How Do I Cite My Sources?
How do I Cite?
To avoid plagiarism, always inform your audience of any ideas or words that are not your own. Seems simple, right?
There are discipline-specific systems in place that provide "rules" for citing your sources. These systems are called "style guides." Different style guides (MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.) explain how to cite your sources in that particular system. MLA style is usually used for English and literature, APA for the social sciences, and the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) for historical research. Here at Le Moyne College we also have "The Handbook for Historians" which is a specialized guide for History students.
There are many more styles out there, such as CSE (Council of Science Editors) for the sciences, ACS for chemistry research, ASA (American Sociological Association) used by sociologists, AMA (American Medical Association) which is used by medical disciplines.
Consult our Citing Sources Guide for more information and guidance.Remember, if you are not sure which style to use, ask your professor.
There are two parts to every citation:
- the internal citation in the text/body of your paper;
- the Works Cited or Bibliography where the full source citation is listed.
Move on to the next two sections of this page to learn more about each section.
The list of sources at the end of your paper may have different names depending on the style guide you use. You may be familiar with the term bibliography.
- A paper in MLA style will need a Works Cited page.
- Research papers in APA style require a list called References.
Check your style guide for more information.
Regardless of what the list is called, the entries include all of the works (books, articles, Internet sites, etc.) you’ve quoted, paraphrased or otherwise used to create your paper. Let's look at a Works Cited page in MLA style as an example. Each entry is listed in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. This way, readers may learn where you found the information.
For example, if you quoted a line from a novel called Buffalo Hill by James Baxter, then the citation information (author, title of work, publication information, year, etc.) about Buffalo Hill will be listed in your Works Cited page under Baxter, James.
The format of each entry here is in MLA style. Notice that citations for different types of publications have different "rules of the road" for how they are structured. Journal articles, books, magazine articles, interviews, websites, and various other publications all have specific citation structures. Lillian Johnson's article is from issue number 5 of volume 41 of the Journal of Literature. Christine Parson's article is from a magazine, not a journal, so the citation is structured in a different way.
Armstrong, Jack. “Never Let Me Down.” Journal of Important Topics 15.3 (2008): 9-12. Print.
Baxter, James. Buffalo Hill. New York: Penguin, 2003. Print.
Johnson, Lillian. “Delicate Balance: The Prose Works of Jeremiah Wayne.” Journal of Literature 41.5 (2010): 143-155. Print.
Miller, Christopher. "The Evolution of Waynesian Aesthetics." Literary Journal 73.8 (2013): 37-59. JSTOR. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.
Parsons, Christine. "Jeremiah Wayne Breaks Free." New Yorker 15 Dec. 2014: 22-35. Print.
Creative Commons License
This guide is adapted from the Plagiarism Tutorial created by the University of Southern Mississippi. This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License.