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How to Cite Sources in Your Research Paper: Introduction

A guide on how to cite your sources and avoid plagiarism

Types of Citations

Include the full citation of the resources you used in your research on the Works Cited, Works Consulted, Reference List or Bibliography page at the end of your research paper.
Use in-text citations when you refer to the work of others within the written part or text of your paper. These lead to the full citation included at the end of your paper in the Works Cited section. 
The two most commonly used citation styles are MLA and APA. Follow the style guide required by your professor.

Which Guide Should You Use?

Which style guide should you use?
Ask each of your teachers which style they want you to use. If they have no preference, you can use
any or follow these guidelines:

  • APA: psychology, education, and other social sciences.
  • MLA: literature, arts, and humanities.
  • AMA: medicine, health, and biological sciences.
  • Turabian: designed for college students to use with all subjects.
  • Chicago: used with all subjects in the "real world" by books, magazines, newspapers, and other non-scholarly publications.

Many hardcopy style manuals are kept in the reference department. These contain examples about citing a wider variety of sources.

Glossary of Essay Terms

How to Do Research


Journals and Magazines

General Rules for Journals & Magazines

  • Include all authors unless there are more than six. If 7 or more, list the first three, followed by the phrase “et al.” (Do not put the quotes.)
  • If the article is written by a specific organization or group, instead of individual authors, it is acceptable to list the group/organization in the author area. 
  • Abbreviate and italicize the names of journals. The official journal abbreviation is usually provided at the end of the abstract or at the bottom of the journal page. If it is not, journal abbreviations can be found through PubMed by following these steps:
  • Only capitalize the first letter of the first word & any proper nouns of an article title. Do NOT capitalize the first letter of all words.
  • Do not place spaces between the year;volume(issue number):pages.

Online Resources

General Rules for Citing Websites

  • Important Reminder: Use caution when referencing the internet. Many websites are not appropriate/credible sources. Use only the highest quality sites.
    • When in doubt, CRAAP test it! CRAAP stands for currency, relevance, accuracy, authority, and purpose. Use these metrics to determine whether or not a website is a good resource for you.
  • Authors don't have to be people. If you can't find an individual responsible for the content, look for an organization or corporate author.



  • Authors (if indicated). Title of specific item cited. Name of the website: URL. Published or Updated Date (if available). Accessed: Month day, year. 

Website with an organization as author

  • Drug Shortage Resource Center. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists website. Accessed:December 9, 2011. 

Website with an individual as author

  • Pho, K. Why I’m not ready to prescribe mobile health apps. KevinMD:

   4, 2014.

             Accessed: August 12, 2014.