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How to Cite your Sources in a Research Paper

Every formal research paper includes a list of bibliographic citations describing the books, articles and other sources consulted.

This list gives credit to those whose ideas you have referred to or quoted, presents information your readers can use to find further information and gives your paper scholarly authority.

To avoid having to track down at the last minute any missing information needed for your bibliography or list of works cited, it is useful to record the necessary information (on file cards or in a computer file) about every source you consult as you are doing your research.

There are many different ways to format citations, described fully in books called "style guides." The most common styles are APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabians. Although the way you present information in each varies, they all usually require the same data. Make sure you check with your professor to see which style your course requires


Check out the links below for resources on how to cite sources in research papers.

The Purdue OWL website - Explanations and examples of how to correctly cite books, articles, and web resources in APA, MLA, and other common formats.

Library Reference & Information Desk - Stop by the reference desk on the 2nd floor for in-library access to our copies of the MLA, APA, and Chicago style guides.