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Citation Help

Citation Basics

Citing sources is an important part of academic writing. To learn more, review our tutorials on when and why to cite sources, and Plagiarism 101.  

Different disciplines use different citation styles. Organizations that have developed citation styles publish a style guide, or manual, which details the guidelines and requirements of formatting documents and citing sources in that particular style, and provide examples.  Two of the most frequently used citation styles are those from the American Psychological Association (APA) and the Modern Language Association (MLA).

Don't see your citation style listed here?  Consult with a librarian for more information.


Basic Components of a Citation

Getting Started

To create citations for your paper, follow these steps:

  1. Determine what type of citation style your instructor wants you to use, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago.
  2. Identify what type of document you are citing.  Possibilities include a book, a chapter in a book, an entry in a reference work, a scholarly journal article, a magazine article, or a government document.  For help with this, consult a reference librarian.
  3. Use the resources in this guide to find an example to follow to format your citation in APA, MLA, or Chicago style.