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How Tos

Learn how to research at the library and on the Web.

APA

MLA

Chicago Manual of Style

Zotero - Citation Management Software

Mendeley - Citation Management Software

What are citations?

Citations direct readers to the source of information.

The following information...

"Currently, the most influential factor for cocoa sustainability is believed to be the economic stability of cocoa farmers and their families and the profitability of their farms."

is from the following source...

Book Title: Chocolate and Health: Chemistry, Nutrition and Therapy 

Chapter: 2.6 Current View of Cocoa Sustainability

Page: 49 - 50

Authors: W Jeffrey Hurst and Philip K Wilson

Publication Year: 2015

Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry

Citing in Your Bibliography

When you want to use information from that source in your paper, you will add the citation to your bibliography (called References in APA and Works Cited in MLA) so that your readers can easily find the source if they wish. Each citation format puts the information together a little differently. Here are examples for APA and MLA:

Citation for References (APA)  

Hurst, W. J., & Wilson, P. K. (2015). Chocolate and health: Chemistry, nutrition and therapy. Royal Society of Chemistry.

Citation for Works Cited (MLA)

Hurst, W Jeffrey, and Philip K. Wilson. Chocolate and Health: Chemistry, Nutrition and Therapy. Royal Society of Chemistry, 2015.

Citing in the Text of Your Paper

When you incorporate the information from your source into the text of your paper, you add an "in-text" citation at the end of the sentence that contains the information. This in-text citation tells readers that you got that information from that particular source and refers them to the full citation in your bibliography. Here are examples of how it would look in APA and MLA: 

In-Text Citation (APA)

"The most influential factor for cocoa sustainability is believed to be the economic stability of cocoa farmers and their families and the profitability of their farms" (Hurst & Wilson, 2015, pp. 49-50).

In-Text Citation (MLA)

The most influential factor for cocoa sustainability is believed to be the economic stability of cocoa farmers and their families and the profitability of their farms" (Hurst and Wilson 49-50).

When do I cite?

You must cite the source of your information whenever you

  • quote something,
  • paraphrase something, or
  • use ideas or information that you learned of from another source.

Why provide citations?

To give credit

Citations give credit to the person who created the information originally.

To share your sources with your readers

Citations allow you and your readers to partake in the scholarly conversation about your topic.

By showing where you found your information, you allow your readers to go look at the information themselves, make their own interpretation of it, and then join back in the conversation and add to or refine what you have already written.

To strengthen your argument

Providing citations is also a way of being transparent which adds credibility to your argument.

If you say something that is based on your own opinion, that is fine, but does not add much credibility.

If you can show why you think something and where you found the evidence to make you think something and show others where they can also go look at the evidence and draw their own conclusion, this adds credibility to what you are saying.

Why use style formats?

Research

Understanding style formats is helpful when you are looking at a bibliography (list of sources) in an article or book and want to track down an item. Knowing the elements of a citation will tell you:

  • if something is an article or a book,
  • located in print or online,
  • who wrote it,
  • and when and where it was published.

Think of style or citation formats as a method of communication about the resources used for research. People from around the world can look at a citation and know where the resource came from, what it is, and can then track it down.

Career

You may never use MLA or APA in your career, but the practice of using a format as a method of communication is something that you will probably do every day as a professional in some form or another.

Recognizing types of resources based on a style format and knowing how to locate them is also a valuable and transferable skill.