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Cite Source

Your guide for citations

Cite Source is an information guide from Trinity librarians to help you create and organize the citations, references and bibliographies for your research papers and projects. 

1. What are citations?

  • Citations identify and describe sources of information created by others that you use in your own work
  • Citations may be referred to as footnotes, references, bibliographies or works cited pages
  • Citations illuminate a trail of evidence that researchers can follow from source to source. This is also known as citation-chaining or engaging in the "scholarly conversation"

2. Why do we cite our sources?

  • We cite sources to acknowledge the work created by others and to allow researchers to see the evidence used for our own work 
  • Citing sources also fulfills requirements for academic honesty and protects writers against the dangers of plagiarism
  • The Trinity College Student Handbook outlines the College's formal policies for plagiarism 
  • This guide from Purdue University's Writing Lab will help you learn about ways to avoid plagiarism in academic work

3. What kinds of information do I need to put in a citation?

  • Citations typically contain the following pieces of information:
    • the creator or author of the work 
    • the title of the work
    • the year of publication or creation
    • volume and issue numbers for journals
    • the publisher 
    • for online sources, a link, URL, or DOI
  • This can differ somewhat depending on the information source itself and/or the citation style you are using

4. What are style guides?

  •  Style guides provide formatting and additional information on constructing citations and general writing guidelines within research papers and projects for specific academic disciplines
  • The three most commonly used styles are: Chicago Manual of Style (Humanities), MLA (Humanities), and APA (Social Sciences)
  • Two additional commonly used citation styles are ASA (Social Sciences) and APSA (Social Sciences)

5. Does all information I include need to be to cited?

  • Some facts and information that can be considered as known by a majority of the general population are referred to as common knowledge and do not need to be cited.  Examples of common knowledge include: Tokyo is the capital of Japan and the Moon orbits the Earth
  • If you ever have any questions, about whether you should cite something, please consult your faculty or a research librarian, or remember the safe rule is “when in doubt, cite.”

6. What is Zotero? How can it help me with citations?

  • Zotero is a free online tool to collect, organize, and share your information sources
  • Zotero also allows you to create citations within a paper and works-cited or bibliography pages using all of the main style guides
  • Check out this short video on how to get started with Zotero
  • ZBib is also a freely available tool from Zotero to create single citations

7. What is copyright?

How do I cite legal sources?

What are some examples of citations?

  • Chicago Style footnote:
    •  ²David A. Bell, "Napoleon in the Flesh," MLN 120, no. 4 (September 2005): 713,
  • MLA Style full reference in a bibliography or works-cited:
    • Bell, David A. "Napoleon in the Flesh." MLN, vol. 120, no. 4,  2005, pp. 711-715. JSTOR,
  • APA Style full reference in a bibliography or works-cited:
    •  Bell, David A. (2005). Napoleon in the Flesh. MLN, 20(4), 711-15.