Citing Sources

  • Citing The student sources!

    Decide on the citing system (academic referencing) that the student plan to use.  Do check to make sure it is one of the citing sources that IB recommends for your subject.

    Why do I need to reference everything?

    The student MUST reference all the resources and cite where the resources and ideas that the student use in order to avoid plagiarism.  The student should use the chosen style of referencing (Chicago, APA or MLA) as soon as the student start writing.  That way the student is less likely to forget a citation.  It is also easier than trying to add references at a later stage of working on the extended essay.


    It is very important to reference ALL t sources because it answers these questions from the reader:

    1. Where did the student find the information?
    2. What kind of source is it?
    3. Where can I find the source myself?
    4. What range of sources did the student use?

    Definitions: Bibliography, Citations, Referencing


    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 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 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