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In-Text Citations and Referencing Styles Adopted in Academic Writings: A Review of the Literature

International Journal of Information Studies and Libraries

Volume 4 Issue 2

Published: 2019
Author(s) Name: Tunde Shamsudeen Ajibola, Abdulwahab Olanrewaju Issa, Evelyn O. Akinboro | Author(s) Affiliation: Dept. of Lib. and Infn. Science, Faculty of Communication and Information Scie., Univ. of Ilorin,
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This paper presents a review of the literature on the in-text citations and referencing styles adopted in academic writings. Citing or referencing sources in technical writings is an important aspect of academic writing. It is the means by which authors acknowledge ideas, thoughts, writings and words of others used in his/her work, thus, avoiding plagiarism. Referencing demonstrates that the writer has read relevant background literature and can provide authority for the statements made. Proper citation allows others to locate the materials used. However, a cursory check on many such academic writings revealed that writers, authors and researchers seldom adhere to the rules guiding the styles adopted as expected. Thus, a review of the literature with a view to providing an update of the common styles adopted and possible variations and inadequacies inherent in their usage is thoroughly examined. Here, the different referencing styles peculiar to different disciplines and used in different fields and for specific purposes are accounted for. These include Harvard, American Psychological Association, Modern Language Association and Turabian (Chicago). Turabian has two versions (Chicago/Turabian Notes), popular in the History and Humanity disciplines, and Chicago/Turabian Author-Date often used for the Physical, Natural and Social Sciences, Vancouver, Council of Science Editors, and American Sociological Association. Critical issues revealed by this review are that wide-scale variations exist in the styles adopted in academic writing, and the inability of many writers to pay attention to details and follow instructions and rules guiding citing and referencing accurately and consistently. It is, therefore, recommended that librarians in collaboration with Faculty and School Management should prepare citation style guides to be used by students for the various departments, colleges or faculties. Students should be given acceptable format used in their respective departments, colleges or faculties. Sensitization of the students through seminars or workshops on the essence and strategic importance on how to cite reference correctly during the first and final year should be given adequate consideration.

Keywords: Citation, In-text Citations, Referencing Styles, Academic Writing, Review of Literature

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