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Citing Your Sources: Overview

Information about creating citations in APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian styles.


Welcome to the Greensboro College Citation Guide! 

We made this guide to help you with all things APA, MLA, and Chicago/Turabian. The Overview page has general information about citing sources and the tabs at the top take you to more specific sections of the guide. Please contact me if you have any questions!


Using citations is definitely overwhelming and hard to understand. Even though I'm a librarian and I have lots of practice, I don't write out my citations by hand! (Personally, I use Zotero software to save and create citations for me.) Please take advantage of citation building websites, but be sure to check your citations using the resources on this guide!

How Do We Cite?

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!

Why Do We Cite?

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.



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What Citation Style Should I Use?

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.