Skip to Main Content

Citing Sources: APA, MLA, Chicago

Why Citing is Important?

Citation is an important part of the research process because ...

  1. It allows you to give proper credit for the ideas of others and avoid plagiarism.
  2. It allows others to identify and locate the materials used in your work. Many readers rely on citations to identify other relevant literature on a topic.
  3. It demonstrates the depth of your research showing that you have read and engaged the relevant literature on your topic. This indicates that you have an informed understanding of your subject and enhances the credibility of your findings.

What Needs to be Cited?

Whenever you quote, paraphrase, summarize, or otherwise refer to the work of another, you must cite the source using either a parenthetical citation, footnote, or endnote. In addition, a References page or Works Cited page is almost always placed at the end of your paper.

In-text citations are abbreviated citations that are in the body of the paper. They direct readers to the full bibliographic citations listed in your Works Cited or References list. In most cases, they include the author's last name, year, and page number for the information cited.


Which Citation Style to Use?

Different academic disciplines use different citation styles. The three most popular citation styles are MLA, APA, and Chicago. It is always best to ask your professor which citation style they prefer, but as a general rule these styles are used as follows:

  • MLA: Art, Literature, and the Humanities
  • APA: Psychology and the Social Sciences
  • Chicago: History, Humanities, and the Sciences