- Library Home
- Before You Go
- Shoreline Home
A citation gives information about where quoted or paraphrased information came from. When data, statistics, graphs, or charts are used, a citation tells the reader about where the research came from and who published it.
This is a general list of what to expect when you are making a citation entry for a bibliography, works cited, or references list.
Each citation will be different, so you will have to start with the type of citation you are making (MLA, APA, or Chicago), and then you should use a resource that helps you build the citation based on what kind of source you have (book, journal article, newspaper, documentary, etc.).
When an author gives credit to another source, they have to immediately tell the reader this! That's what the in-text citation is. To find out the complete information about the source the author is mentioning, the reader has to find a list of citations at the end of the piece. The in-text citation will give enough information for the reader to find the citation at the end.
When an instructor says they want your assignment to be formatted in MLA or APA, they are referring specifically to the way the text appears on the page. You can adjust the formatting by using word processing software such as Microsoft Word, Open Office, Libre Office, or Google Drive.
A completed research paper in MLA, APA, or Chicago will all have separate style rules. Use the links below for examples of what a completed paper looks like in each citation style.