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Citation Styles   Tags: apa, cite, mla  

Last Updated: Dec 17, 2014 URL: http://guides.lib.uh.edu/citationhelp Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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Why Cite?

  • To Give Credit Where Credit is Due
    If you use another person's words, photographs, images, or anything else that is not yours in a paper or project, you must give credit to the original creator. Just like you wouldn't want someone to take ideas from a paper you write, you should provide the same respect. When you cite, you are giving proper credit to the original owner.
  • To Lead Readers to Research
    Citing sources allows your reader/audience to find the sources that you have used. It's part of the research process. When you cite someone's work, another person can find that source and learn more about the original research. Likely, the source you cite also has citations, leading your audience to even more citations. It's a gateway to important past research!
  • To Give Your Work More Credibility
    Citing sources gives your paper and projects more credibility. We are not all experts, you don't have to know all the answers, and your professors don't expect you to. They want you to research answers and show what you have learned by citing the sources from which you learned it, therefore making your work more credible.
 

Why Are There So Many Citation Styles?

Academic disciplines each emphasize different elements in citations because it highlights the most important aspect of a discipline's research. For example, research in the sciences often needs to be up-to-date and timely, so often the date is emphasized in the citation. However, in the humanities, the date is not as important as the author and source. To understand what I mean, use the table below.

CITATION STYLE DISCIPLINES WHAT'S EMPHASIZED?
MLA (MODERN LANGUAGE ASSN.) ENGLISH & HUMANITIES AUTHOR & PAGE SOURCE

IN TEXT:

REFERENCE:

(Thomas 92)

Thomas, Jack R. "Weight Gain Awareness, the Freshman 15: A Nutrition Student Public Speaking Project." Journal of       Nutrition Education & Behavior 38.6 (2006): 383-385. Print.

APA (AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSN.) PSYCHOLOGY & SOCIAL SCIENCES DATE

IN TEXT:

REFERENCE:

(Thomas, 2006, p. 92)

Thomas, J.R. (2006). Weight gain awareness, the freshman 15: A nutrition student public speaking project. Journal of       Nutrition Education & Behavior, 38(6), 383-385.

CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE (AUTHOR/DATE) SCIENCES & SOCIAL SCIENCES
AUTHOR & DATE

IN TEXT:

REFERENCE:

(Thomas 2006, 92)

Thomas, Jack R. 2006. "Weight Gain Awareness, the Freshman 15: A Nutrition Student Public Speaking Project."       Journal of Nutrition Education & Behavior 38(6): 383-385.

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