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Citation Resources

MLA, APA, Chicago, Government Documents...citing sources can be confusing until you get the hang of it. This guide is here to help.

You Too Can Survive Citation

This LibGuide is here to provide you with resources to assist in making good decisions about when, where, and how to cite sources appropriately. The tabs above will guide you to style-specific resources.

*many thanks to the librarians who created the citation research guide at Butler University for some of the ideas, resources, and language used in this guide. 

Citation Help is Here

 Why bother? 

 
Citation lends importance to your work by highlighting and acknowledging the scholarly and informational literature you consulted to arrive at your final product. We don't write in a vacuum; your reader may want to read further, or respond. This is a facet of scholarly communication, and it is actually pretty interesting. Consider the possibility that your work has value, as does the writing you are citing. Your work only increases in value by placing it in the context of other writing and research.
 
Citation Managers
 
Bibliographic citation managers can be very helpful when dealing with both collecting citations and generating bibliographies. While they aren't perfect, they make those more complicated papers with lots of sources much more manageable -- if you know how to use them well. Teachers and librarians alike recommend that you get a handle on doing citations manually before using citation tools so you know when mistakes are being made. Then you can correct them before handing in a faulty paper unaware. While there are many citation managers to choose from, here at the library, we recommend and use RefWorks. More about RefWorks can be found at the libguide here and at the link in the red RefWorks circle on this page.
 

 Citation Style

 

Depending on what discipline you are writing in (English? History? Biology?), you may be using a different style of citation. The main styles are listed below, with links that take you to different pages within this guide. However, if you are citing a source published by the government, you will cite it using special consideration. For more on that, see the government documents page in this guide.

 

  • MLA style (Modern Language Association) is typically used by the Humanities 
  • APA style (American Psychological Association)  often is used by Education, Psychology, and Business
  • Chicago/Turabian (Professor Turabian, University of Chicago) is generally used in Sociology, History and some of the Fine Arts

 

What Should I Cite?

YOU SHOULD CITE WHEN:

  • Referring to a source and stating someone else's opinions, thoughts, ideas, or research
  • Using an image or media file that you did not create

WHEN REFERRING TO A SOURCE, YOU HAVE THREE OPTIONS:

  • Directly Quoting
  • Summarizing
  • Paraphrase

YOU DO NOT NEED TO CITE:

  • Your thoughts and your interpretations
  • Common knowledge​

Intentional and Unintentional Plagiarism

For more information and resources about plagiarism - intentional and unintentional:

It's In a Book

Center for Writing and Communication

logo for Center for Writing and Communication

The Center for Writing and Communication, housed on the first floor of McWherter Library, offers free, individual consultations with a trained staff. Get feedback on your writing and speaking assignments at any stage in the process - up to and especially citation.