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How To: Citation and Style Guides

Use the left-hand tabs below to learn about plagiarism, copyright, and commonly used citation styles.

What is Citation?

Citations are the way that researchers and writers indicate that they have used or consulted someone else's work when researching and/or writing their own. While using someone else's work without giving them credit is not always illegal, it is always unethical.

There are two main types of citations in research papers:

  • In-Text Citations
    In-text citations are used in the body of a paper to identify a quote or concept that is from a research source. Each in-text citation needs to correspond to a source in the main reference citation list.
  • Reference Citations
    Commonly referred to as "works cited," "references," or a "bibliography," a list of sources used in the research and writing process are listed separately at the end of the paper or book. 

Why is Citation Important?

Citing your sources is important for several reasons:

  • Avoiding plagiarism and academic dishonesty
  • Allows the readers to know where particular information came from and how to find it for themselves
  • Strengthens your argument by demonstrating thorough and appropriate research
  • Allows the reader to distinguish between your thoughts and statements and those of others

Citation Generators

Note: While citation generators are a great tool, they are not always 100% accurate. Remember to double check your citations using the other style guide resources available. Style guides also tell you the correct formatting and punctuation guidelines for the type of paper you are writing. 


This tutorial from Niche Academy reviews citation generators and their use.