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Boatwright Memorial Library


This guide provides information on citing your sources in some of the most commonly used citation formats: APA, MLA, ASA and Chicago.

Do you need help with research? Try the Getting Started with Research Guide and ASK a Librarian!

Quick Citing

Quick citing tools can help you get started, but ALWAYS check the Style Guides for specifics as you are responsible for accurately citing your sources.

Zotero - Quick Start

Citing Media

What is Plagiarism?

Citation Research

Citing Sources - Getting Started

The tabs above for APA, MLA and Chicago/Turabian provide formatting examples for the most common types of print and electronic sources of information.

If you need help with citing sources, consult the appropriate style manual, a Reference librarian, or the Writing Center.

Styles of Documentation

Different disciplines have developed different styles, or rules, of documentation. Fields in the humanities, like literature, religion, or philosophy, tend to prefer MLA style. History and some social sciences, like education, economics, or political science, may prefer Turabian or Chicago style. Other social sciences and some sciences prefer APA. Scientific writing has many different formats, depending on the discipline.

You should always consult with your professor to determine which style you should use for any project. There are whole books devoted to writing and documenting research in each of these styles. For details, you should refer to the individual style manuals; there are copies of all of them on in Boatwright Library and in the Research and Collaborative Area. To ensure that your citations conform to current practice, always use the most recent edition of any style manual. 

Why Cite?

Research findings are not considered valid and legitimate unless the researcher documents the resources and methods used to conduct that research. For a scientist, this entails a detailed account of materials and methods used in the lab or the field. For the social scientist, it may mean including copies of surveys, questionnaires, observations, or other methods used to gather information. For any researcher using verbal or graphic materials, regardless of the medium—print, Internet, film, photographic, microfiche, etc...—it means indicating exactly what sources were used and where each piece of information came from.

The purpose of documenting your sources is so people interested in the subject of the research can verify information or refer to it for additional information or research. Accurately and completely documenting all sources of information used is therefore essential to the scholarly conversation — and foundational to research.

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