When to Cite a Source

Whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize another author's findings or ideas, you need to attribute that information to the author it came from.  This includes both print and non-print materials. 

Attributing information to another author is done by what is called citing or referencing that author.  Depending on the style your professor asks you to use, this may be accomplished by using either in-text citations or footnotes.  You will also be expected to include a list of full citations that describe each work and enable your reader to locate the item.  This list may be referred to as a bibliography, list of works cited, or list of references depending on the style.  For examples of different citation styles, see the resources listed on the individual tabs of this guide.

If the information is a well-known and generally accepted fact, it is not necessary to cite a source.

Other helpful information

  • ASA - The ASA style of citation building was designed for use by authors preparing manuscripts for publication in American Sociological Association journals.
  • APA - The APA style of citation building was developed by the American Psychological Association and is commonly used in the disciplines of education, business, and the social and behavioral sciences.
  • MLA - The MLA style of citation building was developed by the Modern Language Association and is commonly used in the humanities.
  • DOI (Digital Object Identifier) - DOI lookup: search here to see if the article you are citing has a digital object identifier (DOI).