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Research Basics: 5. Citing Your Sources

How to search and find library resources

The proper citation of sources is how scholars acknowledge the work of earlier scholars. Ideally, citation provides a method for tracking down the research of others by providing information about the original source so it can be easily found. Citations typically include things like article titles, journal titles, authors, dates, and publication information. 

The purpose is to make the original source of any information you reference easily findable by others and also to give credit when you use the original ideas of others. This is our responsibility as researchers. Citation also allows you to avoid plagiarism. Most every educational institution has some sort of academic integrity policy that outlines a student’s responsibilities as a researcher. 

The three most common citation styles at Polk State College are MLA, APA, and Chicago. If you are unsure of which citation style to use, consult your professor.

From: NCSU Libraries

From: The Writing Center at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

What is MLA?

MLA style is a commonly used style found in the humanities including language and literature. MLA is an acronym for Modern Language Association.

MLA Style Online Guides

MLA Style Guide Book

What is APA?

APA style is often used for writing in the fields of psychology, business, communications, nursing, history and social sciences. APA stands for the American Psychological Association.

APA Style Online Guides

APA Style Guide Book

What is Chicago?

Chicago style citations are unique in that it includes two documentation systems. The first is known as the humanities (notes and bibliography) style and is more often used in the fields of arts and humanities. The second is the author-date system, used more often in the natural sciences.

Chicago Style Online Guides

Chicago Style Guide Book

Adapted from: Information Literacy Concepts: An Open Educational ResourceAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BYNC-SA 4.0)  Adapted from Mastering Academic Research developed at Florida Institute of Technology. Adapted from Research Foundations from Seminole State College of Florida Library.

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