Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citation Guides: How to Cite Your Sources

Welcome!

This LibGuide connects you with resources to assist with citing your sources. Click on the side tabs to explore style-specific resources.

Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction

Transcript

  This video is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license. 
NCSU Libraries Credits

 

Overview

YOU SHOULD CITE WHEN:

  • Referring to a source and stating someone else's opinions, thoughts, ideas, or research
  • Using an image or media file that you did not create

When in doubt, cite it


WHEN REFERRING TO A SOURCE, YOU HAVE THREE OPTIONS FOR USING IT:

Handwritten text that starts with a quotation mark and ends with a parenthetical citation.

  1. Directly Quoting 
  2. Summarizing 
  3. Paraphrase 

"Which option you should choose depends on how much of a source you are using, how you are using it, and what kind of paper you are writing, since different fields use sources in different ways."

 Grounds for Argument. When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize a Source. Used under CC BY NC SA

Image:  Random quote by Gabriel Jones. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


YOUR SOURCES HAVE AN IMPORTANT ROLE BEYOND AVOIDING PLAGIARISM

Sometimes you are asked to respond to a point of view given in a particular article or other source. Other times, you are asked to include a certain number of sources in your paper. Here are some questions to ask yourself as you think about incorporating sources into your paper.

  • Does your source provide some context or background information?
  • Has the source shaped your thinking about your topic or somehow influenced your opinion about the topic you are writing about?
  • Is your source an authority on the subject and including it would strengthen your position?
  • Does your source provide evidence that backs up your claims? If so, remember that you will need to explain the relevance of the source to your readers. 
  • Does a source disagree with you on the points you are trying to make? Don't leave it out of your paper. Include it, but explain how your points of view differ and why their position may not be as compelling as yours.

Based on Harvard Guide to Using Sources: A Source's Role In Your Paper

Remember that your sources can play multiple roles in your paper. Ask yourself how this source fits in with your topic or your position.  Support your claims by giving as much context as possible to your readers.  Avoid simply providing a source without including information about how it relates to your topic or your thesis. Why should your readers care about this source you cite?

YOU DO NOT NEED TO CITE:

  • Your thoughts and your interpretations
  • Common knowledge​

FOR MORE HELP WITH WRITING AND USING SOURCES

More Examples of MLA In-Text Citations

Ukiah Campus: 707.468.3053 | Coast Center: 707.961.2200 | Lake Center: 707.263.4944 | North County Center: 707.459.6224
Email: Library Webmaster | Mendocino Community College

Powered by Springshare. Login to LibApps