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The importance of using Citations & References in Thesis & research papers

, November 30, 2021, 1 Comments

Discussions with a few research scholars made me realise the knowledge gaps and lack of training for managing references & citations, which is a vital part of academic writing. One of them even described the mammoth task undertaken to use a manual referencing approach in the thesis. 

The understanding of citations & referencing is a pressing need across academics & industry and scholars in these fields are increasingly engaged in academic writing. My goal is to present a series of articles (insights) related to Citations & References. In this first series, I discuss the basics of Citations & References.

My view is that a research scholar should first gain knowledge on the correct use of citations and references which can be crucial to their academic success. This can be achieved by understanding the correct referencing style (e.g. APA style), reviewing the correctness and eliminating any errors.

The approach would keep academicians and scholars from having to comply with the university guidelines and journal specific requirements, which are adapting various variants of referencing styles (APA, Harvard, Chicago, American Medical Association – AMA, Bluebook, ILI). The scholar should ensure the reference list and the in-text citation conform strictly to the style. For this, the scholar should refer to the APA manual 7th edition [1] or “guide for authors” of a specified journal.

What are in-text & end-of text citations?

Let me take the following example (citation) to explain the in-text (parenthetical citations & narrative citations) and end-of text citationscitations-references-research-papers-marketexpress-in

Parenthetical citations

  • Cite the last name(s) of the author
  • The author and date should be separated by a comma
  • The author and date appear in parentheses for a parenthetical citation
  • The citation can appear within or at the end of a sentence.

(Sankaran & Chakraborty, 2021)

Narrative citations

  • The surname of the author appears in running text, and the year of publication appears in parentheses immediately after the author’s name for a narrative citation. 
  • The author’s name can be included in the beginning or in the middle of a sentence.

Sankaran and Chakraborty (2021)

(Note: In a narrative citation, ampersand “&” is spelt out as “and”)

For citing multiple works,
Two or more articles by the same authors by year of publication
(Sankaran & Chakraborty, 2020, 2021)

Two or more articles by the same authors with the same year of publication
(Sankaran & Chakraborty, 2021a, 2021b)

For 3 or more authors,
(Sankaran et al., 2021)

The end-of text referencing

  • Arrange the references alphabetically
  • Indented 5 spaces (or ½ inch) if the referencing goes to more than 1 line
  • Should be on a separate page titled “Referencing” or “Bibliography”
  • List all types of sources together (for example, do not split research papers from books or websites).


  • Always refer to APA Publication Manual, 7th edition for correct citations
  • Contact your IRB / University for the acceptable format for your thesis / dissertations.

Are user level training available on RMS?

Yes, the author is a Mendeley Advisor (a certification obtained from Mendeley, UK) and has conducted conducted 20+ workshops on Mendeley with over 1500 participants spanning across PAN India, Asyut (Egypt), Dhaka (Bangladesh), HO CHI MINH (Vietnam), Kandy (Sri Lanka), Lahore and Kathmandu, Biratnagar (Nepal) and Zimbabwe.

I hope this article is of use to research scholars and will help them to publish their thesis and manuscript using the correct referencing style. In the next series, I intend to present insights into how one can embark on using the software for reference management.



[1] Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.). (2020).

[2] Sankaran, R., & Chakraborty, S. (2021). Why customers make mobile payments? Applying a means-end chain approach. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 39(1), 109–124.

  • A.P. Felix Arokiya Raj

    This explanation of parenthetical and narrative citations is beneficial. It is very well simplistic.