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Citation & Research Management: Best Practice: Citations: Overview

Use a personal content management system to download records, format bibliographies, track citations, enter footnotes or endnotes, add pdfs - to your research.

What are citations?

Citations uniquely identify a published work (e.g. book, article, chapter, web site). They are found in bibliographies and reference lists and are also collected in article and book databases. 
Citing a source allows you to give credit for words, quotes, data, figures, images from an author, a website, a report or another place.

Works Cited are sometimes referred to as References. Each can be an alphabetical list of works cited, or works to which you have made reference. Works Cited is generally used when citing sources using MLA (Modern Language Association) style, while the title References is used when citing sources using APA (American Psychological Association) style.

Works Cited and Bibliography are not the same. In Works Cited you only list items you have actually cited. In a Bibliography you list all of the material you have consulted in preparing your essay whether or not you have actually cited the work.

Entries in Works Cited, References, or a Bibliography may be in alphabetical order by last names of authors, editors, translators, etc. or by first words of titles.
Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook. 6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003.

Parts of a citation

Citations may look different, depending on what is being cited and which style was used to create them. Choose the appropriate style guide for your needs.

Example of an article citation using four different citation styles, notice the common elements.

Author - Ackerly, DD (Ackerly, David D.)

Article Title - Carbon assimilation and habitat segregation in resurrection plants

Source Title (Journal) - FUNCTIONAL ECOLOGY

Volume and issue - Volume 29, issue 12

Published: DEC 2015

Page numbers - 1499-1512

DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12462

AMA (American Medical Association):

1.    Alcantara S, de Mello-Silva R, Teodoro GS, Drequeceler K, Ackerly DD, Oliveira RS. Carbon assimilation and habitat segregation in resurrection plants: a comparison between desiccation- and non-desiccation-tolerant species of Neotropical Velloziaceae (Pandanales). Functional Ecology. 2015;29(12):1499-1512.

Bioscience Style:

Alcantara S, de Mello-Silva R, Teodoro GS, Drequeceler K, Ackerly DD, Oliveira RS. 2015. Carbon assimilation and habitat segregation in resurrection plants: a comparison between desiccation- and non-desiccation-tolerant species of Neotropical Velloziaceae (Pandanales). Functional Ecology 29:1499-1512.

CSE, Council of Science Editors:

Alcantara S, de Mello-Silva R, Teodoro GS, Drequeceler K, Ackerly DD, Oliveira RS. Carbon assimilation and habitat segregation in resurrection plants: a comparison between desiccation- and non-desiccation-tolerant species of Neotropical Velloziaceae (Pandanales). Functional Ecology 2015;29(12):1499-1512.

American Psychological Association  (APA) style:
Alcantara, S., de Mello-Silva, R., Teodoro, G. S., Drequeceler, K., Ackerly, D. D., & Oliveira, R. S. (2015). Carbon assimilation and habitat segregation in resurrection plants: a comparison between desiccation- and non-desiccation-tolerant species of Neotropical Velloziaceae (Pandanales). [Article]. Functional Ecology, 29(12), 1499-1512.

Why is citing important

It is important to cite sources you use in your research for several reasons:

  • To show your reader you've done proper research by listing sources you used to get your information
  • To be a responsible scholar by giving credit to other researchers and acknowledging their ideas
  • To avoid plagiarism by quoting words and ideas used by other authors
  • To allow your reader to track down the sources you used by citing them accurately in your paper by way of footnotes, a bibliography or reference list

Citation Styles

Scientific style and format : the CSE manual for authors, editors, and publishers / Style Manual Committee Council of Science Editors.
http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b21334450~S1

Search using this subject heading to locate many more books on writing styles, bibliographies, and more.

Technical writing -- Handbooks, manuals, etc.

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