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Citing and Citation Managers

Introduction

Welcome! This guide provides an introduction to citing and using citation managers.

Courtesy of North Carolina State University Libraries.

Citing in Academic Writing

As a student, you may be tasked with writing essays, research reports, theses, and even journal articles. Most forms of academic writing will involve summarizing, paraphrasing or quoting sources of information that need to be cited.

Locating sources of information to cite may include searching the library catalogue, library databases or the internet in order to find books, journal articles or any other source of information that addresses your topic. If you are unsure about how to get started, contact the library for help!

When do we cite?

  • For information about when it is necessary to cite and when it is unnecessary to cite, see the Plagiarism handout prepared by The Writing Centre at Queen’s University.

Why do we cite?

  • Citing gives credit to the ideas and findings of other authors, which avoids plagiarism.
  • It also allows other readers to track down sources of information in case they would like to verify or review the information in more detail.

What sources can be cited?

  • Scholarly sources such as textbooks, book chapters, journal articles, theses and conference materials.
  • Articles in popular magazines, newspapers, wikis and blogs.
  • Virtually any source can be cited whether the information is communicated via text, audio, video, images, animations or any form of multimedia.

How to Cite: Steps

Citing is a 3 part process in academic writing:

  1. Read the literature! Avoid "Citing sources that were not read or thoroughly understood."

  2. In-text citations: cite your sources in brief in the text of your paper.

  3. Listing references: cite your sources in full at the end of your paper.

In-text citations provide just enough information for readers to locate the full citation in the reference list at the end of the paper/work.

  • If you’ve used Wikipedia before, you’ve seen citing in action. Note how in Wikipedia the in-text citations appear as chronological numbers that correspond to the numbered reference list of full citations at the end of the article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citation.
  • Other citation styles may use the author details with the publication date as part of the in-text citation. See below for more information about citation styles.

How to Cite: Styles

  • The format of citations will vary by citation style.

  • A citation style dictates the information necessary for citations (both the in-text citations and the full citations provided in the reference list), how the information is ordered, as well as punctuation and other formatting.

  • Different disciplines use different citation styles. Often your instructor will advise you on what citation style to use for an assignment.

  • Visit our Citing Sources page for more information about how to cite using different citation styles.

Citation style comparison:

Citation style: Often Used in: Example of a journal article citation:
APA (American Psychological Association) Psychology, education, social sciences Guo, J., Selby, K., & Boxall, A. B. (2016). Effects of antibiotics on the growth and physiology of chlorophytes, cyanobacteria, and a diatom. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 71(4), 589-602.
Vancouver Health sciences Guo J, Selby K, Boxall AB. Effects of antibiotics on the growth and physiology of chlorophytes, cyanobacteria, and a diatom. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2016 Nov 1;71(4):589-602.
CSE (Council of Science Editors) Natural sciences Guo J, Selby K, Boxall AB. Effects of antibiotics on the growth and physiology of chlorophytes, cyanobacteria, and a diatom. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2016;71(4):589-602.

How to Cite: Helpful Tools

Manually formatting citations can be very time intensive!

Citation managers are available that can save you large amounts of time by formatting in-text citations and references for you in the citation style of your choice.

Continue to Citation Managers for more information.