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Citing Sources   Tags: citing, how_to_guide  

Last Updated: Jun 4, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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In 2009, the Modern Language Association (MLA) released the 7th edition of MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers

In 2010, the American Psychological Association (APA) also released the 6th edition of its Publication Manual

Since the changes in both these major style manuals were substantial and relatively recent, some professors may still want you to use the older rules.  Always ask your professor about his/her citation expectations!


What Style Should You Use?

Your professor will usually specify the citation style required for your paper or project. Always check with him or her about any specific questions regarding expectations and requirements. Some general guidelines, though:

MLA style - typically used in the Humanities (e.g., English)

APA style - used for Social Sciences (e.g., Psychology, Sociology)

Chicago style - used in History; also, a version of Chicago style, Turabian, is often used in Calvin Religion and Seminary courses


MLA, APA, and Chicago Styles

MLA, APA, and Chicago styles are the three most common documentation styles required by Calvin professors. The rules and guidance for these styles are provided the manuals listed below. They can be found in print in the library's Reference Collection and also at the Research Assistance Desk:

Note that a number of online tools and resources may offer citation help, but they are not always correct nor cover every situation. The style manuals are considered the authorities for citation and formatting rules.

You may also want to check the official websites for these styles: MLA, APA, Chicago.


Citation Generators

Citation generators are online tools that create your citations for you (you just need to enter the information):

KnightCite Use KnightCite, Calvin's own citation generator (works with MLA, APA, and Chicago styles).

Or try:

  • NoodleTools Express - MLA, APA, Chicago
  • EasyBib - APA, Chicago, but only free for MLA
  • Microsoft Word citation generator (under the References tab)

Citation Help in the Research Databases

Most databases (especially our major vendors:  Gale, ProQuest, and EBSCOhost) now provide a citation link that will automatically generate citations in most major styles. Look for a "Citation" or "Cite This" link in the database record. 

Further Help with Citations

Still have questions?  These websites provide extensive examples and help with documenting sources:

Hekman Library

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Research Librarians
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Contact Info
Research Assistance Service, Summer 2014:
Online and on-call. Ask at the 2nd floor Circulation Desk if you need assistance from a librarian.

Phone: (616) 396-6307
Text: (616) 214-3355

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