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Citing Your Sources

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What is a citation?

A citation is the information needed to locate a specific information resource. Citations follow strict rules of sequence, capitalization, and punctuation and there are several formats for their creation. The two that are used at ASA are APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association). Usually the MLA format is applied to Literature resources. Scientific and technical fields accept APA.

What should you cite?

ASA students must cite all references for any project that required the use of information resources. These resources may include books, periodicals, web pages, pictures, graphs, maps, videos, or any other form of information that was used. References must be cited if they were used for oral, written or other visual presentations.

Why should you cite?

Including a list of correctly cited references with your project will help you in several  important ways, for example:

  • Citing sources can help avoid a charge of plagiarism.
  • You will lose credit for incorrect or absent citations.
  • You will be crediting the author of the material -- a professional and ethical requirement.
  • Your professor will be able to verify your work.
  • You will be adding value to your project by using expert information sources.
  • Readers, or even you, will be able to find the resource materials for additional information.
  • You will demonstrate your professional expertise.

How do you write citations?

Citations are not easy to create and very few people can write them without a guide of some sort. We are attaching several sites that can help you to begin writing your citations. Before you leave this page for the useful links for understanding and writing perfect citations, follow these basic steps:

  • Decide whether the format should be APA or MLA.
  • Make sure that you have at least as many references as your instructor required.
  • Make sure that you have all the required information about the documents.
  • Determine which documents were used at which place(s) in your project.
  • Select the best tool depending on your ability level from our annotated list.
  • Remember to check your spelling and punctuation carefully.

Go to these sites for help in understanding and creating perfect citations.

The APA Formatting and Style Guide from the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University is thorough and detailed with additional material on writing styles.

The Citation Style for Research Papers from Long Island University's B. Davis Schwartz Library provides a color-coded, easy to follow site for reference and in-text citations. This is a good starting point in understanding what information should be included in a citation and how to arrange the elements. (

The free tutorial and citation writer fromNoodletools is adequate for student use and has a simple Q&A format. Choose Noodlebib Express from the bottom of the center list of selections. Remember to cut and paste every citation before creating another. You will also need to change the font and the line endings.

If you want to store your citations for later use, consider using Bibme which allows its users to create a free account to store and manage bibliographies. Bibme offers a manual entry mode for entering the information for each citation, or an auto fill mode which searches for resources on the web and fills in the information for you. Copy and paste each citation separately, double spacing and indenting as required.

The MLA 2009 Formatting and Style Guide is another great resource from OWL at Purdue .

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