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Citation Style Guides   Tags: apa, chicago, citation, citing, mla  

Use this Guide for citing your research correctly. The three most used citation style guides are covered: APA, Chicago/Turabian, and MLA.
Last Updated: Nov 18, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Ready for Citations

Now that you have the articles and books for your project, here's the next step.

African Man Behind Stack Of Library Books.
[Photography]. Retrieved from Encyclopædia Britannica Image Quest.



There are quite a few different ways to cite resources in your paper.
The citation style usually depends on the academic discipline involved. For example:

  • MLA style is typically used by the Humanities.
  • APA style is often used by Education, Psychology, and Business.
  • Chicago/Turabian is generally used by History and some of the Fine Arts.

Check with your professor to make sure you use the required style guide. Whatever style you use, BE CONSISTENT!


Video - "why citing is important"

Created by Kimbel Library, Coastal Carolina University
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Why Cite?

Your research paper writing draws on ideas and research published by others. It 's important to research thoroughly to learn about your topic, and crediting your sources is an essential step in the research process.

How citing sources benefits you:

  • Citing sources that support your own ideas gives your paper authority and credibility.
  • Citations act as proof that you have researched your topic thoroughly. 
  • Giving credit to the sources you have used protects you from suspicion of plagiarism. 
  • A strong Works Cited or Reference List can impress your professor.

When to Cite

To avoid the potential for plagiarism, a good rule of thumb is to provide a citation for any idea that is not your own. This includes:

  • Direct quotations
  • Paraphrasing of a quotation, passage, or idea
  • Summary of another's idea or research
  • Specific reference to an obscure fact, figure, or phrase

You do not need to cite widely-accepted "common knowledge:

  • George Washington was the first President of the United States
  • Leonardo da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa.
  • The capital of France is Paris.
  • Common phrases, unless you are using a direct quotation

When in doubt, avoid the possibility of plagiarism and cite your source.

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