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What are citations?

When you do research, you get information from a variety of sources. Examples of information sources include books, websites, and journals. Even interviews, conversations, and videos may be sources of information for your research.

A citation is a way to document your sources and to credit the work of others used in your research. Citations verify where you got your information and help your readers find the sources you used. There are many types of sources, but each citation shows:

  • WHO provided the information (like a book author)
  • WHAT the information is titled
  • WHERE the information can be found (like a Web address)
  • WHEN the information was published or posted (like the date a book was published)
  • And, depending on the type of source, other information (like page numbers in a journal)

A research paper will have a list of all the sources you used in your research. The citation style you use determines how to write your citations.

What are citation styles?

MLA, Chicago & APA styles

Centralia College mainly uses popular citation styles: the Modern Language Association (MLA) style, Chicago, and the American Psychological Association (APA) style.

  • MLA is commonly used in the humanities
  • Chicago is commonly used in the literature,history, and the arts.
  • APA is commonly used in the social sciences

Ask your instructor what citation style you must use.

Citation Guides:





Where can I get help with my citations?

There are several resources available to help you with citations for your research paper, including handbooks, website guides, and citation tools. In addition, you can use the campus Writing Center, library staff, and your instructors to guide you with your citations.

Handbooks: MLA, APA, Chicago, and Turabian all have handbooks on how to do citations in their style. You can use these handbooks in Kirk Library.

Website Guides: At right are websites that we recommend. There are many other websites with information about MLA and APA styles, but be aware that some may be out of date or inaccurate. Whichever website you use, be sure that it is up to date.

Citation Management Tools

There are many research management and citation management tools to help you keep track of your sources. At Kirk Library we primarly support Zotero. Zotero is a free, open sources tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.