It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Citation Help: Home
This guide will help you understand why citations are important, what information should be cited, and give you resources for creating citations.
What is a citation?
A citation is the basic bibliographic information about a source organized in a specific format.
Citations contain the title, author, publishing information, and access information in the case of electronic sources.
Citation styles are defined by professional organizations and are specific to academic disciplines.
Your professor may require you to use a particular style.
Commonly used citation styles are: APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and CMS (Chicago Manual of Style).
To Give Credit
Credit to the author of the original words, ideas or research to show honor and respect for their work and their legal rights.
To Avoid Plagiarism
Ensures that you are not taking credit for the work of another.
To Maintain the Accuracy and Credibility of Your Work
Establishes that your data and facts are correct and allows the reader to check the source for themselves.
To Allow Readers to Trace and/or Expand On Your Research
Provides a trail to the original research or idea
What do I cite?
A paraphrase or summary of another's words or ideas
A chart, diagram, illustration, or image created by another
Information, images, audio, video, or other media found on a website
Common knowledge, such as generally known dates, facts, myths, historical events, common sense, or common expressions do NOT need to be cited.
When in doubt, cite your source!
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the act of using someone else words, ideas, or other original materials without acknowledging its source.
Plagiarism occurs when:
another's words are quoted without citing the source
someone else's thoughts or ideas have been copied into your paper without the source being cited
the summary or paraphrasing of another's thoughts or ideas is too closely related to the original language or syntax
text created by another student is turned in as your own
citations are falsely created
If you're concerned about whether or not you might be plagiarizing in your work, meet with a librarian to review the material.
Click on the tabs in this guide for more information and to see some common examples of materials cited in each style, including examples of electronic sources. For numerous specific examples, see Chapter 29 of the 8th edition of Scientific Style and Format.