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Citation Resources: Citation Basics

What is Citation?

What are citations?

  1. Citations tell the reader which ideas were taken from others, and who the ideas were taken from.
  2. Citations allow researchers to share resources with the reader.
  3. Citations show readers how your research is built on ideas and evidence from others.
  4. The sources used tell whether research is well rounded, and takes into account differing viewpoints.

Citation Tutorial

If you have not used citations before, the library highly recommends that you take this tutorial.

What to Cite (from MIT Library)

What to cite

You must cite:


  • Facts, figures, ideas, or other information that is not common knowledge
  • Ideas, words, theories, or exact language that another person used in other publications


  • Publications that must be cited include:  books, book chapters, articles, web pages, theses, etc.


  • Another person's exact words should be quoted and cited to show proper credit 

When in doubt, be safe and cite your source!

What does a citation look like?

A citation is generally found in two places:

An in-text citation

According to Jones (1998), APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners.
APA style is a difficult citation format for first-time learners (Jones, 1998, p. 199).

A bibliographic or reference citation

See Templates and Samples for more information.


Susan Matter's picture
Susan Matter