How Do I Cite?

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Overview

In this lesson, you will learn about:
  • Citations and works cited lists
  • Information used to create citations
  • In-text citations

Citation: Definition

You already know that it is important to give credit to the sources you used in your research. But how do you do that?

In research, people create citations, which provide information about the source that they used in their work. More often than not, there are multiple citations in a research
project – they are placed in a list, which is called a bibliography or works cited list.

Bibliographies usually include all the sources you used to help with your research, even if they are not cited in your paper. Works Cited lists are lists of sources that are only used in your
assignment.

Citation Styles

When you create a citation, it has to follow a certain style. The most popular citation style used in schools is the Modern Language Association (MLA) style.

These styles require you to create, or format, citations in a certain way. Associations published handbooks that contain all the different rules you need to follow to make sure you are citing
sources correctly.

Different associations have different rules, so if you aren’t sure how the citation should look, double-check with a librarian.

Parts of a Citation

No matter which citation style you choose to use, citations often require the same type of information, they are just arranged in a different way.

Here is some information that can be included in a citation:

Author
Title of Work
Year of Publication
Publisher or Sponsor
URL
Date You Found It

We are going to look more closely at citations for websites, books, journal articles, newspaper articles and sources found in databases.

Citation Information

When citing a website in MLA format, you need to know the:

  • Author
  • Article title
  • Website title
  • Publisher or sponsor of the website
  • Date of publication
  • Date you found it online

Citing information online sometimes requires you to use the URL of the website. Keep track of your sources in case you need to go back to them later!

Citation Information: Websites

With this website article, much of the information is found near the top.

  • Box #1 has the website title and sponsor information
  • Box #2 has lots of useful information, including the article title, author, and date of publication
So what’s the difference between a website title and an article title?
A website title is the name of the entire site and it’s usually found in the top-left corner of a site. The article title is the title of the
specific page you are on.

Identify Information: Websites

From the website article, we were able to identify:

  • Author = Ronnie Schelby (Box #2)
  • Article title = Burrowing Owls Get a Helping Hand from the Corps of Engineers and Shareholders (Box #2)
  • Website title = Army.mil (Box #1)
  • Publisher or sponsor = The United States Army (Box #1)
  • Date of publication = May 14, 2013 (Box #2)
  • Date we found it = August 2, 20
An MLA citation for this website would look like:

Schelby, Ronnie. “Burrowing Owls Get a Helping Hand from the Corps of Engineers and Shareholders.” Army.mil. The United States Army, 14 May 2013. Web. 02 Aug. 2013.

Citation Information: Online Newspapers

Online newspapers are different from general websites because the material has been reviewed by editors for accuracy and quality. Authors are almost always listed, too.

  • Box #1: Website title (we can make an educated guess the city of publication is New York, too)
  • Box #2: Article title
  • Box #3: Author and date of publication
  • Box #4: Publisher (found at the bottom of the website)

Identify Information: Online Newspapers

From the online newspaper article, we were able to identify:

 

  • Author = Natalie Angier (Box #3)
  • Article title = The Owl Comes Into Its Own (Box #2)
  • Website title = The New York Times (Box #1)
  • Publisher or sponsor = The New York Times Company (Box #4)
  • Date of publication = February 25, 2013 (Box #3)
  • Date we found it = August 2, 2013

An MLA citation for this online newspaper article would look like:

Angier, Natalie. “The Owl Comes Into Its Own.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 25 Feb. 2013. Web. 2 Aug. 2013.

Citation Information: Books

When you are looking for citation information for a book, check out the title page. The title page is found within the first few pages of the book.

  • Box #1: Book title
  • Box #2: Author
  • Box #3: City of publication, publisher, year of publication

In-text Citations

Organizing all the resources you’ve used in a bibliography is a key step in citing your sources. But listing them at the end is not enough!

You also need to specify within your assignment when you have used someone else’s idea, phrase or quote. This is done by creating an in-text citation.

What Are In-text Citations?

In-text citations are found at the end of a sentence that has used a piece of information from a source in your bibliography.

In MLA, in-text citations are created by putting the author’s last name in parentheses. If you are citing a print resource, you also need to include the page
number
that mentions the idea, phrase or quote you’re citing.

Creating an In-text Citation

In-text citations are found at the end of a sentence that has used a piece of information from a source in your bibliography.

In MLA, in-text citations are created by putting the author’s last name in parentheses. If you are citing a print resource, you also need to include the page
number
that mentions the idea, phrase or quote you’re citing.

Using the New York Times article from before, a parenthetical citation could look like: Owls have played an important role in literature for kids. “Owls are a staple of children’s
books” and toys (Angier).

It is really important to keep track of the information you use in your research. There are online tools that can help you organize your research, or talk to a librarian for tips on keeping
everything in order!

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