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Citation Help

Correctly citing your sources is critical to research project success. The guide provides students with support in learning APA and MLA styles.

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Susan Gehr
Fall 2022 reference desk hours: Tuesdays & Thursdays 11am to 3pm. Additional reference help available by chat, phone or appointment.
(707) 476-4263

What Are Citations?

A citation, in college reading, writing, or speaking, is a reference to a source of information. The goal of all citations is to allow the audience (whether reading or listening) to identify and find the source of your information.  There are several different ways that information can be cited:

  • In-text citations are short notes that must be included with your text where the idea, data, or evidence from that source is used. In-text citations should match to a complete list of full citations, usually included as the last page of your paper.
  • Verbal citations should be provided when you are giving a speech. You will need to mention the title, date, author and something about the author.
  • Full citations provide all of the elements necessary for the reader to find the exact same source used by the writer. Full citations should be provided for all the sources used or consulted in your research project. This will usually be in a list at the end of your paper called either a Works Cited list or References page.  It may also be on a separate sheet for speeches.

There are a variety of different formats that can be used for citations - MLA and APA are the two most commonly used at CR, but many other specialized styles exist as well. Consult your assignment handout or ask your instructor which citation format you will be required to use. 

All citation styles will require you to include important elements from your source so that the reader can find that exact same source. Some of these important elements are author, title, publisher, place of publication, date of publication. APA and MLA styles format the citation elements slightly differently. Select the tab at the top of this guide for the style you need to find instructions, examples, and a PDF handout for that citation style that you can print.

What is Citing? Why is it important?