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How To Do Research

Citing Sources

Why Cite Sources

You must always cite the information you use in a paper or project. There are many reasons for citing sources beyond your instructor's requirements for the project:

  • It allows the reader to verify sources for themselves.
  • It boosts credibility and support for your arguments.
  • It gives credit to the author or source of the work.
  • It helps you avoid plagiarism.

image of student writingStyles & Formats

Academic papers are written using standard formatting rules, or style guides. There are different style guides for different academic disciplines:

  • MLA: Modern Language Association. MLA is most commonly used in the humanities.
  • APA: American Psychological Association. APA is most commonly used in the social sciences and health fields.
  • Chicago: University of Chicago. Chicago is most commonly used in historical research. It uses footnotes or endnotes instead of in-text citations.
  • AMA: The American Medical Association (AMA) style is most commonly used in the health sciences and medical fields.
  • CSE: The Council of Science Editors (CSE) Style Guide is most commonly used in the sciences.

Make sure you check with your faculty member or your course syllabus and use the citation format required for your assignment.

Frequently Asked Questions