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First-Year Experience Library Guide: Citing sources

Introduction to Citing Sources

Introduction to Citing Sources

Why should I cite my sources?

All research sources should be identified and cited in your research report/paper whether they are print resources or electronic articles or Web sites or classroom notes.  Not only does it enable others, as well as yourself, to find the source listed, but it also gives credit to the person whose work you quoted or paraphrased, or whose ideas you incorporated into your own report. 

When you do research for a paper, write down all the necessary information needed to locate the material in a citation format. When accessing Internet resources, be sure to WRITE DOWN the URL. Another option is to use RefWorks.

What style guide should I be using for my research?

There are different citation styles depending on your field of study:

  • Humanities/Fine Arts:  Modern Language Association (MLA) or Chicago Style, depending on the requirements of your instructor.
  • Social Sciences:  American Psychological Association (APA) or American Sociological Association (ASA)
  • Business:  Either APA or MLA, depending on the requirements of your instructor.
  • Sciences:  There are several formats depending on your specific field of study.  The major one is the Council of Science Editors (CSE). Check out the Science tab for other options.

What is the difference between footnotes, endnotes, and notes within the text?

When you are quoting or making a reference to information directly from another source, you must always identify that source. You do this in a note. Notes are called Footnotes when they appear at the bottom of the page and Endnotes when they are collected at the end of each chapter or of the entire paper.  Frequently notes are cited within the text of your paper. Some citation styles only use Notes Within the Text.

What is RefWorks?

RefWorks is Citation Management Software which helps you keep track of the citations for the resources that you use in your research.  UST provides access to RefWorks, and you can continue to have access to your RefWorks account after you graduate from St. Thomas.  Most of the time you can export directly to RefWorks from the database where you found your citation.  You can create individual folders for every paper or report that you are working on.  When you have all your citations, you can then click a few buttons and RefWorks will create your bibliography/reference list using the specific citation style that you need to use.

WARNING:  Since RefWorks uses the information that it gets from databases and Web sites, the final version may be incorrect (i.e. missing information or in the wrong order).  You still need to know how to do the specific citing style that you are using.

Also, there are other free citation tools available on the Web, such as Zotero.

Resources covering multiple styles

The following resources cover at least two of the following styles for citing sources:  MLA, APA, Chicago, Sociology, Council of Science Editors, & IEEE: