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The Research Process

New to college research? This guide gives you an overview of how to get started.

What are citations?

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What are citations, and why do I need them?

A citation is your way of telling readers how to find the information, data, opinions, and quotes upon which you based your paper.


Citing is a two-part process:

  1. In-Text Citation:
    A brief notation added within the body of your paper to acknowledge a source that you used.
  2. References or Works Cited List:
    More detailed information about each source that you used or quoted in your paper.

A full citation will typically include the following:

  • Author(s)
  • Title of the work
  • Date of publication
  • Publication information (for books)
  • Volume and issue numbers (for articles) 
  • Page numbers
  • Online access information (for nonprint sources)

Video Tutorial on Citation

The following video does a great job of briefly explaining what citation is and why it's important.

What is MLA style?

What is MLA Style?

MLA = Modern Language Association 
MLA style was created by scholars to standardize writing in the humanities and liberal arts. Some fields that use MLA format include: English, Literature, and Art.  

What is APA style?

What is APA Style?

APA stands for American Psychological Association. APA style was created by social scientists to standardize scientific writing. Some fields that use APA format include: Allied Health, Business, Criminal Justice, Education, Political Science, and Social Work.

Library Lingo

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Citation: A reference to another author's work, whether directly quoted, paraphrased, or mentioned in your paper. You will need to include a brief in-text citation for the source you've used, and include the full citation information needed to locate that source in your Works Cited or References list. A correctly formatted citation makes it easy for your instructor or readers to find any article, book, movie, or other source that you've quoted or referenced in your paper.



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