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Summer Start 2015: Citing Your Sources

Citation Tools

The Modern Language Association (MLA) has specific guidelines for the formatting, layout and citation of resources in academic papers. The following links provide citation guidance.

MLA Style Guides

  • MLA at the Purdue OWL -- One of the most comprehensive and frequently updated online resource for MLA Style.

General Writing Resources

  • Writing Style and Structure Guide -- This comprehensive guide covers academic essay preparation, structure, grammar and a a host of additional resources for the academic writer collated from online education resources.

For more Information please see a reference librarian and/or The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition.

What IS a citation?

Style guides, like the MLA and APA, explain how you should format your written work and how you should cite your references.

Citations are important because they:

  • Show your Professor that you performed research on your subject and found pertinent sources;
  • Demonstrate that you can use sources correctly and are not plagiarizing content;
  • Contextualize your statements within the broader conversation;
  • Add credibility to your work as a student and scholar.

What sources need to be cited?

Any time you quote or paraphrase the ideas of another, you should provide a citation.

You do not need to cite things which are common knowledge ("there are seven days in a week" or "the sky is blue") or your own opinion, but you DO need to provide citations for the facts and opinions you borrow from others.

A citation....

  • describes a book, journal article, website, or other published item
  • gives credit to the originator of an idea, thus preventing plagiarism
  • enables the reader to retrieve the item you refer to
  • includes the author, title, source (publisher and place of publication or URL), and date

Online documents make it very easy to cut and paste information without thinking and without giving proper credit. Make sure you understand how to cite your sources.


Scope: Determining what is plagiarism and why academic honesty is important in research.  Recognizing and avoiding the dangers of plagiarism and the importance of citing properly.