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Citations & Avoiding Plagiarism

How to cite sources using MLA, APA or Chicago. Also has resources for understanding and avoiding plagiarism.

1st: Choose a citation style.

ex. MLA, APA or Chicago


2nd: Identify what type of resource you are citing.

ex. book, magazine, newspaper, interview, online video, email, blog, etc. 
TIP If you are not sure what type of resource you are using Google the title or ask the librarian.


3rd: How did you access the resource?

  • free web  (ex. you found the resource using Google/Bing etc)
  • library database  (ex. you logged in with a username/password)
  • in print, real life (ex. you held the item in your hand / saw in real life)

4th: Find the appropriate formula using the criteria above.

ex. MLA - Journal Article in a Library Database
ex. APA - Book in Print
ex. Chicago - Image on a Website

5th: Create the citation.

Using the appropriate style guide or a citation generator, find the formula that matches your source type and access point (Step 4) and plug in the corresponding information from your source. 


Citation Generators


TIPCitation generators are only as good as you are. 

TIPDouble-check citations created in citation generators to make sure they are correct and aren't missing information.

  • Use the correct template for your source and access point. (ex. article on a website vs. news article from a database)
  • Input all the necessary components.
  • Doublecheck that the generated citation has the key components (​ex. author listed? date listed? correct titles?)
Formatting a Works Cited Page

Now that you have the individual citation entries created, you need to format the Works Cited page.

Common Formatting Guidelines

  • Works Cited is centered at the top.
  • Entries are in alphabetical order by first word. Ignore the words the, an and a.
  • Double space the page. Do not include an extra break between entries.
  • The first line of the entry is on the margin. Subsequent lines within the same entry are indented. This is called a hanging indent.
  • Make sure you are using correct punctuation, formatting and abbreviations within the entry. For example, publication/website/database names are italicized. Articles are placed in quotation marks.

This image is an example of an MLA Works Cited page. MLA works cited begins on a new page. The title “Works Cited” is centered and capitalized. Each citation is formatted with a hanging indent and is organized alphabetically. This works cited includes the following citation types: citations from a webpage of a website, journal article, work from a collection, book, newspaper article, Youtube video, and podcast.