Citing Sources

“In research writing, sources are cited for two reasons: to alert readers to the sources of your information and to give credit to the writers from whom you have borrowed words and ideas.” —Diana Hacker,  A Writer’s Reference

UConn students are responsible under the Student Code, Appendix A on Academic Integrity, for acknowledging the research and ideas of others, knowing what plagiarism is, and creating accurate bibliographies Whenever you use the quotes or the ideas of others, you must indicate where you found them. Each citation should include enough information so that the reader can easily track down the material.


Where do I begin?
Your syllabus is your primary guide.  This is where your instructor will indicate the preferred style for writing papers. Different disciplines use different styles. For example, APA (American Psychological Association) is typically used in the social sciences, MLA (Modern Language Association) in English and literature, and Turabian in history. In STEM fields,  you may be asked to use the Council of Science Editors Manual  Style Manual (CSE) for biology,  or American Chemical Society Style Guide (ACS) for chemistry.  Refer to the links below for help.

What is a citation? Citations/references are part of a research paper and noted in  bibliographies. They provide your reader with the information needed to identify your source. A book citation will generally  include: author(s), title, publisher information,  pages, and publication date. A citation for  an article generally includes: author(s), article title, publication title, volume, pages, and date. Citations for web documents and articles from databases also include a URL and the date the information was accessed.

How do I cite? Citing is a two-step process. First you’ll quote, paraphrase, summarize, or refer to information from a particular source and then you’ll direct the reader to the exact title listed in your bibliography.
Many databases will provide a citation for you, allowing you to select  the style that would be appropriate for your research paper. Although similar information is documented for each style as noted below for a video, the sequence, abbreviations, capitalization, and grammar will change.

MLA 8th ed. Sleeth, Shannon., et al. Girls’ Business Friendship and Bullying in Schools. White Plains, NY, Video Education America, 2005.
APA 6th ed Sleeth, S., Collins, C., Garner, S., Leigh, R., & Video Education Australasia. (2005). Girls’ business friendship and bullying in schools. White Plains, NY: Video Education America.
Chicago/Turabian 16th ed Sleeth, Shannon., Cath. Collins, Simon. Garner, Richard. Leigh, and Video Education Australasia. Girls’ Business Friendship and Bullying in Schools. White Plains, NY: Video Education America, 2005.


What do I have to cite?
You need to cite anything that you found in outside sources, whether the source is from a printed or online source, or directly from an interview with someone who is providing data for your paper. When in doubt, cite…

  • newspaper articles or magazine articles
  • books or book chapters
  • web sites and web pages
  • encyclopedias
  • statistics and charts
  • emails, interviews or speeches
  • group projects

What is plagiarism? The most basic definition is copying text and using it without giving credit to the author. Many times, plagiarism issues come up because of lack of experience in researching a topic, writing a paper, and creating incorrect bibliographies. The most common plagiarism cases include:

  • copying someone else’s words from print or web sites without citing the sources
  • quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing someone incorrectly
  • downloading or buying  a paper and claiming it as your own
  • cutting and pasting from a variety of sources without citing the sources
  • recycling an old paper

Online Citation Tools The following web sites are helpful in getting you started on your bibliographies. Note that t these  interactive tools, do not always provide  fully accurate citations, so refer to guide books and library resources to document sources accurately. 

EasyBib : Creates citations in MLA style.
NoodleBib : Creates citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.
Purdue OWL : Detailed guides to creating citations and formatting papers for MLA and APA formats, among others.