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ELS Guide: Citing Sources

Resource for ELS class.

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Citing Sources

When writing a research paper, you have to find sources that give you information about the topic you are writing about. This page will help you understand what "citing" means, when to "cite", and how to "cite".

What is a "source"?

A source is the book, article, or other resource you used to help you put information in your paper about your research topic. Sources can be found in a catalog and/or a database.

What does it mean to "cite a source"?

"Citing" means to give attention to, or credit, to the source or sources you used in your paper because they are not your own thoughts. When you cite, you are telling anyone reading your paper something about the source such as who the author or authors are, the title, where the information can be found (the book or journal it is in for example), when it was published, and more.

Where do citations go in my paper?

When you are writing your paper and add a fact, or information, you found from a source in your paper, you will add some information about the source near the sentence you wrote using a book or an article. Remember, this is not your own idea so you have to give credit to the person who gave you the information. Click here to see examples of citations within a paper.

How do I cite a source?

When citing a source, it is important that you do it correctly. Your instructor may have told you which format to follow when citing, such as MLA or APA format. Kelvin Smith Library has a Citation Guide to help you. Below you can go directly to the MLA or APA guides. These links will show you how to cite books, articles, magazines, and other print and non-print sources. They will also show you how to correctly format your research paper based on MLA or APA.

MLA (Modern Language Association)

APA (American Psychological Association)

Citation Help in Academic Search Complete

Academic Search Complete can help you generate citations for articles you find useful. Just go to the record for the article and click the "Cite" button on the righthand side of the page and then choose the style you need for your paper. Remember to double-check the citation though to make sure it is properly formatted to the citation style you are using.


Helpful Links

If you would like additional information on citing sources and avoiding plagiarism, check the links below.