Reference vs Citation – Difference and Comparison

What is Reference?

Reference is a term used to describe mentioning or citing a source in an academic paper, book, or another form of writing. This type of reference allows readers to locate the source material used on a paper. This type of referencing is essential for ensuring the accuracy of a piece of paper and for providing credit to the original author of a work.

Reference is used to support the arguments and ideas presented in some writing. When referencing, it is essential to provide enough information to locate the source quickly because it includes the author’s name, date of publication, title, and publisher’s name. The type of material being referenced should also be included, such as books, articles, websites, etc. It is also essential to provide page numbers or paragraph numbers if applicable.

In conclusion, referencing is an essential aspect of academic writing. It is used to provide readers with a way to locate the source material and give credit to the work’s original author.

What is Citation?

The Citation refers to a source of information in a paper or other work. It is used to provide evidence for a claim or argument made in employment and to demonstrate the author’s credibility.

Citations are formatted in a specific way, depending on the style guide used for the paper. Citations allow readers to find the source material for the work, enabling them to verify the author’s claims and explore the topic further. Authorities also would allow authors to give credit to the originators of ideas they use in their work, which is essential for academic integrity. When including a medal, the author must provide relevant information about the source material, such as its author, title, date of publication, and publisher.

Citation is an integral part of academic writing and is essential for academic integrity. It allows authors to give credit to the originators of ideas and enables readers to verify the author’s claims. Authors can ensure their work is credible and attributed adequately by correctly formatting and including citations.

Difference Between Reference and Citation

  1. Reference refers to or cites published works’ sources by accurately describing the source material. At the same time, Citation is quoting or citing the exact words or phrases used in the source material.
  2. Reference is used to credit the authors of the source material, while Citation is used to highlight the source material.
  3. The reference gives the readers a glimpse of the source material without having to read the whole material, while Citation provides the readers a direct access to the original material.
  4. The reference provides an overview of the source material and its context, while Citation is used to copy the exact words and phrases used in the source material.
  5. Reference is a general description of the source material, while Citation is a direct quote.

Comparison Between Reference and Citation

Parameters of ComparisonReferenceCitation
DefinitionA reference is a source of information of an authority relied upon by an author in support of their argument.A citation is a reference in an academic paper or publication that acknowledges the source of information being used.
PurposeA reference provides evidence to support an argument or claim.A citation includes proof of the source of information and helps verify the validity of the dispute or claim.
FormatReferences are listed alphabetically and may be formatted by a particular style guide.Citations are formatted according to a particular style guide.
LocationReferences are listed at the end of a paper or publication.Citations are included within the text of the article or publication.
Listed inBibliographyFootnotes


  1. The explosion of knowledge, references, and citations: Psychology’s unique response to a crisis. – PsycNET (