Skip to Main Content

Citing: Home

What is Citing?

What Is Citation?

A "citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:

  • information about the author
  • the title of the work 
  • the name and location of the company that published your copy of the source
  • the date your copy was published
  • the page numbers of the material you are borrowing

FROM: What Is Citation? Plagiarismorg RSS. (n.d.).

Why Cite?

It is important to cite sources you used in your research for several reasons:

  • To show your reader you've done proper research by listing sources you used to get your information
  • To be a responsible scholar by giving credit to other researchers and acknowledging their ideas
  • To avoid plagiarism by quoting words and ideas used by other authors
  • To allow your reader to track down the sources you used by citing them accurately in your paper by way of footnotes, a bibliography or reference list

Creating Reference Lists

The Styles

There are a few main styles for citing sources, so check with your instructor about which style to use for your research. 

APA, American Psychological Association, is used for scientific and technical research. Instructors in behavioral science and hard science courses may require you to use APA  style for your references or bibliography page.

MLA, Modern Language Association, is used for research on general topics and literary criticism. Most instructors in English and Developmental Studies classes will require  you to use MLA style.

A few instructors prefer Chicago Manual of Style.  This style is used primarily in history and other social science research.


In-Text Citations