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Citing Sources: Creating Citations

Information about academic integrity, avoiding plagiarism, and guides to creating citations in a variety of styles, such as APA, MLA, AMA, Chicago and more.


About Citation

Why Cite?

There are three purposes to citation:

  • To give credit: when you provide a citation for a quotation or idea, you give credit to the person who came up with those words or that idea
  • To show authority: when you cite a source, you show your reader that you've done your research and are not making facts up.
  • To help your reader: A correct citation will make it possible for your reader to find the resources you used and the words or ideas that you cited.

How Do I Cite?

A citation entry needs to include information that identifies the source you used, like the author, the title, and the year of publication, among some other elements. At the end of your paper, you will usually list citation entries for all of the sources you used. This list is called "works cited," "bibliography," or "references." In addition, within your paper, you will note each time you have referred to a source, using an "in-text citation" or a footnote.

 There are different citation styles. Each style tells you:

  • How to format the author, title, year, and other identifying information in your final list of sources
  • Whether to use in-text citation or footnotes to note when you have used a source
  • In addition, the citation style you use will give you guidelines about how to format your paper

Why Are There Multiple Citation Styles?

Not to make your life difficult! Ask your professor what style to use. Usually, though, what style you use depends on what academic discipline you are working in.  For example, if you write a paper for an English class, usually you will use MLA style. If you write a paper for a psychology class, usually you will use APA. In the menu on the left, there is specific information on common citation formats

Formatting Your Paper

Each style guide will also tell you how you should format your paper--things like margins, font size, headings, title, punctuation, etc

What is Citation?

Style Differences

Used to using MLA, but now you need to use APA? Taking a history class for the first time, and now your professor is using Chicago? This page has side by side comparisons of how to cite different resources in each style


In-Text Citation

APA (Author, Year, p. #)

Two Authors: (Lastname & Lastname, Year, p. #)

Three or More Authors: (Lastname et al., Year, p. #)

No Author: ("Title of Work," Year, P#)

Organizational Author: (American Psychological Association, Year, P#)

MLA (Author #)

Two Authors: (Lastname and Lastname #)

Three or More Authors: (Lastname et al #)

No Author: (Title of Work #)

Organizational Author: (Modern Langauge Association #)

Chicago [footnote]: Author, Title, # 


Physical Books

APA: Lastname, A. (Copyright Year). Book title (Nth ed). Publishing Company                      

MLA: Lastname, Firstname. Book Title. Publishing Company, Copyright Year.

Chicago: Lastname, Firstname. Book Title. Publisher City, Publishing Company, Year.


Journal Articles (Retrieved Online)

APA: Author, A. (Year) Article title. Journal Title, volume number(issue number), pages, http:/        

MLA: Author, Firstname. “Article Title.” Journal Title, vol #, issue #, #-#, Year. Database Name, DOI.

Chicago: Author, Firstname. “Article Title.” Journal Title Volume number, issue number, (Month Year): Pages.



APA: Author, A. (Date). Page title. Site Name. URL

If the Website's Organization is the Author: Organization. (Date). Page title. URL.

MLA: Author, Firstname. “Page Title.” Website Name, Date. URL

Chicago: Author, Firstname. “Page Title.” Website Name, Date, URL.


Webpage (where some  information isn’t available or doesn’t exist)

APA: Page title. (n.d.) Site Name. Retrieved M/D/Year, from URL

MLA: “Page Title.” Website Name, URL. Accessed on Day Month Year.

Chicago: “Page Title.” Website Name. Accessed Month Day, Year.


Author and Authors


Two Authors: Lastname, A. & Lastname, B. 

Three to Twenty Authors: Lastname, A., Lastname, B., & Lastname, C.

More than Twenty Authors: Lastname, A., Lastname, B., Lastname, C., Lastname, D., Lastname, E., Lastname, F., Lastname, G., Lastname, H., Lastname, I., Lastname, J., Lastname, K., Lastname, L., Lastname, M., Lastname, N., Lastname, O., Lastname, P., Lastname, Q., Lastname, R., Lastname, S., ... Lastname, Z.

Unknown Author: Omit author and move (year) to after the title: Title. (Year). Location: Publisher.


Two Authors: Lastname, Firstname1 & Firstname2 Lastname.

More than Two Authors: Lastname, Firstname1 et al


Two or More Authors: Lastname, Firstname1 & Firstname2 Lastname.

APA (American Psychological Association)

What are the major features of APA? For full information, use the resources below:

  • Brief in-text citations
  • Bibliographic reference list at the end
  • Focus on the date of publication: in the social sciences, how up-to-date a resource is tends to be very important
  • Devised by the American Psychological Association, and used especially in the social sciences

MLA (Modern Languages Association)

What are the major features of MLA? For full information, use the resources below.

  • Brief in-text citations
  • Works Cited page at the end
  • Focus on the author or primary creator
  • Designed by the Modern Language Association, and used primarily in the humanities


Chicago (Author-Date and Notes & Bibliography)

What are the major features of Chicago? For full information, use the resources below.

  • Chicago style is used in many different disciplines, including history, business, and publishing (Ask your professor what citation format you should use)
  • The Chicago Manual of Style has information not only on citation, but also on punctuation, grammar, and writing style
  • While the official manual can be overwhelmingly comprehensive, there is also a simplified version for students, called Turabian
  • Chicago/Turabian allows two different ways of citing. The "author-date" method uses in-text citations and a reference list, like MLA or APA. The "note-bibliography" system uses footnotes (or endnotes) instead of in-text citations--you put a note every time you reference a source. Then at the end, you also create an alphabetical bibliography, similar to MLA or APA. 

Other Citation Styles

There are other citation styles that may be used for specific disciplines, for particular publications, or designed by individual organizations for their needs.

APSA (American Political Science Association)

SBL Handbook (Society of Biblical Literature)

The Society of Biblical Literature publishes a manual to help with formatting when writing with Biblical sources, including conventions around transliteration of words

AMA (American Medical Association)

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Citation Managers

Citation Managers allow you to collect and organize all your scholarly sources (from Touro Quicksearch, Ebsco, Proquest, Google Scholar, and other databases), into one place. Then, you can use the citation manager to easily and quickly create citations for your research papers.

But be careful! The citation you get will only be as correct as the information the citation manager collected: If Ebsco formatted something wrong, or if the citation manager's algorithm is out of date, your citation will also be wrong!

ALWAYS proofread the citations, and remember that YOU know more about the sources you are citing than the citation manager does. 

Citation Generators

With a citation generator, you input the citation information and choose the style, and the citation generator formats it. But be careful! Make sure the information you put in is accurate and complete, and that you know what kind of source it is (book, article, website, dissertation, etc)

ALWAYS double-check that the end result is correct. Citation generators are convenient but not perfect, and YOU know more about the source than the generator does

What to Cite & How

Any time you use information or ideas from another source, whether you are directly quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, or referring to that source, it is very important to appropriately cite. Follow the links below for more information on identifying when citation is necessary

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