Citing Sources

Citing matters, especially to some professors. This guide provides a quick overview for a variety of disciplines, including APA, MLA, and NLM.

Citing Data & Statistics

Whether you use a numeric dataset or a prepared statistical table from an existing source (print or electronic), you need to cite the source of your information. 

Citing data is straightforward. Each citation must include the basic elements that allow a unique dataset to be identified over time:

  • Title
  • Author
  • Date
  • Version
  • Persistent identifier (e.g., the DOI, URN, or Handle System)

What is it: Identifying Source Types

When you search in a database or look at a bibliography there are clues that let you know if the item being described is an article in a magazine or journal or a book.

Below are some examples with notes on the information given and the clues to the type of item listed.

Example 1

Citation from an EBSCOHost database

journal citation parts

The clues that this is a journal and not a book are:

  • there are two titles: the title of the article and the title of the journal
  • the date includes a month as well as a year
  • there is a volume and issue number
  • page numbers are given

Example 2

An example from a Proquest database

magazine citation parts

The clues that this is a magazine and not a book are:

  • the date includes a day and a month as well as a year
  • there is a volume and issue number
  • a page number is given

Example 3

Citation from an EBSCOHost database

The clues that this is a book chapter and not a magazine or journal are:

  • the date is only a year
  • there is NO volume and issue number

If you are still unsure, click the title and go to the long record.
Document Type: Book Chapter tells you clearly what this is.

book chapter citation parts

Tip: Use the citation tools provided within the digital resources (usually at the top right or bottom of an article) to grab an easy citation. Don't forget to check for accuracy before including them in an assignment!

Why Citing Matters

Citing your sources is an important step in the research and writing process. Here are some other reasons why citing matters.

  • It gives credit to authors whose works you have consulted.
  • It provides evidence of your research.
  • It communicates to your reader the location of your sources so they consult them for more information.

Pointers for Paraphrasing

Ways to Avoid Plagiarism provides a list of ways to avoid plagiarism.

  • Paraphrase Read the original source and put it into your own words.
  • Use citations Follow one of the document formatting guidelines for your discipline (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago).
  • Use quotes – Quote the source exactly how it appears. Just quoting a few words within your own prose can be very effective,  but remember that anything longer than two words requires quotation marks.
  • Cite Your Own Material – Cite any material you used from your own current or previous classes or previous papers.
  • References Include a reference page or page of works cited at the end of your research paper.

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