Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Citing your sources

A guide to proper citation in research papers



All academic research builds on the work that went before it. No matter what your research subject, it is very important to appropriately credit the sources of the ideas that you express in your papers. 

All academic papers need to include a Bibliography, Works Cited, or List of References, with in-text citations that refer to the identified sources. However, various academic disciplines have different conventions for what style to use.

Using this guide

Your instructor will usually tell you what citation style he or she expects you to use. The most common citation styles used by undergraduates are MLA, Chicago and APA. 

To find style manuals that show you how to format your bibliography and cite your sources, go to Style Manuals

To learn about bibliographic management software applications, go to Software

For websites on specific citation styles and how to avoid plagiarism, go to Additional Resources.

Topic Guide

Profile Photo
Daniel Kipnis
Campbell Library
201 Mullica Hill Road
Office: 254
Glassboro, NJ 08028

Style manuals

Using style manuals

When your instructor tells you to use a particular citation style for a research paper, the style manual tells you how.

Style manuals provide rules for correctly formatting a "works cited" list (also known as a bibliography) and for how to properly cite your sources in the text of your paper.

Electronic format

Print format


Using bibliographic management software

When you're tackling a major research paper (maybe even a thesis or dissertation for a graduate degree), bibliographic management software can make the job easier.

These software applications let you save citations that you find online in one place, format them according to your chosen style, and create bibliographies to turn in with your paper. 

Citation management tools

Additional resources

Resources available online

If you're looking for more help with citations, here are some good websites to visit.



Plagiarism (using another person's work without giving them credit) is a violation of academic integrity. Violations of academic integrity are treated very seriously at Rowan University.