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Citing and Documenting Sources: How to Cite

Different Citation Styles

The first step to writing your citations is choosing a style to follow.

How to choose a style?

Always ask your instructors which style they prefer. As you take more and more classes in different departments though, you'll notice that certain disciplines tend to use certain styles. So, if you're taking English, chances are you'll need to use the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. If you're taking Psych, you'll probably need to use the American Psychological Association (APA) style. Whichever style you choose, be sure to use it throughout your paper—be consistent.

Some styles to choose from include:

Style Manuals

These books are available in the reference section on the 1st floor of the library. If you have trouble finding them, please ask for help. The Perdue OWL site is also a great site for finding examples and rules.

How to Cite - During & After

Two techniques of citing and documenting sources that are usually required in academic writing are: 1) providing a list of citations at the end of the paper and 2) citing within the text of the paper. These two techniques are used together.

Cite At the End

Provide a list of the complete citations for your sources at the end of your paper. Depending on the style you're using, these lists are sometimes called "Works Cited," "References," "Bibliography," or "Works Consulted" to name a few. And of course, formats for citations vary from style to style.

Cite as You Write

Cite within the text of your paper to help the reader quickly distinguish between your thoughts and words and thoughts of someone else. In-text citations also guide readers to the appropriate complete citation in the list at the end of your paper. Methods of citing sources within your text include using footnotes, endnotes, and parenthetical citations. Formats for these documentation techniques vary from style to style.

Citations in the Databases

Almost all of our databases offer a citation generator. Use the links below to see screen shots of how to access them.