IB extended essay writing help: citing sources
For a lot of people out there, any kind of academic writing assignment can be distressing. If you add this to the fact that your IB extended essay will be extremely important for your future, then you may feel stressed out and you may also feel confused as to what it is that is actually expected of you to do.
The best thing to do is to clear your mind and try to focus on the guidelines that are specific to your subject of choice. Read them carefully because they will be clear and concise and they will give you a very good idea of what a good IB extended essay should look like.
If you are particularly worried about citations and the style you should use, do read on and try to follow the next tips. They will help you understand more what it is that you should actually do.
- Always start by reading the subject-specific guidelines, since they will actually help a lot. Pay attention to all the details, since they can all be very important for the final grade.
- Acknowledge the importance citations have. For many of you, citing sources can be just another source of headaches, but the truth is that they actually have a purpose. First and foremost, every citation style out there will create a common ground between researchers in the same field, making it easier for everyone to read and understand your paper. Furthermore, it is important to use citations because they will show that you do not have the intention of stealing anyone's ideas. Plagiarism is a serious thing in the academic world and it is often associated with stealing - and you definitely do not want to be accused of having done that!
- The IB extended essay will allow you to choose one academic writing style (and thus, once citation style). Choose the one with which you are most familiar with, since this way it will be much less likely that you make mistakes about it.
- Be consistent in your use of that academic writing style and do not change it throughout the course of your extended essay.
- When you do your research, make sure you organize your sources properly, since this will definitely help you find the sources to cite much easier and it will prevent you from having to re-do half of the work just because you forgot where you found one piece of information you want to use in your essay.
A bibliography is an alphabetical list of every source used to research and write the essay. Sources that are not cited in the body of the essay but were important in informing the approach taken should be cited in the introduction or in an acknowledgment. The bibliography must list only those sources cited.
A citation is a shorthand method of making a reference in the body of an essay, either as an in-text citation or footnote/endnote. This must then be linked to the full reference at the end of the essay in the bibliography. A citation provides the reader with accurate references so that he or she can locate the source easily. How sources are cited varies with the particular referencing style that has been chosen. It is important to emphasize that there must be consistency of method when citing sources.
A reference is a way of indicating to the reader, in an orderly form, where information has been obtained. A reference provides all the information needed to find the source material. References must be cited because:
- they acknowledge the sources used
- they enable the reader to consult the work and verify the data that has been presented.
References must be given whenever someone else’s work is quoted or summarized. References can come from many different sources, including books, magazines, journals, newspapers, emails, internet sites and interviews.
There are a number of different styles available for use when writing research papers; whatever style is chosen, it must be applied consistently and in line with the IB’s minimum requirements. The style should be applied in both the final draft of the essay and in the initial research stages of taking notes. This is good practice, not only for producing a high-quality final product, but also for reducing the opportunities and temptation to plagiarize.
The IB’s minimum requirements include:
- name of author
- date of publication
- title of source
- page numbers (print sources only)
- date of access (electronic sources only)
Any references to interviews should state the name of the interviewer, the name of the interviewee, the date and the place of the interview.
For more detailed information on styles for citations and referencing please refer to:
- Effective Citing and Referencing
Explains why citations are needed, what needs to be cited, when citations are necessary, and how to cite, and also provides a list of citation definitions, a documentation checklist, and a chart showing the elements to be included in a reference.