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"Ethics, copyright laws, and courtesy to readers require authors to identify the sources of direct quotations
and of any facts of opinions not generally known or easily checked."
--Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition (Chicago: Chicago Univ. Press), p. 594
When doing research, it is necessary to consult and gather information from a variety of places and authors. Therefore, it is important to cite the author (and the work) for a variety of reasons:
Learn about how and why we cite in academic writing with this interactive tutorial. You will learn some basics of overall citation best practices and then have the opportunity to learn the details of how to cite a website, book, and journal article in either APA, CSE or MLA. If you're taking this tutorial for a class, you'll have an opportunity to print a certificate of completion to submit to your instructor.
There are a number of different styles or formats for citations, though APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian are the most common. Which style you use depends on the subject discipline you are working in. Each style includes the same basic parts of a citation (author, title, page numbers, etc.), but is organized slightly differently.
How do I know which citation style to use?
APA (American Psychological Association)
The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (Course Reserves, Services Desk BF76.7 .P83 2001)
Often used in the social sciences disciplines and many others.
MLA (Modern Language Association)
MLA Handbook (Course Reserves, Services Desk LB2369 .G53 2016)
Often used in the languages and English disciplines and some others.
A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (Course Reserves, Services Desk LB2369 .T8 2007)
Often preferred in the social sciences and humanities disciplines.
The ACS style guide: Effective communication of scientific information. (Reference QD8.5 A25 2006)
Often preferred by sciences.
If you are still unsure which citation style to use, consult with your professor for advice.