Most Common Mistakes in Referencing and Citing

It is easy to ruin a well-structured essay or article because of mistakes made in Citation and referencing. Simple mistakes like a misplaced comma or full stop can change a sentence’s meaning and even ruin the whole paper. Attention to detail is key to having an authentic and comprehensive research paper. Excellence in referencing and Citation is vital in attaining higher grades and avoiding your paper from getting flagged as plagiary. Here are some mistakes commonly made when citing and referencing and how to avoid the mistakes.

Improper Placement of Commas and Full Stops

A comma is often misused, and at the same time, it gives more clarity to sentences. Improper use of the comma makes sentences unclear and challenging to read and understand. Long sentences with missing commas make them challenging to read, and the information is often misinterpreted or misunderstood. Separating long sentences with a lot of information into smaller parts makes the information readable and easy to comprehend.

Ignoring Citations when Rephrasing

When writing a research paper, citations are vital even when you use your own words to write the phrases. It shows that you did the research personally and that you understand the subject well enough to use your own words. Writers often forget to cite rephrased content which is very wrong. Using your own words does not mean you should not cite the content obtained from someone else’s work. Apart from making your work authentic, it also saves your work from getting flagged as plagiarism.

Making Unnecessary Citations

Many students overuse citations when writing their research papers. Most of them do that to avoid plagiarism but end up using citations unnecessarily. Some information does not require Citation because it is general knowledge. You can also make citations at the end of a paragraph instead of a sentence if the information gets obtained from the same content. Too many citations make you unreadable or uninteresting to the reader.

Inconsistence in the style of Citation used

There are plenty of Citation styles one can use. Many students use more than one style in one document, which makes the content inconsistent. It is hence very vital to use the same style all through the paper. Using different styles in one paper confuses a reader and makes your work unreliable for use if another student wants to use your work as a template.

Confusing between References and Citations

Many writers cannot differentiate between references and citations. Citations get used in the content found in the paper’s body. The content gets cited using direct quotes. Inside the quotes, the following information gets found: the author and the source of information. References on the other end get placed at the end of the paper. References explain where the writer got their citations from. Therefore, without citations, references would not make sense.

Excluding Page Numbers

Including the page numbers of the books or articles used to get information is very vital. It makes it easier for the reader to refer to the source. Even better, the reader refers to the exact page without wasting time going through the whole paper or book.

Excluding Web Addresses

With the advancement in the internet and technology, many writers source their information from the internet. Data got constantly added on the internet, and hence, it is crucial to provide the addresses where you get your information. Not incorporating the web addresses makes you unreliable. It also avoids plagiarism which is a very detriment to your grades as a student.

Contorting Spelling

Some words are difficult to spell when writing.  However, most of the time, words that prove hard to spell for a writer are often words that the writer does not understand. It is hence very crucial to use words correctly and spell them correctly too. Not using the correct spelling often changes the meaning of the message for words close in spelling.  The credibility of your work is also lost or undermined if the correct spelling gets missed.


Often, students confuse references and citations, which costs them a big deal when writing their research papers. The two are related, especially the reference, which is dependent on the Citation used. It is therefore important to understand the differences and the different styles.

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