This guide is designed to introduce you to the four most commonly used citation styles and three free reference management tools.
Use the tabs on the left to navigate this page and locate specific citation styles. The reference management tab includes drop boxes for the different software. Use CTRL F to quickly search a style page for a specific citation example.
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Creating and formatting citations is time consuming, so why do we do it? Citations:
Citations will look different depending upon which citation style is used. However, the content for citations is relatively similar and at a minimum you should always note these common elements of a source you'll be using in your research:
Using other people’s words and ideas without clearly acknowledging the source of the information
Facts that can be found in numerous places and are likely to be widely known.
Example: John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States in 1960. This is generally known information- You do not need to document this fact
You must document facts that are not generally known, or ideas that interpret facts.
Example: Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever to have played the game. This idea is not a fact but an interpretation- You need to cite the source
Using someone’s words directly. When you use a quote, place the passage you are using in quotation marks, and document the source according to a standard documenting style.
Example: According to John Smith in The New York Times, “37% of all children under the age of 10 live below the poverty line”.