What Are Citations and Why Are They Necessary?
Whenever you do research to write a paper or create a project, it is essential that you document the sources that you used. When you cite your sources, you lend authority and credibility to your work by providing evidence for your research and by helping your reader to determine how you drew upon the work of others to support your own original argument and ideas. You also avoid plagiarism by giving credit to the authors whose work informed your own.
You must include a citation if you quote directly from a source, but also if you paraphrase, summarize, or otherwise incorporate another author's opinions or ideas. It is also important that you cite the sources in which you found facts, information, data, and visuals (images, charts, or graphs) that you used in your work.
It is not necessary to provide citations for information considered "common knowledge" (for example: Barack Obama was the first African American President of the United States). However, it is sometimes difficult to determine what constitutes common knowledge ... so, when in doubt, cite!
Click here for more information on Why and When to Cite.
In most academic writing, there are two parts to a citation. Parenthetical references, footnotes, or endnotes inform your reader of the sources you consulted throughout your paper. A Bibliography (also called Works Cited or References) is a list of all your sources that is included at the end of your paper.
The way that your format your citations and your bibliography depends upon the citation style that you choose. Below, you will find information about resources, called style manuals, which will help you to cite sources in the common citation styles. Different academic disciplines use different citation styles, so the style that you use should be selected based on the subject of your paper and your professor's requirements for the assignment.
APA Citation Style
ASA Citation Style
Chicago Citation Style
MLA Citation Style
Turabian Citation Style
APA (American Psychological Association)
APA is used most frequently in the sciences and social sciences.
Style manuals for APA are available in print at Bertrand Library. In most cases, these resources are in the Research Help area on the main level. Click on the title for additional information about locating the source:
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th Edition (2010)
Concise Rules of APA Style, 6th Edition (2010)
Selected online style guides for APA:
ASA (American Sociological Society)
ASA is used most frequently in sociology. If you would like to see some examples of citations in ASA Style, take a look at the Quick Style Guide from ASA.
Style manuals for ASA are available in print at Bertrand Library. In most cases, these resources are in the Research Help area on the main level. Click on the title for additional information about locating the source:
American Sociological Association Style Guide, 3rd Edition (2007)
The Sociology Student Writer's Manual, 5th Edition (2006)
Selected online style guides for ASA:
Chicago Style includes two systems of documentation. The notes and bibliography system is used by many disciplines in the arts and humanities. The author-date system is used by disciplines in the physical, natural, and social sciences. If you would like to see some examples of citations in Chicago Style, take a look at the Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide online.
The Chicago Manual of Style is available in print at the Research Help area on the main level of the library and in the Reference Collection. Click on the title for additional information:
The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th Edition (2010)
Selected online style guides for Chicago:
MLA (Modern Language Association)
MLA is used most frequently in humanities disciplines such as English, foreign language, and literature.
The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is available in print at the Research Help area on the main level of the library and in the Reference Collection. Click on the title for additional information:
MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th Edition (2009)
Selected online style guides for MLA:
Except for a few small differences, Turabian is identical to Chicago. If you would like to see some examples of citations in Turabian Style, take a look at the Turabian Quick Guide online.
Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, aimed especially at student writers, is available in print at the Research Help area on the main level of the library and in the Reference Collection. Click on the title for additional information:
A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th Edition (2013)
Selected online style guides for Turabian:
Citation Managers and Generators
Below, you will find a list of tools that will help you to format your in-text citations, notes, and bibliography and some that even allow you to store, manage, and share your research resources.
Remember that software and online tools are not infallible and that the citations you create using these programs are only as good as the information that you enter into them. Be sure to check your citations carefully.
Refworks: Bucknell approved software (free to students, faculty, and staff) that enables you to create collections of citations from anywhere, at any time. Citations can be added to RefWorks manually or imported from many library databases, including the catalog. The files that you create can be shared with others or worked on by a group. Citations can be inserted into Word documents in a citation format you wish to use, such as APA or MLA.
Zotero: A free tool that helps you to organize and share all types of research resources, from journal articles to books to webpages. You can also use it to store PDFs, images, audio, and video files and to generate citations and bibliographies.
Mendeley: A free reference manager and academic social network that allows you to store and annotate PDFs, share your documents with others, organize references, and generate citations and bibliographies.
KnightCite: A citation generator, maintained by the Hekman Library of Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI), that allows you to input bibliographic information to generate MLA, APA, or Chicago style citations for a bibliography.
BibMe: A citation generator that allows you go input bibliographic information to generate MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian style citations for a bibliography. More robust than KnightCite, BibMe uses external databases such as WorldCat to fill in information for you.
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