up on the basic rules of citation for your research paper are those related to APA style and they are as follows:

  • The font type should be Times New Roman and the font size is 12.
  • The paper margins should be set at 1” on both sides of the paper, including top and bottom.
  • The typing is spaced double. This applies to appendixes and footnotes
  • The alignment for the paper should be justified. This means that the right hand side of your paper’s content has to be flush.
  • The page number is done on the right hand side of the paper, at least 1” from the edge of the paper.

Now let’s look at the basic rules for citing your research paper in the MLA format. They include the following:

  • Just like the APA format, the margin should be set at 1” for all sides of the paper.
  • The font size used is 12 points and the font type is the traditional Times New Roman.
  • Double line spacing is utilized throughout the body of the article.
  • The academic paper should be written using active voice tone.
  • There should be a consistent use of tenses

Just as mentioned earlier, the trick to following these basic rules are determined by your ability to determine the citation format your professor or field of study requires. If you are not quite sure of this, it would not hurt to make enquiries before you start writing. With this determined, you can be doubly sure of following the right citation method by getting sample research papers. Seeing how other students structured their citation would then give you firsthand information on how to appropriately cite the sources used in writing your paper. Now you can see that the rules are not rigorous and with full attention to details, you can write a wonderful paper.

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