Citing Sources

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

What to Cite?

You must cite:

  • Quotes, both sentences and phrases
  • Paraphrases (summarized or rephrased ideas of others)
  • Data or images
  • Studies or material  

You do not need to cite:

  • Common knowledge to your reader (well-known facts, sayings or proverbs)

When in doubt, cite!

How to Cite

There are numerous citation styles. Ask your instructor which style you should use and be consistent. Guides for common styles used at Fontbonne are below.

ACS Style (chemistry)

APA Style (psychology, education and other social science disciplines)

Cell Style (biology)

Chicago Style (history, fine arts and other humanities disciplines)

MLA Style (language arts, cultural studies and other humanities disciplines) 

NLM/Vancouver Style (sciences, medicine)

Wiley-Blackwell Style (sciences)

Why Cite?

Academic writing builds upon the ideas of others. It is important to credit to those whose work you are putting yourself in conversation with. 

Why cite?

  • To give credit to others for work others have done. This avoids plagiarism. 
  • To show your readers that you have done research.
  • To direct your readers to sources that may be useful to them.
  • To allow your readers to check your sources.

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)

Book: Doing Honest Work in College

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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