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Plagiarism & Writing with Sources: How do we cite sources?

Your information sources must be cited in two places:

  • In the body of your paper. The most common way to do this is a parenthetical reference like this example in APA format: (Smith, 2004, p. 45). Some styles use numbered footnotes or endnotes instead of parenthetical references.
  • In a list at the end of your paper. The same source cited in the parenthetical reference (or footnote or endnote) must also be placed in a reference list at the end of the paper. The reference list can also be called Works Cited or Bibliography.

Citing Sources within your Paper

A parenthetical reference or an in-text citation refers to the practice of giving credit to an author, artist, performer, or speaker by citing their words/ideas within your paper. It's helpful to think of internal citations as a kind of "tag" indicating what you've borrowed from an author. For every sentence, phrase or idea you borrow, you must "tag" it with an internal citation. Each parenthetical reference is then listed alphabetically in a 'Works Cited' page at the end of your paper. In APA style, a parenthetical reference includes the following information: author, year of publication, and page number(s).

Here is an example of a parenthetical reference formatted in APA style:

In The Fall of the Wild, the author notes, "Up to 18,000 species around the globe are discovered by scientists every year, a rough estimate, and perhaps a generous one." (Minter, 1995, p. 25).

Citing Sources at the End of Your Paper

At the end of your paper, you will provide the complete citations of all the works (books, articles, Internet sites, etc.) you've quoted, paraphrased or otherwise used to create your paper. Depending on your citation style, this list could be called "Works Cited," "Bibliography," or "References." 

The citations are usually listed alphabetically by the authors' last names and typically include the name of the publication, the publisher/date of publication, and the volume, issue, and pages if applicable. How works are internally cited and how the citations are arranged in the "Works Cited" page will be determined by the style guide (MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, etc.) specified by your teacher.

Below is a sample reference list with four sources in APA style.

a sample of a reference list with four sources in APA style.

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