Citation vs Reference
As citation and reference are two important terms used in research methodology, the difference between these two terms have to be understood clearly. Citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source. It is generally an abbreviated alphanumeric expression found in the pages of a thesis or a dissertation. The primary motive of citation is to exhibit your intellectual honesty. On the other hand, reference consists of the act of referring. Reference appears at the bottom of a page as a footnote as well as a list at the end of the thesis or the paper you are writing.
What is Citation?
A citation is how you quote the source of the ideas within the body of the research paper. Citation is included at the places wherever you quote from different authors. Normally, you put the citation at the end of the sentence within brackets. Inside this bracket, the author’s name, year the book was published or the page in which this particular extraction appeared are included. What exactly comes inside this bracket is a decision made by the format you follow in writing the paper. Different formats have different styles for citation. You can see that from the following examples.
APA – ‘Her blood warmed the earth (Martin, 2014).’
MLA – ‘Her blood warmed the earth (Martin 263).’
The very purpose of citation lies in the fact that you are willfully acknowledging the writer of the work from whom you have borrowed a quotation.
What is Reference?
Reference consists of the act of referring. As a researcher, you refer to some books and journals while writing the thesis or dissertation. As a matter of fact, you would include some references in the pages of your thesis in the form of footnotes. The footnotes contain the reference passages taken from the relevant books and journals from which you quote them. At the end of each chapter, you would give the corresponding books and journals from which you have picked the quotations mentioned in the footnotes. These are references. However, you do not have footnotes in APA style. You only have a list called ‘References’ at the end. Also, when it comes to the end list that gives references, there are small changes between those lists in different styles too. This list of reference is normally known as the Bibliography. In APA, this list is known, as mentioned earlier, as ‘References.’ In MLA, the list is named ‘Works Cited.’ Also, APA reference list only contains the sources you have actually cited in the text. In other lists of reference, normally the sources that were only consulted are also included. Here are some examples of the way reference appears in these end lists.
Usually, references are included at the end of every chapter of a thesis or towards the end of the thesis. The purpose of reference is only to let the reader of the thesis know the various books from which you have quoted, from the list at the end or footnotes.
What is the difference between Citation and Reference?
It is customary to write the references in the preparation of research papers and dissertations. It is important to note that both reference and citation contribute to the making of a thesis. Both are equally important but in different senses. A reader of a thesis gets to know about the authors and the subject while going through the reference and the citation. Remember, the format of the citation and reference is decided according to the format of the paper you are following.
• A citation is how you quote the source of the ideas within the body of the research paper. Reference is the sources you have used to write the sources. These sources can include both included and consulted sources. However, in APA, only included sources come under the reference list.
• List of reference that appears at the end of an APA paper is known as References. List of reference that appears at the end of a MLA paper is known as Works Cited. Citation is known as citation in any format.
• Usually, references are included at the end of every chapter of a thesis or towards the end of the thesis. On the other hand, citation is included at the places wherever you quote from different authors.
• The very purpose of citation lies in the fact that you are willfully acknowledging the writer of the work from whom you have borrowed a quotation. On the other hand, the purpose of reference is only to let the reader of the thesis know the various books from which you have quoted, from the list at the end or footnotes.