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Citing Help

Getting Started with Citations

Citations are a necessary component of a research paper. Scenarios that need a citation:

  • Direct quotations
  • Original ideas or arguments
  • Statistics or original research
  • Opinions or claims made by others
  • Images or artwork
  • Data/Datasets

You do not need to cite:

  • Common knowledge, which includes commonly accepted facts, common sense, myths, and historical events (but not historical documents)
  • Your own words or ideas unless published in a previous work

Elements of a Citation

Citations have two parts - the reference and the in-text citation.


References are listed at the end of your paper and commonly include the same identifiers: 

  • Author(s)
  • Title of work(s)
  • Date of Publication
  • Publisher
  • Volume and Issue Numbers (articles)
  • Page Number(s)
  • URL or DOI (see below)

These identifiers allow fellow researchers to find and access materials efficiently. Please see the specific pages in this guide that correspond to the style required by your instructor for more information. 


What is a DOI?

Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is an alphanumeric string that provides a persistent link to content online. It is good practice to try to include a DOI for every citation accessed electronically. APA Style recommends including the DOI in your citation. 


In-Text Citations

In-text citations accompany the quoted or paraphrased text within your paper. These correspond to the references in your reference list and tell the reader from which source the information has come. The details in the in-text citation will match the first two elements of the accompanying reference - usually the author name and the publication date.

Citation Managers

What's a Citation Manager?

Citation managers are tools that help you create collections of citation information and notes. They allow you to:

  • collect and organize your research
  • format reference lists for written assignments
  • format citations for written assignments
  • create notes for written assignments
  • create outlines for written assignments

The library subscribes to the citation manager called NoodleTools. Learn more about NoodleTools and how it can help you create your reference lists.


Adapted and used with permission from Southern Methodist University Library.