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Citations Guide

Citation Guide for APA, MLA, and Chicago Styles

Citation Formats

What is a Citation?

A citation is a reference to the original source of a given piece of information and allows the reader to locate it themselves.

There are two kinds of citations:

  • In-text or Footnote citations: These are short references placed within the body of a work (in-text) or at the bottom of the page (footnote) within the work.
  • Full citations: These are placed at the end of a resource, located in a References, Bibliography, or Works Cited page.

Most citations include the following information:

  • Author(s): The person, group, or organization that created it.
  • Title: The name of the resource.
  • Source: Where it is published. (Location and publisher for books; journal, volume, and page number for articles.)
  • Date: When it was published.
  • URL: Uniform Resource Locator for online resources.


Why do I need to cite my sources?

Why do I need to cite my sources?

In writing your research paper, you will usually use the ideas of previous authors. In order to use and build on those ideas in your paper, you must cite where information comes from.

There are three main reasons why you need to cite:

1. Provides solid research to help prove the information you present 

2. Allows anyone who reads your paper enough information to find the source you used

3. Prevents plagiarism and gives credit to the original author

There are two parts to citing sources. In-text citations and References (APA), footnotes or endnotes and Bibliography (Chicago), or in-text citations and Works Cited (MLA) page. 

Please contact a Librarian if you need any help with your citations! 

When Should I Cite Something?

You need to cite it when:

  •  Quoting: using another person's exact words
  •  Paraphrasing: restating another person's ideas or thoughts in your own words
  •  Summarizing: a concise statement of another person's ideas or thoughts in your own words
  •  Reusing facts, information and data; this includes your own previously published works
  •  Discussing studies, arguments, points of view

You do not need to cite:

  • Well known facts and common knowledge
    • information found in many sources
    • information that most people know
    • information shared by a cultural or national group
  • Your own ideas
  • Things that are easily observed
  • Common sayings that are used in everyday speech

When in doubt, cite it!