How to Cite Sources and Avoid Plagiarism in Academy Essays

Academy-level studies are an intellectual adventure filled with opportunities for exploration and growth. Yet, one critical decision can shape this journey profoundly: choosing the perfect essay topic. Your topic is not just a subject; it's the foundation upon which your ideas, arguments, and research will stand. In this article, we'll explore the art and science of selecting the right essay topic for academy-level studies, and how professional essay editors from can help you refine your ideas, arguments, and research to achieve academic excellence.

How to Cite Sources

In-text Citations and Reference Lists

Citing your sources involves two essential components: in-text citations and reference lists. When you include information or ideas from a source in your essay, you need to give credit where it's due. In-text citations typically include the author's name and the publication date. These should be integrated naturally into your writing. For instance, you might write, "According to Smith (2019), climate change is a pressing issue."

The reference list, on the other hand, is a compilation of all the sources you've cited. It should be placed at the end of your essay, arranged alphabetically by the author's last name. The format for reference lists may vary depending on the citation style you're using.

Mentioning Common Citation Styles

There are several citation styles, but for high school essays, you're likely to encounter Modern Language Association (MLA) and American Psychological Association (APA) styles most frequently. MLA is often used in English and humanities courses, while APA is common in science and social science courses. It's important to understand which style your teacher prefers, and when in doubt, ask for clarification.

Avoiding Plagiarism

Tips for Effective Paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is a crucial skill in academic writing. It involves rephrasing someone else's words or ideas in your own words. To do this effectively, read the source carefully, understand the main points, and then restate them in your own language. Remember, even when you're paraphrasing, you need to provide a citation to the original source.

Using Quotations Correctly

Quotations are another tool to avoid plagiarism. When you directly quote someone, use quotation marks and cite the source. Short quotations can be integrated into your text, while longer ones are typically indented and single-spaced in a separate block.

Resources and Tools

Online Citation Generators and Management Tools

To simplify the citation process, you can use online citation generators and management tools. These tools help you format citations correctly and organize your sources efficiently. Popular citation management tools include Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote.

Reputable Websites and Resources

For a deeper understanding of proper citation, you can explore reputable websites and resources like Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab), which offers comprehensive guides on various citation styles. Your school or local library likely has resources and librarians who can assist you with citation questions.


Citing sources and avoiding plagiarism are vital for your academic success. Proper citation not only demonstrates academic integrity but also ensures your work is well-researched and credible. By mastering the basics of in-text citations, reference lists, paraphrasing, and quotations, and by using the right resources and tools, you'll enhance your writing skills and create essays that reflect your commitment to academic excellence.