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University of Connecticut University Libraries

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, Part VI on Academic Integrity, for acknowledging the research and ideas of others, knowing what plagiarism is, and creating accurate bibliographies or "works cited" lists. Whenever you use the quotes or thoughts of others in your own papers, 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?
For starters, check you syllabus or ask your instructor to see what citation style you may be required to use for your 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.

The Library has style books and online guides to help.

 

What is a citation?
Citations are what you find in bibliographies. It will provide your reader with the information needed to identify your source. A citation of a book generally includes: author(s), title, publisher, date. A citation of an article generally includes: author(s), article title, magazine title, volume, pages, and date. Citations for web documents and articles from databases also include a URL and the date the information was accessed.

research 101 citation module Try a brief tutorial on understanding citations.

How do I cite?
Detailed instructions and examples of how to do citations and bibliographies for papers are found in style manuals. You will also need to learn how to paraphrase and summarize so that you avoid plagiarizing. Oten, 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.

Example, if you're writing about bullying and documenting data stated by Whitted found on page 167 of an article, your paragraph may read as follows:

According to Whitted, thirty percent of students in grades 6 -10 reported bullying.

MLA Citation
Whitted, Kathryn S. "Best Practices for Preventing or Reducing Bullying in Schools." Children & Schools July 2005: 167.

APA Citation
Whitted, K. S. (2005). Best practices for preventing or reducing bullying in schools. Children & Schools, 27(3), 167.

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.

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 bibliographies according to specific styles. The most common cases include:

* copying someone else's words from print or web sites without citing the sources
* quoting, paraphrasing or summarizing someone incorrectly
* downloading a paper from a "free source"
* cutting and pasting from a variety of sources without citing the sources
* recycling an old paper

Test your plagiarism knowledge

Online Citation Tools
The following web sites are helpful in creating your citations and formatting your paper. Note that the software behind these interactive tools, do not correct spelling errors or take into account and special circumstances that you may need to cite accurately. Always double check your citations with style books and library handouts.

Landmark's Citation Machine
Creates citations in MLA and APA styles.

Templates for Research Papers (Wright State University)
Templates that indicate spacing, margins, and more for MLA and APA formats, among others.