When writing your internship report, dissertation, thesis or research paper, you’ll use quotations. Indeed, much of the information you provide has been proven and verified by other writers and scholars. Citations add value to your academic work.

This is why the sources you use must be mentioned and cited correctly in the body of the text, a footnote and/or an endnote in your document. A bibliography appears at the end of the document and shows a detailed list of sources.

There are several ways to cite authors using various citation standards. It is up to you to choose one that suits your needs best or the one that is required in your school or university. But how exactly do we do that? Let’s go through some do’s and don’ts in this article.



Definition of a bibliographic source

A bibliographic source is a set of information that allows the reader to look up a quotation. In order to ensure the authenticity of a cited passage, the bibliographic source usually includes at least: 

  • The author
  • The name of the document (from which the quotation was taken)
  • The publication date

The source is sort of the cited quotation's DNA.

A bibliographic reference follows a clearly defined standard. As such, the information is stated in a specific format and order. Regarding the location of the source, it can be found in the body of the text, in a footnote or in the bibliography. Furthermore, it can appear in various forms: in italics, parentheses, square brackets, quotation marks.

Remember that indicating the source helps you avoid plagiarism


4 Good reasons to quote your sources

It is possible and even recommended to take ideas or quotations from an author's work. We use copy and paste, paraphrase, translation of certain passages from books, images, graphics... Be careful to avoid plagiarism. For this, you must absolutely cite the bibliographic sources. Indeed, citing a source, whether in the text or at the end of your document, is evidence of your integrity

Among others, here are 4 good reasons to cite your sources:


1/ Respect copyright laws and avoid plagiarism

Penalties for plagiarism are heavy and not worth the risk. Moreover, citing an author shows respect for ideas and knowledge and lets them be shared freely. 


2/ Depict the quality of your work

Bibliographic references demonstrate that you have done extensive research on your subject. In this way, citations contribute to the grade your academic work receives.


Build an effective bibliography
cite authors

3/ Verify the facts presented

In an academic assignment, you are asked to prove your argument. Other authors, scholars and researchers have carried out studies with which you should dialogue to validate the ideas shared in your writing.


4/ Give the reader the opportunity to develop further research the subject matter 

If they want more information, the reader can do so by consulting your bibliography.


It is therefore essential not to copy/paste texts without indicating your sources, and you must cite other authors correctly to convey your creativity and originality.

The basic rules for well-cited quotes


You can emphasise a citation through its formatting. Firstly, you must use quotation marks. Italics can be used at the student writer's discretion and can help the reader quickly find a citation. Use of parentheses and square brackets depends on the citation standard used. Abbreviations are often used to shorten bibliographic references.


Going deeper

Regardless of the format used, the citation in the text must be in this form: "Author's name + year of publication". 

Only one rule should be implemented: You cannot switch from one style to another. You must follow the same format throughout the document. 

Find out if a citation standard is enforced at your academic institution. If not, it's up to you to decide which standard works best for you.

All authors must be mentioned in the text or in a footnote and referenced again in the bibliography or webography.

Tips for writing to avoid plagiarism
Harvard Reference System

The Harvard Style Reference or author-date system

The Harvard Style Reference is the most complete and also the most used in Europe.


  • Bibliography citation: Author's name + first initial + year of publication + title of the work + date of consultation.
  • Online newspaper article: Author + year of publication + title of the article + name of the newspaper + mention "online" + page + URL + date of consultation.
  • Printed newspaper article: Author + year of publication + article title + newspaper title + pages.
  • Image: Author + year of publication + title + format + URL + consultation date.
  • Video: Name of the film + year of publication + format + director.
  • Interview: Interviewer + interviewee + year of interview + title.


APA standard

The APA standard is actively adapted to academic work

It is the most used by students. This format is ideal for scientific, academic and psychological writing. It is defined by the American Psychological Association.


  • Bibliography citations: Author's name + first initial + year of publication + title of the work + date of consultation.
  • Online newspaper article: Author + year of publication + title of the article + name of the article + name of the newspaper + volume + leaflet + pages + mention "online" + URL.
  • Printed journal article: Author + year of publication + title of the article + title of the journal + volume + booklet + pages.
  • Email: Author + mention "email" + date.
  • Blog: Author + date of publication + title of the article + mention "blog post" + consultation date + URL.


chicago style

The Chicago Style standard is published by the University of Chicago Press

This citation style mainly focuses on digital sources

“The Chicago citation style gets its name from the fact that the University of Chicago Press publishes the standards and keeps them up to date. This style is widely used by publishers of scientific journals. The manual is in its 17th edition.” “How to cite your sources using the Chicago citation style", University of Saint-Boniface, Alfred-Monnin Library.


  • Bibliography citation: Author's name + year of publication + work title + country + publisher.
  • Online newspaper article: Name of the newspaper + date of publication + title of the article + URL.
  • Printed newspaper article: Name of the newspaper + date of publication + title of the article.
  • Email: Author's first and last name + "email" mention + year of sending + title / subject.
  • Interview: Interviewer + year of publication + title + interviewee.

“There are two Chicago-style citation systems: the classic method and the author/date method. The classic (or traditional) method uses references, placed in footnotes or endnotes, which direct the reader to a bibliography. “Citer selon le style Chicago”, Université de Montréal, les bibliothèques.

This style is generally applied in disciplines related to the humanities. The author/date method shows references in parentheses within the text. The references direct the reader to a bibliography at the end of the document, and the bibliography must contain all the sources used in the document.


ABNT standard

The ABNT standard, Brazilian use above all

The ABNT standard (Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas) can only be used in the footnotes at the bottom of the page. This standard is seldom used because it is considered too complicated.


  • Bibliography citation: Author + work title + location + publisher + publication date.
  • Online newspaper article: Author + article title + newspaper name + location of publication + volume/ issue + pages + month and year + URL.
  • Printed journal article:Author + title of the article + name of the journal + place of publication + volume/ issue + pages + month and year.
  • Email:Author + Recipient + "personal message" mention + receipt date.
  • Blog: Author + year of publication + blog title + article title + URL + consultation date.


In academic writing (dissertation, thesis, internship report, research paper, etc.), a citation standard must be applied. Students should learn how to implement a bibliographic system so that their written work can be validated. Respect for copyright and intellectual property adds value to written work and validates the ideas discussed in it. Citing sources also contributes to the final grade received on an assignment. Whether used to further your doctorate, your university studies or your secondary education, you now have all the tools needed to use these citation standards correctly.

If you want to know more about this subject, Compilatio presents different citation rules and offers you a closer look at each one of them:

Download the citation guide

Compilatio Studium also helps you detect poorly referenced sources in your academic reports. Adjust these problematic passages by adapting to the citation standard of your choice or that recommended by your institution.

Discover Compilatio's Studium

Learn more about quotation rules:

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