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Avoiding Plagiarism

What Is a Citation?

What is a citation? A Citation: 

  • Describes a journal article, book, website, or another type of published item

  • Credits the author for the idea

  • Helps the reader retrieve the item that you are referring to

  • Includes the author's name, title of piece, source (publisher, place of publication, or URL), and date

Citation management is extremely important to the research and writing process. Plagiarism can occur very easily and is often unintentional.  Collecting, organizing, and citing the sources used in research helps writers properly credit their sources and avoid taking credit for another person's work. Crediting sources through providing proper citation information helps strengthen a writer's argument and assists others in furthering their research.

There are different styles of citation that can be used when writing your research papers. Check with your instructor if you aren't sure which type you should use. Information is included on this guide for the following styles: AP (Associated Press), APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian.

Anatomy of a Citation: 


Citation Styles

General Style Guides

AP - Associated Press

APA - American Psychological Association


MLA - Modern Language Association