In order to understand the citation process please look at all the boxes on this page.
The tips at the bottom of the page are great!
A citation is a reference to the source of information used in your research. Any time you directly quote, paraphrase or summarize the essential elements of someone else's idea in your work, an in-text citation should follow. An in-text citation is a brief notation within the text of your paper or presentation which refers the reader to a fuller notation, or end-of-paper citation, that provides all necessary details about that source of information.
Direct quotations should be surrounded by quotations marks and are generally used when the idea you want to capture is best expressed by the source.
Paraphrasing and summarizing involve rewording an essential idea from someone else's work, usually to either condense the point or to make it better fit your writing style.
In-text citations alert the reader to an idea from an outside source.
In MLA and APA styles, in-text citations usually appear as parenthetical notes (sometimes called parenthetical documentation). They are called parenthetical notes because brief information about the source, usually the author's name, year of publication, and page number, is enclosed in parentheses as follows:
MLA style: (Smith 263)
APA style: (Smith, 2013, p. 263)
Parenthetical notes are inserted into the text of the paper at the end of a sentence or paragraph:>
In MLA and APA styles, in-text citations are associated with end-of-paper citations that provide full details about an information source.
Note: Different source types and situations require different information within the parentheses. Refer to a style guide for the style you are using for details.
Citing your sources is important for a number of reasons:
Citations consist of identifying information about the sources you are using in your research. To cite properly, you need to be able to distinguish between different types of information sources. For example, there are different rules for citing print versus online sources, and individual online articles versus articles from library databases.
You will also encounter different scenarios with your various sources types that require different ways of citing. For example, sources with no author, sources with multiple authors, multiple sources by the same author, and indirect sources.
Although the online style guides are very helpful, there are situations and types of sources for which they do not provide explicit instructions. If the type of source you are using is not included in the style guide, follow the guidelines for the most similar type of source. For example, the liner notes of a music CD would be similar to an anthology of poetry.
If you cannot find a certain piece of information (for example, many websites do not list an author or page numbers) most style guides will tell you how to handle these situations.
Before you start your research:
As you research:
When we use another person's idea in our research, we must include a brief notation next to that idea to let our readers know who developed it. This brief notation is called an in-text citation. At the end of our work, we include a fuller notation, which provides details that allow others to identify and locate the source in which we found that idea. This fuller notation is referred to as an end-of-paper citation.
Which details must be included within these in-text and end-of-paper citations, and how each is formatted, depends on the citation style we have been asked to use. For example, in both APA style and MLA style, the in-text citation typically goes inside a set of parentheses. In both Chicago style and CSE style, in-text citations are typically indicated with superscript numerals that refer to footnotes (bottom of page) or endnotes.
Information on SBL is forthcoming with the new updates (August 2016)
In all four of these styles, the end-of-paper citations are listed on the last (usually separate) page of the paper. In that page is titled "References." In MLA style, that page is titled, "Works Cited." And, in CSE style, that page is titled "Cited References."
Each citation style has different rules about how in-text and end-of paper citations for various source types (books, articles, web pages, videos) and situations (online, print, no author, multiple authors) must be constructed (what is included, and in what order) and formatted (punctuation, italics, capitalization).
There are thousands of citations styles, but APA, MLA, CSE and Chicago are the four most commonly used in college research writing. Each style also has formatting rules for the paper itself, including title page rules, font size, section headers and so on. You will find details about the rules of a particular style in the style guideslocated at the tab (above) for that style.
You do not have to cite your own ideas, unless they have been published. And you do not have to cite common knowledge, or information that most people in your audience would know without having to look it up.