Citation 101


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An introduction to citation. Answers

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Citation 101

  1. 1. Citation 101: Answering the big questions about citation An Online Tutorial brought to you by Pilgrim Library
  2. 2. Watch this tutorial if you: Have never written a paper that made you cite sources Want to save yourself time and make writing papers easier Think citation is confusing and hard
  3. 3. What is citation? When you start writing in college, you will be expected to support your statements with credible sources. This means conducting research and finding reliable and accurate sources of information. Citation is giving credit to those sources.
  4. 4. What is citation? Ultimately, when you create a citation, you are giving your readers (professors) all the information they’d need to go look up your source for themselves. You will cite your sources in two main ways: 1. List the complete citation information at the end of the paper (Works Cited/Bibliography/Reference page) 2. Put a brief reference to your source within your text whenever you pull information or quotes from that source (In-text Citation)
  5. 5. Why does it matter? It matters for 3 reasons: 1. The author deserves credit for his/her work. If you took a beautiful photo or came up with a great idea, you’d want credit for it too. 2. People are more likely to believe what you are saying if you make it easy for them to check your facts. 2. Success in college requires it. No matter your major, professors are going to expect you to cite and cite well. Don’t get busted for plagiarizing!
  6. 6. Why is this stuff so tricky? • It’s hard to classify what we want to cite. To know what your citation should include and look like, you need to know what type of source you have. A lot of times this gets complicated and forces us to make tough judgment calls. Can’t tell the difference between an article in a newspaper, journal, magazine, or special issue scholarly periodical? Need help identifying what your source really is? Ask a librarian! We’re happy to help!
  7. 7. Why is this stuff so tricky? • I just want something to do this for me. It’s tedious, time-consuming and focuses on details that seem to have no importance. It seems like by now someone should have invented something that would do this for us – and there are things like this out there. But how can you trust a site to get all these details right if you struggle with it? Many citation generators are faulty and can lead to serious citation mistakes. Don’t risk it! You have to do this for yourself, but you have plenty of resources and people around to help you through the process! Don’t hesitate to ask for help!
  8. 8. Why is this stuff so tricky? • It’s hard to find all the necessary pieces of information needed to make citations. It’s frustrating to search for bits of information that are in various places on different sources, and sometimes aren’t present at all. This is especially true for online resources: unfortunately, many websites don’t include authors’ names or the dates of their last update. Again, ask your librarian for help finding citation pieces. They are information experts and know all the best places to search for this stuff.
  9. 9. What are citation styles? Citation styles are just different ways of formatting your papers and the information about your source. There are several different citation styles. MLA, APA, and Chicago are the most common citation styles. You will probably have to use each of these at some point during your college career.
  10. 10. Why are there different styles? Citation styles are created by organizations that each tend to cater to an academic discipline. MLA -- Modern Language Association (Humanities – English, Literature, Composition & more) APA -- American Psychological Association (Social Sciences – Psychology, Sociology, Business, Education & more) For example, authors are very important to those who study writing or literature, so in an MLA citation the author’s entire name is listed first.
  11. 11. How different are the styles? Most of the citation styles piece together the same bits of information in different ways. Here are some common ways that citation styles differ: • Order of citation information With APA it’s author-date-title-publication and with MLA it’s author-title-publication-date. • Capitalization With APA, only the first word, proper nouns, or the first word following a semicolon are capitalized. MLA and Chicago titles are capitalized according to headline style. • Punctuation Be sure to follow your guide closely because the placement of punctuation varies from style to style, and these little details can be tricky! • Required Information Most styles want title, author and publication information but some extra information can be required at times. For example, Chicago style wants a persistent url for articles from online databases.
  12. 12. See the differences? These three citations are all for the same online article. Bonds-Raacke, J. (2008). Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty: Developing a course APA on Disney and fairytale movies. Journal of Instructional Psychology, 35(3), 232-234. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. Bonds-Raacke, Jennifer M. "Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty: Developing a MLA Course on Disney and Fairytale Movies." Journal of Instructional Psychology 35.3 (2008): 232-234. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 16 July 2010. Bonds-Raacke, Jennifer M. "Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty: Developing a Course on Disney and Fairytale Movies." Journal of Instructional Psychology 35, no. 3 (September 2008): 232-234. Chicago host-live (accessed July 16, 2010).
  13. 13. So how do I go about making a citation? 1.Have a citation style manual handy. Whether online or in book form, this will tell you what pieces of information to look for about your source and how to order and format them properly.
  14. 14. So how do I go about making a citation? 2. Look at your source and decide what it is: Book? Article? Electronic source? 3. Look at the works cited/bibliography part of your citation style manual and see the subcategories that fall under your answer for #2. Book with one author, multiple authors, corporate author, no author? Browse through all the subcategories and decide which most closely fits your source.
  15. 15. So how do I go about making a citation? 4. Look at an example for this subcategory. Break it into parts and determine what pieces of information are you going to need to find about your source. Title, author name, date, publisher, etc. 5. Find these pieces of information about your source. 6. Bring the pieces together and format them (capitalization, punctuation, order) as the example is formatted.
  16. 16. Think of it this way: • Use your Style Manual as a cookbook. • Look up a specific recipe – for example, an article from an online journal • The recipe will vary a bit from cookbook to cookbook because everyone has a different way of doing things. • See what ingredients are required for your recipe and gather them together. • Follow the recipe’s guidelines exactly, in the correct order. • Savor your finished product – a proper citation!
  17. 17. Congratulations! You successfully finished the library tutorial: Citation 101 If you have any questions about this tutorial, please get in touch with Pilgrim Library or email
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