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The University Writing Center (UWrite): Cite Sources

Cite Sources

Below are some common situations in which you must cite a source. This is not an exhaustive list -- there are many other possible situations in which a citation would be necessary.

Remember: If you’re not sure whether something should be cited, cite it.

It never hurts to add an extra citation. Remember: the standard for citation used at CHSS as of 2019 is APA.

You must cite the source when you...

  • Paraphrase someone’s ideas.

  • Mention someone’s ideas.

  • Summarize a source.

  • Quote someone’s exact words. (In addition to citing the source, you must also indicate that the words are a quotation, and not your own words.)

  • Use numerical data, such as statistics.

  • Use an image, such as a picture or a diagram.

  • Use multimedia, such as a video, an animation, or an audio recording.

  • Mention a fact that is not common knowledge. (For more about “common knowledge,” see “What is common knowledge?” in the Questions & Answers section below.)


Why cite?  Citing your sources:

  • Supports your claims and helps readers understand your viewpoints.
  • Shows readers how you arrived at your positions on issues.
  • Gives credit to the authors whose works you use.
  • Helps your readers find other works on the same topic.
  • Allows your readers to check your sources if they have any questions.
  • Gives you the opportunity to show off your research abilities!

Bedford Handbook 8th edition 
LEW Reserve and GOR Reference PE 1408 .H277 2010

Publication manual of the American Pyschological Association
LEW Reserve BF 76.7 .P83 2010

Writer's Reference 
POR, GOR, LEW Reference PE 1408 .H2778 2007

Bedford Guide for College Writers (with Bedford Handbook) 8th ed.
LEW Reserve PE 1408 .K49 2008

Citation style from the Modern Language Association. For the study of literature and language; used in English, Foreign Languages, Linguistics, American Studies, and related fields in the Humanities.

For more detail and many more examples, we recommend:

APA Formatting and Style Guide. (OWL Purdue website)

APA Style (APA website) Includes tutorials.

Son of Citation Machine APA Format

Use these steps to evaluate your sources:

1. Initial Appraisal

  • Author: Credentials? Institutional affiliation?
  • Date of Publication: Current? Edition or Revision?
  • Publisher: University Press?  Journal or Magazine?

2. Content Analysis

  • Intended Audience: Student Level? Professionals?
  • Objective Reasoning: Fact or Opinion? Evidence? Objective?
  • Coverage: Marginally or extensively related? Primary or secondary source?
  • Style: Word choice? Organized argument?
  • Reviews: Cross reference?