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Self-Study Resources - DIY Tutoring: Citations

intro

Citation is how you give credit to the people whose words, ideas or images you have used in your work. By citing sources, you create a trail for others from your writing to your sources.

trail through forest

Image source: National Park Service www.nps.gov/natt/index.htm

Welcome!

Check with your instructor to verify which style you should use.

  • MLA style (from the Modern Language Association) 

  • APA style (from the American Psychological Association) 

In both styles, you cite your sources twice—once in the text of the paper (in-text citation) and again at the end (on the Works Cited or References pages).

Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction (1:55)

Good News: Ready-made Citations

Most of the MCC Library's online databases, as well as its eBook collections, provide you with ready-made citations (MLA or APA). Cut and paste them into your document. Check citation formatting in Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) and add in-text citations, too.

Librarians and tutors in the MCC Learning Commons can help you create citations for sources that you find elsewhere and can review your citations before you submit your work.

Librarians can even help you relocate an article for which you have incomplete information.

3 Ways to Use Someone's Information Responsibly

There are three ways to use information from someone else's, or your own, work responsibly and ethically in your own work. In all three cases, you must give credit to the creator of that information by citing their work. 

Quoting – Quote by copying the exact words from a source into your paper, and putting quotation marks around them. You quote when the words matter as much as or more than the ideas or information in a passage. 

Paraphrasing – Paraphrase by rephrasing a sentence or short passage in your own words. It's not enough to just change the author's words -- you should completely change the way the information is expressed. You paraphrase when it's the ideas or information you need to express, and not the exact words. 

Summarizing – Summarize by stating the main ideas of a source or section of a source in your own words. You summarize when you want to refer to a long section of a source or to present an overview of one of your source's ideas. 

Always include a citation, whether you quote, paraphrase, or summarize.

If you quote, paraphrase or summarize your own writing (from another paper) you must cite yourself. "Recycling" part of or an entire paper from one class for another without citing is considered plagiarism. And some professors don't allow it even if you cite yourself, so check with your professor to be sure.

 

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