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Citation Guide: Home

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. 

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, ask your professor.

Styles:

  • MLA: often used for languages and the humanities disciplines, like English
  • APA:  usually used in the social sciences
  • Chicago and Turabian: often used by history scholars

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

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 more help, consult a copy of Rules for Writers available at Musselman Library.

Need more help?

Unsure about what you're reading here?  Visit our Need Help - Ask Us page and connect with one of our librarians who can help you understand.

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