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How to Cite

Resources for citation help, including handbooks and quick guides, for MLA, APA, Chicago, and AMA styles.

In This Section

quotation mark in a speech bubbleIn this section, you'll find:

  • When to cite the sources you find and use in your writing
  • Advice on identifying the type of source you're working with

Step 1: Use

Did any information from the resource make it into your paper or project?

If you're paraphrasing or quoting directly from the source, cite it!

Did you summarize or even briefly mention the resource as an example?

Even if you only mention the source in passing, cite it!

Step 2: Identify

Infographic on identifying source types

What kind of source are you citing?

Sometimes it's obvious. Sometimes--not so much.

 

Common Source Types:

  • Books and ebooks -- the whole book or just a chapter
  • Scholarly Articles -- from databases, online journals, and print journals
  • News or magazine articles -- from databases, the publication's website, or in print
  • Videos -- from YouTube, a streaming service, or on DVD
  • Websites and blogs -- freely accessed on the Internet

 

Not-so-common Source Types:

  • Conference Proceedings
  • Personal Interviews
  • Datasets

 

How do I tell what kind of source I have?

  1. Where did you find it?
    • Library databases and the catalog have indicators for what type of publication the source is (icons, tabs of the search results)
  2. Look for clues within the source itself
    • Pay attention to publication titles ("Journal of...")
    • Volume and issue numbers are good indicators of serial publications like scholarly journals
    • Are there ads? Popular sources will have ads, while scholarly sources generally will not
    • How is the source organized? (books will have chapters; scholarly articles will have typical sections like background, methods, results, discussion; blogs/news/magazine articles will be shorter, have links)
  3. Look it up
    • A quick Google search might help you identify what kind of publication you're working with
  4. Ask
    • Still not sure? You can always ask a librarian or talk to your professor