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WR 13100 (13) — Writing and Rhetoric (Duffy)

Citing Sources: How, Why, and When?

To give credit to your sources, you should use a recognized citation style. Some commonly used styles are APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association).  The key to citing any source, regardless of the citation style, is to be consistent in style and provide sufficient information for a reader to identify and find the work or cited passage.

  • How do I cite a book chapter using MLA?

  • Do I have to include the URL when citing web sources?

  • How do I cite an article with no author?

This guide has been designed to help you answer these and other questions you might have about how to correctly cite sources. 

Citing Sources

It is important to give credit by citing your sources. 

To cite a source means to quote or assign credit to the originators of the material. Citing your material: 

  1. Makes it possible for others using the information to easily find your sources on their own.

    • Citations allow the ability to cross-reference material in the body of the essay or paper to the works cited page.

    • Citations show who authored it, where it is found and when it was written or shared publicly.

  2. Demonstrates the credibility of your arguments!

  3. Gives credit to other authors and avoids plagiarism.

Use the flowcharts below to answer these and other questions about when to cite.

Avoiding Plagiarism Flowchart

Should I cite? Flowchart


Need a citation tool?

  • Need to import citations directly from the catalog? 
  • Need to build a bibliography using APA style guide?
  • Do you want to share your references with your colleagues?

Need to simply generate a citation or build a quick bibliography

Need a powerful tool to collect, manage, or share citations?



Not sure which tool is best?  See the Citation Tools Comparison Chart (PDF)

Used for: Literature, Liberal Arts, Humanities

Library Copy: Hesburgh Library Reference Desk LB 2369 .G53 2009.  MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Printed 7th ed., 2009. (other copies)

Quick Guides:

Used for: Sciences, Social Sciences.

Library copy: Hesburgh Library Reference Desk BF 76.7 .P83 2010 Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Printed 6th ed., 2010(other copies)

Quick guides:

Used for: Arts, History, Literature, Sciences

Electronic Access: Chicago Manual of Style 

Library copy: Hesburgh Library Reference Desk Z 253. U69 2010. Chicago Manual of Style. Printed 16th ed., 2010 (other copies)

Quick guides:

Used for: Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences.

Library Copy: Hesburgh Library Reference Desk LB 2369 .T87 2013. Turabian, Kate.  A manual for writers of research papers, theses, and dissertations : Chicago Style for students and researchers. 8th ed., 2013

Quick Guides:
Citing Books 
Audiovisual Media 
Images & Art 

Footnotes & endnotes 



Citing Images

Images must be cited like all other resources. If you use an image you did not create, you must provide a citation. Images should be cited in all cases, even those in the public domain. Image citations should include the following information at a minimum: Title; Creator name; Repository information (museum, library, or other owning institution); Image source (database, website, book, postcard, vendor, etc.); Date accessed

Citations can be formatted according to the citation style you are using.

MLA Style

Chicago Style

APA Style

Citing Versus Attribution

Attribution Best Practices