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How to Research: Cite Your Sources (APA/MLA Style)

Just getting started on a research paper or project? Don't know where to start? This is the guide for you!

Cite Your Sources

When you research a topic you may use information from articles, books, or the Web to support your ideas. However, in order to avoid plagiarism, you must credit the original authors of these sources by citing them.

To cite means that you state where you found the information so that others can find the exact item again. In this way, we build upon the ideas and knowledge of other people.

Tips for Citing

Tips for researching and citing:

  • Take clear, accurate notes about where you found specific ideas.
  • Write down the complete citation information for each item you use.
  • Use quotation marks when directly stating another person's words.
  • Always credit original authors for their information and ideas.

Citation Styles

There are a number of different styles or formats for citations. The style you use depends upon the subject discipline you are working in. If you are uncertain about which style to use, ask your instructor.

MHC LIbraries maintains detailed guides for APA and MLA citation styles. They may be accessed here:

Identify Parts of a Citation

Each style includes the same basic parts of a citation. These parts may be organized differently for each style.

For a book:

For a journal article:

For a website:


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