Differences Between Citation And Reference: In writing a research paper or any academic work in general, two things are very important and that is providing the Citation and reference of sources consulted in your work. Definitely in writing a paper, project, or even an article we often have to make a research to access more information on the subject which we are writing on. This is because nobody is a paragon of knowledge and we can’t be a master of all fields. Thus, for us to excellently write a good paper, it is important for us to consult numerous existing works to access information necessary to meet the demands of our assignment.
Notably, while it is important for us to consult numerous sources to produce an excellent well researched work, it is even more important for us to properly reference these sources which we consulted to have access to information necessary for writing our designed academic work as failure to properly reference these sources and the idea of others is Plagiarism, academic theft and infringement on the copyright of other authors.
Referencing may be formally defined the process of acknowledging the contributions of other writers and researchers in your work and providing the citation for these information derived from other writers and researchers. As a matter of fact by saying referencing we mean making reference to works consulted and citing them in our paper.
Thus, the terms Citation and Reference are often used interchangeably as they are deemed to mean the exact same thing and serve same purpose. However, these two terms are slightly different from each other. I’m sure you will definitely be wondering how they are different from each other, but worry no more as shortly we are going to examine the meaning of the two terms and consider the slight differences which exists between the both of them.
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Table of Content
Meaning of Citation
The term Citation explicitly refers to the sources of other works which you consulted mentioned in the body of your writing. Alternatively, it may be defined as how you quote the source of ideas within the body of your work and it is done to acknowledge the writer of a work which you have borrowed a quotation.
A Citation may employ either the APA referencing style, MLA referencing style or Harvard referencing style. An example of the APA Referencing style of citation within the body of your text is: “The study of (Townsend, 1998) explained the current teaching methodology in which teachers do not tactfully approach classroom discussions”.
The Harvard referencing style is literally the same as the above example of APA referencing style with the citation containing only the authors surname and year of publication in brackets. For example: (Anayo, 2022) suggested that Financial education is very important for all youths.
The MLA referencing style is slightly different from both as it contains the authors’ last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation taken appears in the text cited. For example: (Anayo 100) suggested that financial education is very important for all youths. These are the various forms of a citation. I trust you now understand what a citation means? Let’s now examine the meaning of Reference.
Meaning of Reference
Reference is a list of which contains of all the sources which you used in your work or which you cited in the body of your work. Reference basically refers to a Reference list also known as Bibliography which is the list of all sources at the end of your work; often arranged alphabetically in accordance to the specifications of any referencing style of your choice.
The above definition of both terms may not have done justice in examining the differences between the two terms as they still seem closely related considering that they both linked together in properly referencing a work, they are both associated with academic texts, they both give credit to the original work and they are both aimed at avoiding plagiarism.
These similarities often cajole people into believing the two terms are the same and performing the same function. However, they are slightly different and perform different functions. Let’s examine these differences between them.
Differences Between Citation And Reference
The following are the differences which exist between a Citation and a Reference:
1. Citation is the specific source mentioned in the body for your work, while Reference is the list of all sources in the work mentioned at the end of the work. This means that Citation gives reference to a particular source at a time. For example (Anayo, 2022) discussed the importance of investments. However, a Reference contains a list of sources in the work listed simultaneously in a chronological order.
2. Citations are only mentioned in the body of your work using brackets inside the text, while references are mentioned only at the end of your work using end notes and bibliography.
3. Citation is employed in a work to inform the readers about the basic source of information used in the work, while a Reference informs the reader about the complete source of information.
4. Citation gives minimal information as it only includes the name of the author and the publication date or sometimes page number, while a Reference includes full details of the citation such as the name of the author, title of work, Publisher, publication date, Publication details, page number, and web link address if it is a web content.
5. A Citation serves the sole purpose of giving credit to the quote or work of another, while a Reference serves the purpose of providing additional information on this citation already mentioned in the body of the work.
6. Considering that a citation does not give much information, a Citation is usually short. For instance: (Anayo, 2019). While a Reference is usually long as it provides additional information on the citation. For instance: Anayo, T. (2019). Am I asking the right questions? (What teachers ask of children). International Journal of Early childhood, 25(1), 42-48.
7. From the above we can see that a Reference must be corresponding with the citation as it is just an extension of a citation. However, it is not in all cases that a citation corresponds with a Reference.
These are the basic differences between a Citation and reference. I trust you now perfectly understand the differences between the both of them? Citation basically refers to the in-text citation of a source in the body of your work, while a Reference refers to the list of all the full information of all in-text citation presented in a chronological manner at the end of the work.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka ACMC, is a Law Student and a Certified Mediator/Conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a Developer with knowledge in HTML, CSS, JS, PHP and React Native. Samuel is bent on changing the legal profession by building Web and Mobile Apps that will make legal research a lot easier.