Learn about citing the sources you find, citation styles, citation generators, and resources available to help you with citations.
Through research, you will gather information that supports your ideas, which you find in sources created by others. A citation gives your reader the information needed to locate these works. Citing these sources is important because:
If you don't credit the authors of your sources by citing them in your paper, you are committing plagiarism, which is not acceptable at Northampton Community College.
You need to cite:
You don’t need to cite your own opinions and insight, and you don’t need to cite facts that are common knowledge (information repeated in multiple sources that is widely known or accepted as a fact).
When in doubt, it's best to cite.
Each discipline and area of study has a citation style or guide that outlines citation rules for writing in that area of study.
Citation styles differ in regards to writing conventions, formatting, and the details of how source information is documented, but much of the information required for the citations is the same.
For most citation styles, there are two aspects that work together:
The citation styles you'll most likely encounter at NCC are MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and the Chicago Manual of Style.
MLA format is used often in English and other language studies and in humanities. It requires in-text citations and a Works Cited list.
APA format is used in the social sciences, like psychology and education. It requires in-text citations and a References list.
Chicago format is used in history and the arts. There are two methods for citing that can be used in Chicago: Author-date (with in-text parenthetical citations and a References list), or Notes-Bibliography (with footnotes at the bottom of each page and a Bibliography list).
There are many more citation formats for other fields of study. You might also encounter ASA (American Sociological Association), ACS (American Chemical Society), CSE (Council of Science Editors), ASC (AMA (American Medical Association), NLM (National Library of Medicine), The Bluebook (legal, Harvard Law Review Association and others), or the Associated Press Stylebook (journalism).
Any specific formatting instructions or guidelines your professor gives you should be followed, even if they disagree with the rules of the citation style you are using.
No online citation tool or software is perfect. They could give you the citation in a different style than the one you need. They could find the wrong publication information for the source you are using. If you enter incorrect information or do not include some information, then the citation they create will be incorrect and might be missing information too.
Some sources provide their own citation. The library's databases may also provide citations for sources you find in them. These should only be used as a starting point, as they may not be entirely accurate, either. They often include too much information or are formatted incorrectly (they might be missing punctuation, hanging indents, italicization, or double-spacing).
It is your responsibility to check the accuracy of your citations and make corrections before submitting research papers or other class assignments.
Citation Handouts from the NCC Libraries and Learning Centers