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Citation 101

Librarian-crafted instructional guide for how to cite and manage sources

Citation How-Tos - Types and Examples

There are three main ways you might cite a source and integrate it into your own writing:

  1. Quoting - directly using the exact words or graphics from another source

             Ex: According to the McKee translation of Calvin's Institutes, "those who are educated in the liberal arts... have a special help for entering more profoundly into contemplation of the secrets of divine wisdom" (McKee, 30-31).

        2. Paraphrasing - using your own words to rephrase certain thoughts or ideas from another source

            Ex: Calvin seems to argue that those who pursue higher education can draw on their learning of creation to more deeply explore and understand the Creator (McKee, 30-31).

        3. Summarizing - briefly describing the major points of a certain source or passage

            Ex: One topic addressed in Calvin's Institutes is the role of education - how scholarship can truly be a Christian pursuit (McKee, 30-31).

You'll notice that some of these may involve your own words, but since the ideas are still from another source and not common knowledge, they all count as situations where you need to cite your source! For Quoting, use quotation marks to mark off the exact piece you are referring to and include citation information using either parentheses or footnotes (depending on the citation style); you may also provide some information in the sentence on the person who spoke the words or source that passage came from. For Paraphrasing and Summarizing, you may not need to use quotation marks but you should still mention the source in the sentence and include the citation information with parentheses or footnotes.

Below you'll find some links to examples of how to cite different sources in different styles. Remember, you can find more information in citation style manuals and tools on the What Are Citation Styles? page, and you can always bring your questions to either a librarian or the Rhetoric Center.

Videos for Citation How-Tos

Youtube thumbnail - title on colorful powerpoint slide
Youtube thumbnail - title on colorful powerpoint slide
Youtube thumbnail - title on colorful powerpoint slide

Links for Citation How-Tos

Click the images above to view videos by Laurier Library on how to cite in these most common citation styles, and explore the links below for sample papers from Purdue Owl's site. For full explanations and examples on even more styles, look for their citation style guides in the library's collection, online or in print.

What's a Bibliography?

There's another part to citing your sources that comes at the end of your paper - the Bibliography, also called the Works Cited or the References. This is your master list of every source you have referred to in your paper, with every item listed and formatted according to whatever citation style you are using. A bibliography is required for proper citation, in addition to all the in-text parentheses or footnotes, so don't forget! You may also sometimes be assigned to write an Annotated Bibliography - for this, you'll take your list of citations and write some description and analysis for each source. For any case, if you have any questions about formatting, remember that you can consult the appropriate citation style manual for examples and detailed instructions on how to create your bibliography. Also, if you are using Zotero, you can look for the plugin button in Word or Google Docs to "Add/Edit Bibliography" to import citations directly from your Zotero library (see the How Do I Manage My Sources? page for more on Zotero).