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Citing Sources: Home

Learn how to cite your sources!

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Why Cite?

A citation (or reference) records the information necessary to finding the sources you consulted in your research. Common elements include the author's name, the year of publication, the publisher, the title of the journal in which an article was published, and the title of a book. In general, it is appropriate to cite the materials consulted in your research whenever they are used in your own work. Use of another's work could take the form of any of the following:

  • Quoting part of a sentence or even an entire passage (a 'block quote')
  • Paraphrasing or summarizing ideas
  • Using a statistic that is the result of someone else's research
  • Critiquing another's work

Providing a citation serves a number of purposes. By properly attributing ideas, opinions, and statistics to their authors, you avoid taking undeserved credit for them (plagiarism). It also allows the reader to confirm that you are representing others' work accurately. Finally, it serves as a starting point for those who are interested in exploring the topic further.

Getting Citations from Library Databases

Many library databases include tools to automatically cite your sources in a prefered format, such as MLA or APA style. Look for a "Cite" button or quotation mark icon, as in these examples:

Quick Search
Academic Search Complete and other EBSCO databases
Academic Video Online     
Ebook Central
Opposing Viewpoints in Context and other Gale databases

Remember, computer-generated citations aren't always perfect! It's your responsibility to check the accuracy of your citations. Visit our guides to APA, MLA, and AMA styles to learn more about formatting your citations.