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How to Write Good Academic Papers: Easy Guide for Beginners

How to Write Good Academic Papers: Easy Guide for Beginners

Have no idea how start an engaging introduction paragraph in your history essay? Need advice on how to write good academic paper — you are not alone. Academic writing is an important skill for the success in higher education and in any career field but many university students find their written assignments too challenging and often consider them to be a form of a medieval torture.

Why is it so? The problem is that a lot of high school graduates enter colleges and universities having no idea how to complete grammatically correct sentences that make sense, to say nothing about writing a college-level academic paper because no one taught them how to do it right and present a clear, logical and convincing argument.

If you struggle with similar issues, read this article where you will find a complete guide on how to write good academic papers. We will provide you with all necessary information. You can order a well-written model essay on our website to have a better understanding of the general rules of academic writing and the proper paper structure and format.

How to Write Academic Paper: Main Points to Consider

Many young people have difficulties with academic paper writing. This type of writing is specific and differs a lot from what you were asked to produce in high school because it involves a lot of reading, doing in-depth research of scholarly literature, planning, revising, making changes in content and structure, rewriting, editing, proofreading, and formatting. Don’t be scared. Writing is a skill that any student can learn and master. We hope that this short guide will explain everything you need to succeed.

What is an academic paper? This type of writing can be defined in many ways and your instructors can give different names to these assignments – essay, term paper, analysis essay but all of them have the same purpose and are based on the same principles.

The goal of completing written assignments is to show that you have a profound knowledge of a specific topic and to share your own thoughts about a scientific question or an issue that may be of interest to your audience – students, your professor, and other scholars. You have to demonstrate your critical thinking skills.

General Principles

Take into account 8 key principle of academic writing.

  • Your papers must have a clear purpose (inform, analyze, synthesize or persuade) and answer your topic question.
  • Your papers must present your original point of view.
  • Your writing must have a single focus – all paragraphs have to include relevant evidence (facts, expert opinions, quotations, examples) to support your thesis statement.
  • You must follow a standard organizational pattern. Every academic text must include the following parts: an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. Some papers may require an abstract.
  • As an author, you need to provide clear, logical, and simple explanations to your reader.
  • You should refer to a number of scholarly sources. You need to integrate source materials into your discussion. Take care to include all sources (books, articles from a scientific journal, publications on online resources) that you cite, introduce, analyze or explain on a reference list in the bibliography page.
  • To ensure academic integrity, all college essays should be formatted in accordance with the requirements of one of the specific citation styles – APA, MLA, Harvard, Chicago that determine the rules for in-text citations, paper sections, format, reference list.
  • You need to use your own words. Don’t try to be too formal or you may sound boring to your readers. Use natural language, common for conversations.

Essential Steps of the Writing Process

Writing an academic paper can be done step-by-step. If you are a beginner, you can follow these steps that have worked for millions of college students; they can save you a lot of time.

  1. Select an interesting topic. If you lack ideas, you may search the internet using Google, look through your lecture notes, and consider your course readings or current news.
  2. Do research and record sources’ information. Keep in mind that you may need to continue research as you discover thesis, make an outline, write and revise the document.
  3. Formulate a strong thesis statement that you will argue.
  4. Plan your essay and make a basic outline. Take notes from your sources and add details to your outline and make sure that you have supporting evidence for your points.
  5. Write the first draft of your essay. You can start from any part and you shouldn’t worry about grammar, punctuation and spelling as you construct your sentences. You will fix it later.
  6. Revise your first draft and improve the content, logic, and the flow. Make transitions between your ideas. Make changes to improve the content and rewrite your draft. You may need to do it more than once.
  7. Edit and proofread your final draft to ensure that your essay is flawless.

These are basic steps. When you gain experience, you may think about a different order that can work best for you. Find that this process complicated? Buy a professionally written sample to analyze it and see how your essay should look like!

Let’s discuss the major steps of the writing process.

Thesis Statement

A thesis statement determines the main argument of your essay. A good thesis statement expresses the main idea of your essay, presents your own point of view, and gives an answer to your research question. The success of your entire project depends on your thesis and you need to do your best to ensure that it is debatable, specific, and concise. Try to write your thesis early. It will help you stay focused when you do research and take notes.


Introductions and conclusions are very important. The introduction introduces your argument to your reader and convinces them why they should care about reading your paper. Your task is to engage your audience. Wondering how to do it? Check this useful article on our blog that discusses engaging strategies for starting an essay.

Start your introduction with attention grabber and provide background information about the significance of your topic, introduce a subject, and give some definitions of the key terms. End your introduction with a thesis statement.

Body Paragraphs

Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence; don’t begin a paragraph with a fact. The topic sentence should present the main idea of the paragraph and express your point of view. In the next sentences, you should support the topic sentence with additional supporting ideas, specific details, interesting facts, statistics, clear explanations, relevant examples. All supporting sentences should be logical. You should make sure they are connected with connection words to help your reader follow your argument.

Finish every paragraph with a concluding sentence. It should be your own idea and not a source citation. The last sentence in a paragraph should review the key points you have discussed in it, emphasize your main idea or your thesis statement, and prepare your audience to the points that you are going to discuss in the next paragraph.

Don’t make your paragraphs too long. People find it difficult to focus on large blocks of text; paragraphs shouldn’t be longer than ¾ of a page. If you discover that your paragraph is very long, divide it logically into two separate paragraphs.


This part of your paper is the most important. Actually, readers remember the first and the last parts of what they read; a conclusion is your last chance to make an impression and show the significance of your findings. How can you achieve that? When writing a conclusion, you need to provide connections to the previous ideas, briefly summarize your findings or restate the thesis. You shouldn’t include any new information. Finish your essay with a strong concluding statement that your readers will remember.


No one can write a perfect first draft. It’s impossible — revising is critical if you want to impress your professor and get a high grade for your work. You should start revising the content at least a week before your paper is due. You can use another strategy as well — revise individual paragraphs as you write them. Be ready that you may need to write more than one draft or revise your paper several times.

Read your paper and make changes to fix it and make impeccable. You can do it in a number of ways.

  • Eliminate irrelevant ideas and unnecessary information
  • Add new explanations, details, points to ensure additional support for your argument
  • Rewrite paragraphs and sentences to present your ideas better
  • Re-organize paragraphs and sentences to make your paper logical

Editing and proofreading

Do you like your essay’s content? If you do, it’s time to edit it and add finishing touches. The goal of editing is making your writing clearer, more precise to ensure that your readers will be able to understand it.

How should you do it? You may ask someone to read your essay and request their feedback. You can read your college paper aloud yourself to hear the lack of clarity, repetition, wordiness, grammar mistakes and correct them. Use English dictionaries and grammar books.

You should use the following editing strategies to make your essay as best as it can be.

  • Fix sentences with the passive voice
  • Improve word choice by replacing long words with shorter ones
  • Improve sentence structure and word order – correct run-ons and fragments
  • Fix the logic, flow, and connections between ideas
  • Rewrite long sentences and make them concise; eliminate unnecessary sentences in paragraphs if they don’t convey new messages
  • Fix repetition and use thesaurus to find synonyms

When you finish editing, proofread your essay and fix minor errors, careless mistakes, typos. Check punctuation and spelling. Use the printed copy to notice mistakes you may overlook on a computer screen. Start proofreading with the last sentence and go backward; in this way, you will focus on spelling and grammar and not on the content.


We have discussed how to write academic paper. Let’s talk about another important aspect of your future essay – citations. To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit to other people whose ideas you use in your own work.

You have the right to express your opinions. You have the right to use ideas of people to support your argument and draw conclusions, but it’s your responsibility to inform your audience which ideas in your essay are not yours and which are your own. With proper citations, you demonstrate that you understand the significance of other people’s research, findings, and ideas in developing your own argument.

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How to cite your sources? You should include in-text citations in accordance with the guidelines of the citation style recommended by your instructor. You are required to include a list of the sources you have cited at the end of your paper. Don’t cite works that are not in your bibliography.

Follow these guidelines and useful tips to create great papers and impress your professor. Need interesting topic ideas for your projects? Check other articles on our blog.

Writing academically on a college level is a hard work that requires a lot of time and effort. You can’t become a confident writer in a few days if you just read grammar and style guides no matter how full and detailed they are. You have to practice a lot. It means working for many hours every day.

If you are not sure that you can cope with your complicated assignment on your own, you can pay to get professional help in any subject from experts on our site. Our writers can provide you with quality sample papers on different topics that will be perfect in content and style. They are sure to be free of errors. You can use paid custom papers as good templates you can follow when creating your own works and understand how to write good academic papers. In this way, you can easily improve your analytical, critical and writing skills and become a successful student who gets high grades.

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The topic of the first article will be how 5G and cloud gaming are changing the market. We will need to include references to other media publications to insure any stats or facts have references. You will be required to look at trends, and either find reputable predictions about the industry or make some of your own based on references.

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We are looking to build up some thought leadership and opinion pieces for our blog. These pieces will be discussing various opinions such as: current state of the industry, the rise of mobile gaming, how 5G and cloud gaming will change the market, peripherals, etc etc.

I am looking for a writer just for the first article, for now, to see if we get approval from the team.

The topic of the first article will be how 5G and cloud gaming are changing the market. We will need to include references to other media publications to insure any stats or facts have references. You will be required to look at trends, and either find reputable predictions about the industry or make some of your own based on references.

Will be paying $0.10/w.

Please provide some writing samples as a word document or a portfolio that I can read through.

Thanks for your time.

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How to Write A Letter: Writing the Perfect Formal and Informal Letter!

How to Write A Letter? Writing the perfect letter takes skill, practice, and observation of your writing habits. If you’re not careful, you may make a simple mistake of writing “then” instead of “than“, creating complex sentences, or use excessive passive voice. Today, various businesses and individuals use formal and informal letters to establish a connection between businesses, clients, or each other on a casual basis. When writing a letter, it should sound natural, like you’re verbally talking to your audience, and straight to the point.

Unfortunately, some do not know how to write a letter correctly and establish proper communication skills. Listed below are two sections that break down how to properly write a formal letter and an informal letter. In the end, we are going to decide the type of letter is preferable overall! So pull out your pens and paper and get ready to write the best letter you’ve ever written before; or take detailed notes on how to write a letter, whichever floats your boat.

Table of Contents

How to Write A Letter

Formal Letter

What is A Formal Letter?

A formal letter is used when connecting with important businesses and personnel. For example, if you’re having issues with your current work schedule and need your hours adjusted accordingly, one way to communicate your concern is via email or by hand in a formal letter.

Step By Step Formal Letter Writing

In the example above, we began with a common issue. Even if your work schedule isn’t the issue, the idea is that you are needing to contact your employer on a serious business matter. When approaching and having a conversation with your employer, it is common courtesy to handle the situation respectfully and professionally as much as possible.

  • Step One : Addressing the respective party

In this situation, you will have to type or create a letter expressing your problem or concern with him or her. First, you would begin with knowing to whom you’re addressing the issue. If you don’t know their name, that is okay. It is recommendable to reach out to your employer or HR department and do light research about the person you’re needing to speak to. Once you have their name, include a personal title, like Mr., Mrs., Miss if unmarried, Ms. if she would like to remain unknown or the status is unknown, and Dr.

  • Step Two : Putting your thoughts, concern, and ideas in a professional tone

Please do not begin the formal letter like you’re speaking to one of your peers or best friends. Starting with, “Sup homie, yo I got an issue that needs fixin’,” will not grant you access for assistance and potential judgment will be cast upon your approach. Take a step back and breathe, then think about what you’re going to say.

For example, start off with either:

  1. Hello to whom this may concern. My name is (blank), and I have a question pertaining to my work schedule.
  2. Good morning/afternoon, my name is (blank), and I am working the morning/night shift in the (blank) department. I have several questions in regards to my work schedule and would like to set up a meeting to address the issue.
  3. Dear Mr. or Mrs. (blank)
  4. Dear (blank).
  • Step Three : Body and Conclusion

After starting your letter, now it is time to dig deep into the problem at hand and address the issue. Be cautious of common spelling errors and punctuation misplacements. For some people who are not natural writers, they would include either complex sentences or long words and phrases to fill in the gap.

Complex sentences will only distract your reader’s mind. This will also cause them to re-read your letter several times, cause serious confusion about your issue, or not receive a clear message as to what you’re saying. Also, avoid long phrases and run-on sentences. The goal is to have them understand the main message, clearly and concisely.

Once you’re finished writing your letter, then it is time to bring it to a friendly close and sign off on it. Some professionals recommend saying “thank you” or “best regards” at the end of the letter. This shows that you appreciate the time the reader is giving you in helping you through your situation. Finally, include your name at the bottom of the letter and press send! Your name at the bottom is like a signature from you since it is your letter.

Informal Letter

What is An Informal Letter?

An informal letter is similar to a formal letter but more relaxed. It doesn’t require the exact same structure and formalities and has a personal and informal tone to it. Generally, you’ll use an informal letter with your friends, family, close and long distant relatives, or your neighbor’s cat (okay, maybe not your neighbor’s cat).

How to Perfect An Informal Letter

There’s not much in writing an informal letter to someone you know on a personal level. Your co-workers or business partners do not count since they’re associated with your employer and engaging in an unconducted manner. like sending an informal letter, will cause unnecessary problems.

Generally, focusing your letter in a friendly and welcoming tone is beneficial to your reader. You’re getting them engaged in the conversation and it’s full of positive feelings. Even sending an invitation is considered a social letter. At the end of your letter, you can conclude an affectionate note like “lovingly“, “yours truly“, or “best wishes“. Again, make sure you include your name at the end.

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Informal vs. Formal: Which is Better?

Both types of letters serve a valid use, depending on one’s situation. As mentioned above, if you’re creating a letter for your employer, the HR department, a local or federal government, or even the President, then it is wise to use a formal letter. If you’re seeking to engage with your peers, needing a quick pick-me-up, or wanting to update your great-great-great grandpappy about his great-great-great-grandchildren, then using an informal letter will be your preferred option.

Still, the concept of appropriate language, proper spelling, and grammar, along with unique vocabulary that makes sense, is strongly advised in any and every letter you write. Even if you’re practicing on your downtime, it doesn’t hurt to write what your heart feels like or put your ideas on paper to gain a better sense of everything before molding your letter in the way it should be.

7 Steps in Writing a Research Paper: Enjoy Your Student Life

How to Write a Research Paper

Are you staring at the blank page on your screen and have no idea how to approach your challenging research paper? Research papers are complex and time-consuming assignments and what is really important they make up a large part of student’s grade in all classes. It’s not a secret that academic writing is hard but written communication skills are essential for your success in college, graduate school, and in your future career. That’s why you should work hard to master the art of paper writing.

If you are not sure where to start, read this article to learn about effective strategies that make this process as painless as possible.

How to Write an APA Research Paper

We’ll break down the writing process into easy steps to help you understand how to write a research paper fast no matter how long it must be.

Step 1. Choose a Topic

Sometimes college students are assigned with their research paper topics, but if you are fortunate enough to have such an option, choose your topic wisely. First of all, think about choosing a challenging topic you are interested in. Then, you won’t be bored when doing the research because you are sure to discover something new and you’ll enjoy the writing process. Don’t select subjects that are too technical or general.

If your topic is too broad, your research paper is unlikely to be successful because it will look like a general overview. You should narrow your topic down to a certain aspect, concept or idea and make it specific and manageable. For example, if your topic is “Global Warming”, you should narrow it to “Causes of Global Warming”, “Impact of Global Warming on Human Health” or something like that.

Step 2. Write a Working Thesis Statement

Write a Working Thesis Statement

Prepare a working thesis before you actually organize your research because it will guide your investigation and will help you stay focused on your subject. Your thesis statement should be concise and reflect the type of paper you are writing. All research papers can be divided into 3 categories:

  • argumentative or persuasive if you are arguing the conclusion;
  • expository when you explain information;
  • analytical when you present your analysis of certain information.

You have to devote enough of your precious time to creating a good strong thesis statement so that your project has a clear purpose. Your thesis should be debatable and narrow because your claims should be supported by evidence. If your claim is broad, you will need more evidence to convince your readers that you are right. Here is an example of a debatable thesis statement:

Climate change is the most pressing challenge facing the world today.

Step 3. Do Research on Your Topic

You should find enough secondary and primary credible sources on the subject of your paper, carefully read all of them, and find relevant evidence to support your thesis. At this stage, you should evaluate your sources, take notes, and start documenting your sources according to a citation style specified by your instructor (APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, etc.)

Make sure you use the latest edition of a specific style guide. You will use your notes about references later when writing your paper and building your bibliography. It’s crucial to cite all sources that you used for quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing to avoid plagiarism.

Step 4. Make a Good Outline

Your research has given you tons of great ideas. Now you have to organize them for your impressive presentation. Don’t skip this vital step because without it, your project will lack focus and you will need more time for revising your draft trying to make sense of your jumbled thoughts. That’s why you need an outline. You have to finalize your thesis and create a working outline that you plan to cover and that will serve you as a roadmap and keep you focused.

Think about key points that you’ll need to develop to support your thesis statement. You can use them as subheadings for the body of your paper. Look through your notes and organize the information under each sub-heading. Make sure you include only relevant information that fits under your sub-headings and directly supports your thesis.

You should resist the temptation to include any information that doesn’t fit into your outline no matter how interesting it is.

When writing an outline, you should keep in mind a typical research paper structure that commonly includes:

  • a title page;
  • an abstract;
  • an introduction;
  • a methodology section;
  • findings/results;
  • discussion;
  • conclusion.

But if your research paper is not long, its format may include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. In any case, you should follow specific guidelines provided by your instructor.

research paper an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion

Step 5. Create the First Draft

This is the middle of the process. You have a clear direction and it’s time to create the first draft with a title, in-text citations, and a reference page.

The title is very important if you want to make a good impression on your readers because it’s the first thing that they see. It forms their view on what exactly they should expect in your paper. You should list the keywords that present the topic of your paper, methods you used, and results that you achieved. Now create a sentence that includes all the keywords that you have listed and delete the unnecessary words. After that, you need to link the remaining ones. Finally, you have to delete non-essential info and organize the remaining words in the logical order. You can also include the subtitle. Make sure that your title is concise.

Afterwards, you need to write an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. These are the main parts of your paper so let us provide you with some details on how to do it right.

How to Write an Introduction for a Research Paper

Start writing an intro. The introductory paragraph should begin with an attention grabber that may be:

 ★ a provocative question;

You are writing an academic paper but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring. Next, you need to provide the background information, explain your goals, and how you plan to approach your research paper topic. You should finish your introduction with your thesis statement or research question. This section of your paper is not long so you are sure to finish it fast.

How to Write Body Paragraphs

Your outline will help you to complete this part of your paper. But you shouldn’t think that you must strictly follow it. It may evolve and you are free to revise it and make changes. The key thing is to stay on your track and focus on your thesis. You should provide your points and support your main idea.

Start each body paragraph with a topic sentence and provide arguments and relevant evidence to support it. You should write as many body paragraphs as you have the key points.

How to Write a Conclusion for a Research Paper

Most research papers end with restarting their thesis statements. You can also do it but you shouldn’t repeat it word for word. Paraphrase it or summarize the key points of your paper. You may emphasize the significance of your findings as well. A good idea is to provide some recommendations based on the results of your investigation or suggest some directions for further research.

Your rough draft is ready. Wondering what to do next? Go on reading to find some tips on how to revise your research paper.

How to Make Your Paper Perfect

No one can write their first draft perfectly. So, if you want to make a good impression on your professor and earn a high grade, you should revise your draft to make sure that your project is on point. Be ready that you may need to revise your project more than once because it is really worth doing.

Step 6. Revise, Edit and Proofread

Revise, Edit and Proofread

You have to make large-scale changes and check the logic, flow, transitions, make changes in the structure and order of your paragraphs. You should make sure that all your ideas are fully developed and all the claims are supported by credible evidence. You may need to add some section headings.

The next stage is editing. You have to check and eliminate filler words and phrases, improve word choice, and correct mistakes in punctuation and grammar if you find any. You should look for:

  • incomplete sentences;
  • dangling modifiers;
  • easily confused words (such as to, too, and two);
  • spelling mistakes;
  • apostrophes for possessives and plurals;
  • quotation rules obeyed;
  • comma use;
  • eliminate contractions.

You will need to re-read your paper several times. A good strategy is to read your paper backwards. In this way, you will feel a little disoriented and will be able to catch more mistakes. You should start reading the last sentence, then check the second to the last one and continue doing it until you get to your first sentence.

You should ask your friends or family members to review your research paper and express their opinion about it. They should evaluate your argument, transitions, and the balance and look for any inconsistencies with usage, grammar or mechanics. Ask your friends to provide their feedback and make suggested changes if you think they make sense. Finally, you may print your paper and proofread it to eliminate minor mistakes or typos and ensure that your amazing research paper is flawless.

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Step 7. Rely on Our Academic Custom Writing Service

You can use our easy guide to craft winning research papers fast, get better grades, and enjoy your life in college. Alternatively, you can address our specialists to write research paper for you. As a result, you’ll spend less time but get more pleasure from studying at university.

Author: Patricia Jenkins

Patricia Jenkins is the senior writing advisor at FastEssay blog for international students that seek quick paper assistance. In her blog, Patricia shares useful tips on productivity, writing, research, references. Sometimes Patricia goes off topic by sharing her personal experience peppered with lively humor and healthy irony. View all posts by Patricia Jenkins

How to Hire Term Paper Writers[]

| Thesis | WWW | Personal Communication | DO NOTS

NOTE: Although you should use these citation formats in this and other biology courses, specific formats vary considerably for individual journals. If you are trying to publish a paper in a specific journal, you will be required to follow the format of that journal. Some journals,e.g., Science , use a number system to give the text reference. That system will not be presented here, but you should expect to encounter it in your reading of the literature. A complete listing of citation formats for published materials may be found in Huth et al (1994).

Citing References in the Body (Intro and Discussion) of the Paper

  • Typically, only the last name of the author(s) and the year of publication are given,e.g., Bugjuice 1970 . Your Literature Cited section will contain the complete reference, and the reader can look it up there.
  • Notice that the reference to the book has a page number (Gumwad 1952: 209 ) . This is to facilitate a reader’s finding the reference in a long publication such as a book (not done for journal articles). The paper by Bugjuice (1970) is short, and if readers want to find the referenced information, they would not have as much trouble.
  • For two author papers , give both authors’ last names (e.g., Click and Clack 1974 ). Articles with more than two authors are cited by the first authors last name followed "and others" or "et al.", and then the year.
  • When a book, paper, or article has no identifiable author , cite it as Anon. Year, e.g., (Anon. 1996) (Anon. is the abbreviation for anonymous). See Full Citation.
  • If you want reference a paper found in another article , do so as follows: ( Driblick 1923, in Oobleck 1978 ).
  • A string of citations should be separated by semicolons, e.g., (Gumwad 1952:209; Bugjuice 1970; Bruhahauser et al 1973) .
  • Finally, you should note the placement of the period AFTER the parenthetical citation — the citation, too, is part of a sentence,e.g., ". courtship behavior (Gumwad 1952:209; Bugjuice 1970) ."

World Wide Web/Internet source citations : WWW citation should be done with caution since so much is posted without peer review. When necessary, report the complete URL in the text including the site author’s name:

Ohio State University Library has a good webpage for citing web sources:

Internet sources should be included in your Literature Cited section.

For information on evaluating internet sources, look at:

For unusual reference citations such a government documents, technical reports, etc, refer to Huth et al (1994) for a complete listing of citation formats. A copy of this reference should be available in the Ladd Library and a copy is available in the Biology Department.

Personal Communications:

Suppose some of the information cited above was not gained from the Gumwad and Bugjuice publications, but rather in a personal conversation with or letter from an expert on the subject, Dr. Cynthia Mousse. When you have talked with, or written to someone, and gained some information or data that are not published, you should give credit to that person in the following way:

"It has been found that male mice . phase three of courtship behavior (C. Mousse, pers. comm.)."

  • No date is entered for a personal communication, nor will it be entered in your Literature Cited section. However, the source is usually thanked in your Acknowledgments for their contribution.


  • DO NOT USE FOOTNOTES : Footnoting, although commonly done in books and other literary writing, is only rarely done in journal style papers. Cite references in the flow of the text as shown above.
  • DO NOT USE DIRECT QUOTES From Published Material : In 99.99% of the cases, the information you want from a research article is an objective result or interpretation. How the author stated this information, i.e., their prose , is of little importance compared to the results or interpretations themselves. Take the information and put it into your own words ; avoid paraphrasing since this can potentially lead to plagiarism.

Formats for Complete Citations used in the Literature Cited

In the Literature Cited you must provide complete citations for each of the published sources cited in your paper. The format for entries in the Literature Cited section differs for books and for journal papers because different kinds of information must be provided. The formats provided here are typical, but may vary in different publications depending on their particular needs and practices.

Some basic rules applicable to all formats indexed by author name(s) :

  • All citation entries are listed in alphabetical order based the first author’s last name ;
  • If the same author(s) are cited for more than one paper having the same order of authors’ names , the papers should be listed in chronological sequence by year of publication.
  • Authors’ names MUST be listed in the citation in the same order as in the article.

Bugjuice, B., Timm, T. and R. Cratchet. 1990. The role of estrogen in mouse
xxxx courtship behavior changes as mice age. J Physiol 62(6):1130-1142.

Cratchet, R., Bugjuice, B.and T. Timm. 1994. Estrogen, schmestrogen!: Mouse
xxxx ( Mus musculus ) as a dietary alternative for humans. J Nutrition 33(6):113 -114.

  • If the same author(s) are cited for two or more papers published within the same year, place a small case letter after the year to denote the sequence in which you referred to them. For example:

Bugjuice, B. 1970a . Physiological effects of estrogen on mouse courtship behavior.
. x. J Physiol 40(2):140-145.

Bugjuice, B. 1970b . Physiological effects of estrogen analogs: Insincere courtship
xxxx behavior in female mice. J Physiol 40(8):1240-1247.

  • If no author is listed, use the word Anonymous in place of the author name(s).

Anonymous. 1992. . give rest of citation using appropriate format.

Specific Format Models

Each model is shown as the full citation plus the in-text citation format.

Journal Article: Single author

Bugjuice (1970) OR
(Bugjuice 1970)

Bugjuice, B. 1970. Physiological effects of estrogen on mouse courtship . behavior. J Physiol 40(2):140-145.

In the citation of Bugjuice’s paper, note the following:

  • abbreviation of her first name; no comma (if full name is given, then use a comma); if multiple authors, use commas between;
  • capitalization of the words in the title is just as though it were a sentence;
  • abbreviation of the journal name ; usually the header on the article will list the appropriate abbreviation for the journal; no periods in abbreviated form of journal name;
  • "40" is the volume number "(2)" is the number of the issue ; if no issue is given, the colon follows the volume number;
  • "140-145" is the inclusive page numbers of the article;
  • placement of periods is standard;
  • indentation of the second line (and all subsequent lines) in the citation. This applies to all citations.

Journal: Two authors

Timm and Bugjuice (1989) OR
(Timm and Bugjuice 1989)

Timm, T. and B. Bugjuice. 1989. The role of whisker length in mouse . nose-twitch courtship behavior. J Physiol 61(3):113-118.

Journal: Multiple authors

Bugjuice et al . (1990) OR
Bugjuice and others (1990) OR
(Bugjuice and others 1990)

Bugjuice, B., Timm, T. and R. Cratchet. 1990. The role of estrogen in . mouse courtship behavior changes as mice age. J Physiol 2(6): . 1130-1142.

Author(s) Unknown or Not Named

If the authorship of a paper or other document is not provided, cite the author using the word "Anonymous" in the place of the authors name(s).

Anonymous (1979) OR
(Anonymous 1979)

Anonymous. 1979. STD’s and You: A Survival Guide for College Students . in the 20th Century. Publ.#12-1979, Waazah County Health . Department, Popville, Maine. 6 p.

Book: single author

Gumwad (1952:224) OR (Gumwad 1952:224)

Gumwad, G. 1952. Behavior patterns of mice. 2nd ed. New York: Harper . & Row. 347 p.

Book: multiple authors

Huth et al. (1994:625) OR
Huth and others (1994:625) OR (Huth and others 1994:625)

Huth, J., Brogan, M., Dancik, B., Kommedahl, T., Nadziejka, D., . Robinson, P., and W. Swanson.1994. Scientific format and style: . The CBE manual for authors, editors, and publishers. 6th ed. . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 825 p.

Book: authors contributing a specific chapter

Kuret and Murad (1990:1334-60) OR
(Kuret and Murad 1990:1334-60)

Kuret, J. and F. Murad. 1990. Adenohypophyseal hormones and related . substances. In: Gilman A, Rall T, Nies A, Taylor P, editors. The . pharmacological basis of therapeutics. 8th ed. New York: Pergamon. . p. 1334-60.

In the books citation, note the following:

  • abbreviation of authors first name (one or both initials ok);
  • capitalize title as if it was a sentence; the title is not underlined (contrary to literary format)
  • "2nd ed." means second edition; if the book is a first edition; no entry is made, here, but if 2nd, 3rd, etc., then the notation is made;
  • give city of publication, and the name of the publisher;
  • year of publication follows authors’ names;
  • placement of periods is standard;
  • indentation of all lines after the first.

Modified 11-7-11
Department of Biology, Bates College, Lewiston, ME 04240

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