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Citation Styles and How to Guide

Citation Guidance


Welcome to the Citation Research Guide!  This guide is dedicated to helping you navigate the nuances of citing in APA Style, MLA Style, and Chicago/Turabian Style.

Check out each tab to learn more about each citation style, and be sure to click on "Writing and Citating Help" tab at the end to learn some shortcuts for citing your work.

If you have questions or need assistance, you can schedule a one-on-one research consultation here, or you can email

Some information about Citations

A citation is how you tell your readers (most likely your teacher or your peers!) when certain information in your work comes from another source.

First of all, ask your instructor. While these citation styles all have rules and guidelines, make sure you know what your instructor expects of your assignment. They may want you to follow a specific style, choose your own, or use one with some slight modifications.

The main purpose of citing your sources is so others can find them. While there are a bunch of rules that may seem arbitrary, they're designed to help anyone find a source. 

Finding sources to use and writing about them is hard enough! Why do we have to cite those sources and create bibliographies? 

Even though it can be challenging, using citations properly is an important part of the research process. It may seem intimidating at first but it isn't too difficult once you get the hang of it. These are some reasons we use citations when we do research:

  • It makes you look better! Citing scholarly, credible sources enhances your argument and shows you took the time to do your research assignment properly. It shows you're knowledgeable about the topic and gives you credibility.
  • To give credit to those who deserve it. Everyone wants credit for work they've done and scholarly work is no different. By citing your sources properly, the people that created the work you're using get the credit they deserve.
  • To help others find the sources you used. Using citations properly helps anyone that reads your work find the sources you referenced. 
  • To avoid plagiarism. As students, faculty, and staff at Greensboro College, we have to abide by the Honor Code. This includes academic integrity and honesty. By properly citing sources, you're avoiding plagiarism, which avoids violating the Honor Code.



How exactly do we incorporate a source into our assignment? 

  • Quoting: Taking a direct quote from a source and not changing anything. "Usually, a quote ... looks like this."
  • Paraphrasing: This is when you read a chunk of the source material and put it into your own words. A paraphrase is usually shorter than the original material but keeps the same idea and general content.
  • Summarizing: Similar to paraphrasing, summarizing an original source takes a big chunk of material and shortens it into main points using your own words. A summary contains the broad idea of the original source.

All three of these require you to cite the original author! Even when you're putting something into your own words, if you read it somewhere else, you need to cite it!