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Urban Studies (Yale-NUS College): Citations/Citing

Academic writing & citation

In academic writing you must cite any text or idea that is not your own original work. Even if you phrase an author's idea in your own words, you must cite the original source. This is to give credit to the original author, and also so that your reader can trace your sources and references.

Proper citation usually includes in-text citations or footnotes to indicate where and when you are referencing a source, and a bibliography or reference list with more complete information so that the source can be located if necessary.

There are many helpful guides online (e.g. those in the box below) that will help you to cite your sources. There are many citation styles with their own rules for style and formatting. Have a look at the tools, guides, and online resources, or Ask A Librarian if you have any questions!

Additional resources:

Harvard Citation Style

Harvard citation style is also known as the author-date referencing style. This guide will show you illustrations of common Harvard citations, guides for extensive needs for Harvard citation and some recommendations on how to manage citations in general.

Do take note that there is some slight variability amongst Harvard citations, such as in the dates and authors field. Make sure to check with your professor, lecturer or publisher to clarify what Harvard citation format to use when you are in doubt. Most importantly, whichever format you choose to use, it must be consistent across your entire assignment or thesis.

 There are three parts to citation:

  1. In-text citations that appear in the body of your theses or arguments to show the source of the idea, which come in the form of direct quoting, paraphrasing, or summarizing. They usually appear in (author-date-page) format but there are variations.
  2. Reference lists or bibliographies found at the end of your theses or assignments.
  3. Footnotes have two uses. One is to take the place of in-text citations where the in-text citation will be replaced by a superscript number, and the in-text citation is relegated to the bottom of the page that the footnote is on. Another use of footnotes is to explain further a side idea that is not convenient to be expanded in the text as it breaks the continuity of the main idea's explanation. Usage of footnotes is dependent on requirements set by individual professors/lecturers and journals and are therefore optional in the Harvard citation system.

Harvard citation style is used typically in Social Sciences, Medical Sciences, Natural Sciences and Humanities. If you are not sure whether to use Harvard citation or other citation systems, please check with your lecturer or professor.

Citation Management Tools

Citation management tools allow you to organize your research.  In addition to saving citation information and linking to PDFs, many programs also assist with in-text citations and bibliography formatting.

Not sure which manager to use, take a look at the Subject Guide: Citation Managers