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Basics of Report Writing

What is a citation

A citation is a reference to a source from which you have taken the information given in your research report. It identifies for the reader the original source for an idea, information, or text that is referred to in your work.

  • In the body of a paper, the in-text citation acknowledges the source of information used.
  • At the end of the research report, the citations are compiled as a reference list.
  • In-text citation is a shortened version of the full citation of a source in the reference list.

A citation style dictates the format of in-text citations and references, what information needs to be provided and how it is ordered. There are many citation styles, e.g., American Chemical Society (ACS), American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), Turabian, etc.

When writing reports, use the recommended style consistently.

Please visit our Citation Styles guide to learn more about the specific citation style and view examples of commonly used in-text citations and references.  

An example of in-text citation and reference in APA 7 citation style:

In-text citation:

Tobacco smoking is a habit that is prevalent among the residents of Bandung in West Java, Indonesia. Local leaders are under pressure to come up with enforcement policies and initiatives to make the tobacco control law effective. (World Health Organization, 2021).


World Health Organization. (2021). Bandung: Championing city-level tobacco control.


Why and when should you cite

Citing sources

  • Provides the authority and foundation to support your arguments and conclusions
  • Provides credibility to the report
  • Creates explicit linkages between your research and those that came before you
  • Credit authors whose ideas you use and avoid plagiarism
  • Helps readers refer to the sources if they want more information
  • Creates greater impact on your readers

You must give credit whenever you use any:

  • Idea, theory, illustration or opinion of other people
  • Statistics, graphs, drawings, images of other people
  • Quotation of actual spoken or written words of other people
  • Paraphrase of spoken or written words of other people