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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.

Why bother? 

Citations highlight and acknowledge resources you read to arrive at your final product. We don't write in a vacuum; your readers want to read the resources you read, or respond. This is a facet of scholarly communication, and it is actually pretty interesting. Your writing has value, as do the resources you are citing. Your work increases in value by placing it in the context of other writing and research.
 

Citation Managers

Citation managers can be very helpful when dealing with both collecting citations and generating bibliographies. They aren't perfect, but they make those more complicated papers with lots of sources much more manageable -- if you know how to use them well. While there are many citation managers to choose from, the University Libraries recommend and use RefWorks.
 

Citation Style

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

 

  • MLA style (Modern Language Association) - Humanities 
  • APA style (American Psychological Association) - Education, Psychology, and Business
  • Chicago/Turabian (Professor Turabian, University of Chicago) - Sociology, History and some of the Fine Arts

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. 

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: