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How to Cite Your Sources

Two Parts Of A Whole

Research includes reading the work of others who came before you in order to understand where your own work fits in the ongoing conversation of scholarship.

You will often need to refer to these articles, books, and other sources in writing assignments, longer documents like senior reports, theses and dissertations, and anything you're submitting for publication. When doing so, it's important to understand how a citation works within your paper.


One citation is really two parts:
  • In-text citation
    • Briefly attributing the work of others at the point where that work appears in your text
  • Reference
    • Full bibliographic information (author, title, publication year, etc.) for the items cited in-text, listed at the end of your text


Citation Glossary



A reference or footnote in a document to a book, a magazine or journal article, or another source. It contains all the information necessary to identify and locate the work, including author, title, publisher, date, volume, issue number, and pages.


Citation management tool

A software program that helps collect, organize and cite bibliographic metadata for articles, books, websites, reports, and other items.


Citation style

The exact formatting of a citation, usually based on discipline standards.


Style guide

Rules for writing and presenting text written by a publisher or organization in a particular discipline to establish uniform practices for all documents produced by that publisher or within that discipline.


Adapted from: Library Glossary (Benedictine University, via; Glossary of Library Terms (Davidson College); Cambridge Dictionary