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Citation Tools: Citation Basics

Helpful Hints

Keep track of your sources as you research.

Don't forget that many databases have citation tools built in!

Write down information about your sources as you find them. Include the article title, the author, and information about the book or journal such as volume or publisher.

Why do we cite?

Citations contain information about any work you have used in your research that is not your own.

The information that you will include in a citation will most often be the same no matter what style you are using; the information will just be listed differently.





Place of Publication

URL (Websites only)

Different disciplines call for different writing styles - ask your professor which style to use.

It is important to cite any source that you use in your research.

Here's why:

  • Citing gives proper credit to the original creator of the work.
  • Citing shows all of the sources you consulted in your research and displays your research process.
  • Citing provides a trail to help others find the sources you used.
  • Citing helps you to avoid plagiarism by showing where the information you used came from.

Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction

From North Caroline State University

What should I cite?

You must cite any work that is not your own, including:

  • Text
  • Graphics
  • Photographs
  • Works of art
  • Music
  • Anything that is not considered common knowledge (something that is known by most people)

When in doubt, cite it!

An infographic stating that if you think of something yourself you do not need to cite that idea, but if you did not think of it yourself and it is common knowledge, you do not need to cite it. If it is not common knowledge and you did not think of it yourself, you do need to cite it.

Image from UCSD's Social Sciences and Humanities Library