Why cite sources?
- Establish your credibility. As an information consumer, you may be skeptical, especially if information is new or doesn't agree with what you previously knew. Let your own audience know how you got your information and why they should believe you.
- Help your readers. Citations enable readers to learn more about what you're talking about, and to verify the information you're providing. Citations provide context for your reader. In other words, citations show how your work fits into the larger conversation that experts are having about this topic.
- Avoid plagiarism. When you cite, you're giving credit where credit is due! Plagiarism (to pass off someone else's work or idea as your own) is dishonest and can have serious consequences (AR 7030-02).
- Other people's ideas. If someone has a unique idea, you should give them credit, even if you don't use their exact words. In fact, avoid using too many quotes in your paper! You want it to be your own--not a patchwork of other people's writing. Try paraphrasing unless someone expresses something in a special way you want to capture.
- Other people's words. For short quotations, put quotation marks around the words. MLA and APA have different formats for citing long (block) quotations.
- These could be in many formats: books, tweets, podcasts, articles, and websites, etc. There are special rules for citing emails and other conversations that the public can't access. In APA, you only cite these in-text as personal communications. In MLA, there are also special ways to cite emails and interviews.
- Your own experiences and thoughts. The introduction and conclusion of a paper often include more of your own background, commentary, and opinions, so citations may be denser in the middle of your paper.
- Common knowledge: for example, that the symbol for potassium is K, that World War I ended in 1919, or that the U.S. federal government has three branches. If you're not sure whether or not something is common knowledge, go ahead and cite it anyway.
- Ask your instructor what citation style you should use, if they don't indicate this on their syllabus. MLA and APA are the two most common styles at LBCC. You can find more resources about each style in the links on the sidebar. If your instructor asks you to use another style, contact a librarian for help.
- Try using a citation generator like Zotero Bib (quick video introduction) to create a draft of your works cited or reference list.
- Be sure to check any automatically-generated content against examples from the OWL@Purdue or another credible source like this guide!
Some of the above information was paraphrased from: Valencia College. (2020). MLA, APA, and Chicago guides. https://valenciacollege.edu/students/library/mla-apa-chicago-guides/index.php
Citing in MLA Style: Info & Examples
- Works Cited: A Quick Guide from the MLA Style Center. Practice identifying and placing the elements of a works cited entry.
- MLA 8 Citation Examples. A printable PDF with works cited entries for common formats.
- This MLA 8 Tutorial from the Excelsior Online Writing Lab walks you through MLA style step-by-step.
- MLA Style Introduction from the OWL@Purdue provides an overview and lots of examples of in-text citations and works cited entries.
- Sample Papers in MLA from the MLA Style Center.
Double-check! APA 6 or 7?
Most of the resources on this page are for the current (7th) edition of APA. Some LBCC instructors may still be using the 6th edition. While the basic concepts are the same, the formatting is quite different! See the three resources right below for information on APA 6th edition:
Citing in APA (7) Style: Info & Examples
- APA Style, 7th Edition, Quick Reference Guide. A PDF from APA Style explaining how to cite the most common sources (books, articles) in APA.
- APA Style, 7th Edition, Reference Examples. Examples of the most common works that writers cite.
- APA Style, 7th Edition, Sample Papers. In most cases, students should use the Student Sample Paper.
- This APA 7 Tutorial from the Excelsior Online Writing Lab walks you through APA style step-by-step.
- APA Style Introduction from the OWL@Purdue provides an overview and lots of examples of in-text citations and works cited entries.
- APA Style Blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find authoritative information not addressed by the APA Publication Manual.