Q: How should I cite a reference that I found in a paper?

Detailed Question -

If I am planning to use a reference that I have come across in another paper, how I am supposed to write the reference? It will be great if I can get detailed advice.

2 Answers to this question

If you have come across a reference from one paper (A) that has been cited in another paper (B), then A is the primary source while B is the secondary source. In such cases, you must first read the original paper or primary source (A) and ensure that the context of the citation has been correctly presented in B. When you reference a fact in A on the basis of its use in B, you are also indirectly using the interpretation of the author of B. There is a possibility that the interpretation in B might be wrong: therefore, you should always read the original article before you reference any fact from it in your study.

When writing the citation, you do not need to cite the secondary source unless you are using some information from it. If you have just come across A through B, but are not using any other content of B, then you don’t need to cite B at all. You should just read the original article (A) and cite it.

However, if you want to discuss how B uses information from A, then you would have to cite both the sources. So, in that case you can say something like “Author B (2004) says as cited in Author A (1965)…” or “Author B (2003) says, based on the results of the study A (1965)….”

Hope this answers your question.

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