Secondary Library » Citing Your Sources

Citing Your Sources

Why We Cite
Providing proper citations is an important part of the scholarly process!
  • Citing a source gives an argument credibility and shows where the ideas come from.
  • It gives credit to the thinkers who have influenced you.
  • By using citations, you become a part of the academic conversation.
  • And, it's the principled thing to do!
"Why We Cite." YouTube. UNC Writing Center, December 11, 2018. Video, 2:06.
The resources on this page will help you learn to format proper citations. If you need help or have question, contact the librarian or reach out to your teachers.
Styles and Guides
The reference style you use will depend on your teacher, the discipline, and the assignment. Always confirm with your teacher which citation style is expected before you begin. While there are many citation styles, the three listed below are the most commonly used in secondary school and colleges/universities.
APA Style (@APA_Style)
American Psychological Association (APA)
APA is most commonly used by:
  • Education
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
Example of a basic book format in an APA Reference List:
Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Publisher Name. DOI (if available)
Chicago Manual of Style logo
Chicago Manual of Style (Chicago)
Chicago style has several manifestations (including Turabian). They are most commonly used by:
  • History
  • Fine Arts
  • Business
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Sciences
Example of a bibliographical entry for a book in Chicago style:
Last name, First name. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.
Modern Language Association Style Guide logo
Modern Language Association (MLA)
MLA is most commonly used by:
  • Humanities
Example of a basic book format in an MLA Works Cited page:
Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.
Citation Managers and Generators
All of these tools are free (or have a free version). Keep in mind that when you use library databases for research, they will create the citation for you! It is still recommended to double-check the formatting, as computers do sometimes make mistakes, just as humans do.