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How to Cite Your Sources

How to Cite Your Sources

All researchers, whether in college, graduate school, or working professionally, must give credit where credit is due by properly citing their sources.

Citation shows your readers where you got your information to give credit to the original authors and also gives your readers the means to find sources that might be of use in their research, too.

In giving proper credit, citation is required to avoid charges of plagiarizing, which means using the work of others without attribution and violates academic integrity.

Choosing a Citation Style

Citation formats, known as styles, vary by discipline (and often by journal) based on what each discipline finds most important in terms of how and what is cited. Style manuals usually contain information about preferred terminology and paper structure in addition to how to cite sources in the specific format of the style.


CAL 103/105

First-year students must use MLA in CAL 103 and 105.


How to Decide

  • Start with your professor/advisor: They may have a specific style they would like you to follow, so your first step should be to check with them.
  • If the choice is up to you: You can go with a discipline-specific style like those listed below, or consider APA. Librarians often suggest APA for students in science and engineering courses as it’s similar to MLA but emphasizes the year, which is of importance in fields focused on the currency of the research.
    • Also: while MLA is more prominent in the humanities, it can be a decent basic style to use for any subject if you know it and feel comfortable with it.

Find Your Discipline

Look for your discipline in the Purdue OWL list here or check the selected styles highlighted below.

Discipline Styles for Stevens Programs