How to Record your Sources in Research Writing

A research is only as valid and reliable as it has valid and reliable sources and to prove that you have provided valid and reliable sources you have to cite them accurately in your research. This is the first thing you need to learn, how to cite your sources accurately, fully and precisely, and then you are set to find and record them. You need to record full source as you are writing the content of the source. The source has no significance until you have full citation of it and therefore you should know the citation style that you have to follow in your research. The citation style can be APA, MLA OR Chicago and it depends on your educational institute and your instructor which one you need to follow. You can follow only one style in your research paper.

How to record your sources in research

There are few steps or guidelines to follow when you are writing and recording sources for your research.

Record fully, accurately, and appropriately

The first thing to consider is that you have to record your sources fully, accurately, and precisely. Write down the full reference of the source you have used: the title, author name, publication information, edition, year and page number/s etc. In case of journals write down the issue number as well. The accurateness can be achieved by recording the source and then reviewing it so that all the information is correct. The appropriateness of the source documentation depends on how well you have followed your citation style. Once you understand these requirements for the citation of sources you are ready to record your sources.

Determine your citation style

Ask your instructor about the citation style that you have to follow in your research paper. There are various citation style and students follow only one style that is followed by their institute. You should know the specific citation requirement of that style like how to cite sources at the end of a chapter and how to cite sources at the end of the manuscript etc. As you will know fully about your citation style you will find it easier to decide what information I have to record for each source.

Record bibliographic data

The bibliographic information is that part of the source that tells about what, how, who, when and where write this source. It is very important that as you write down the content of the source you record the bibliographic information as well. It wont be possible for you to write the bibliographic data some other time you have to record it at the same time when you write the contents of the source. This will save a lot of time and energy later on when you will be editing and writing the manuscript. The bibliographic data contains the following information.

  1. The name of the writer is the most basic thing that you have to record, write down the full name of the author or authors in the order that they appear on the book or journal etc. Later on you have to write it in the manner that your citation style approves, for example, last name first and then first name and followed by the middle name. In some cases you have to cite the name of the first author and then et al to show that there are multiple authors.
  2. There might or might not be an editor that you have to cite, in case, you have to cite the editor as well look at the the citation style that you are following. For example there is a book that is fully edited by a single or multiple editors you have to write the name of the editor just like the name of the author and you can separate multiple editors names by comma or and.
  3. There might be a translator involved in the book or journal that you are citing
  4. The name of the publisher or the publication company along with the date, place etc should be provided. For example Harvard Press, Pennsylvania Univ Press etc. you can abbreviate University Press for UP or Incorporation for Inc. or Company for Co. Follow your citation style to know more details about it.
  5. The title and subtitle of the book, journal, article usually follow the author name and they are some times written in italics, underlined or in bold font to be more visible.
  6. In case of journals you have to mention the volume number, issue number etc.
  7. The edition should be mentioned in books as well as journals. For example you can write it like 8th Ed. or fully 8th Edition again depends on your citation style.
  8. The page number usually appears at the end of the citation and you have to mention the page or pages that you have used in this source.
  9. The URL needs to be mentioned if you browsed an article online and used it as a source you have to mention the date as well when you browsed that article.


  • Turabian, L. k., A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 8th Ed, 2007, pp-33-35
  • Citation Guide: Author/Editor/Publisher MLA Formatting, (2017, September 25). Retrieved from, Last Updated: Mar 14, 2017 11:28 AM
  • How Do you Reference a Webpage that Lists no Author?, (2017, September 25). Retrieved from



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