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Citation Guide  

Last Updated: Jan 13, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Why do I need to cite?

When writing a paper, or completing a lab report or other project or assignment, it is important to give credit to the authors of ideas you incorporate into that writing in order to avoid plagiarism. 

How do you know if you might be plagiarizing?  Librarians, Writing Center tutors, and your professors can help you.  Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers a concise but descriptive guide for avoiding plagiarism which includes examples of the kinds of information you should cite as well as examples of information you don't have to cite. 

Check it out, and ask for help if you're not sure.


How can the library help?

In this guide, we've provided a few examples from both MLA and APA styles to help you format citations.

For additional examples from MLA and APA, as well as from Chicago (history), and CSE (Council of Science Editors), please consult Research and Documentation Online for your desired citation style. 

Research and Documentation Online follows the same guidelines as Rules for Writers, the Bluffton campus standard.

There are copies of Rules for Writers available at Musselman Library, if you'd like to consult the hard copy of this resource - just ask for help at the Research and Information Desk.


What's a citation style?

A citation style is a method for formatting citations, both in-text and lists of references.  Different academic disciplines use different citation styles.  If you're not sure which style you should be using to write your citations in any particular assignment, you should ask your professor.

Two very common styles are MLA and APA.  MLA is the style usually used in humanities disciplines, like English.  APA is the style usually used in the social sciences. 

Chicago and Turabian are both styles often used by history scholars. 

You may encounter other styles in your academic career, especially if your studies continue into graduate school.

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