As we are at the half way point of the semester, we’re sure many of you are gearing up for those end of the semester assignments. As with any research assignment, you’ll need to pay attention and stay organized so as to properly cite your sources. While citations are not everyone’s idea of fun, they are an important and necessary task. Here are some tips to make the process a bit easier.
®Know what citation style you should be using.
The two more popular styles are APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association). However, there are many others, so be sure that you are using the right one. Be sure to check if you should be using a particular edition of a style, as updates have occurred over the years. (More than likely you will need to use the more current edition, but be sure to ask if you are unsure).
Being consistent is very important. Use the same citation style throughout your paper; for example do not mix and match MLA and APA. If you are required to write an author’s name as “Last Name, First Name” do that each time; do not put in a citation with “First Name, Last Name.”
®There are online guides to help you.
The library webpage has links to several guides.
®Don’t be afraid to use citation tools.
Both ProQuest and EBSCO have citation tools. These will give you the citation(s) for either your reference list (APA) or works cited (MLA); other citation styles are also available. If your source did not come from either of these databases, don’t fret. There are also websites where you can input information such as author, title, copyright date, etc., and will format the citation for you. There are links on our webpage – look under citation tools.
In all these cases you can then copy and paste the citation into a Word document.
®Even podcasts need to be cited.
While books and journal articles may seem obvious, don’t forget about any electronic media you may be using, including YouTube videos, podcasts, and blogs. Lansing Community College has an online guide for MLA and APA on how to cite these sources properly. Be sure to choose the “citing sources” link under your preferred style, as the PDF online guide is not as clear in my opinion. [As a reminder, choose your web sources carefully. Just because it is on the web does not mean the information is reliable and/or accurate. Trust us, we could go on and on about this.]
®Remember those in-text citations.
EBSCO’s citation feature formatted the information for your Works Cited page. It looks great and it saved you time and frustration. But you did remember to properly cite the quotes from those articles in your paper, right? Are you asking yourself, “How do you do those?” Lansing Community College’s library has APA and MLA guides geared towards in-text citations. Also be sure to check out OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue University.
®Double check your citations.
Citation tools are great and can make your life easier. But be sure to double check that everything is correct. Did you copy and paste the entire citation into the Word document? Is all the necessary information included? Are the citations formatted and arranged correctly on your reference list/works cited page(s)? Did you include all your sources?
®If you get confused, or have questions, ask for help.
Feel free to contact either your instructor or any of the library staff if you have questions. We are here to help you. Stop on by, email us, or give us a call. Contact information is on the right hand side of our webpage.