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Citations and Style Guides

Information on plagiarism and citations, including APA and MLA.

What are Citation Styles

When you are asked to follow a certain citation style, you are being asked to format your paper in a particular way.  This includes title pages, headers, page numbers, in-text citations and quotes, works cited/reference lists, and more.

Which style you are asked to use will depend on your field of study, and your professors' preferences.  Typically, science, social science, and nursing majors use APA style, while English and other humanities majors use MLA style, and history majors use Chicago style.  When in doubt as to which style to use, ask your professor.

Why Cite?

It's important to cite sources you used in your research for several reasons:

  • To demonstrate that you've done proper research by listing the sources that you used to get your information.
  • To be a responsible scholar by giving credit to other researchers and acknowledging their ideas.
  • To avoid plagiarism by quoting words and ideas used by other authors.
  • To allow your reader to track down the sources you used by citing them accurately in your paper by way of a bibliography, reference page, or works cited list.

If you have a citation on your Reference or Works Cited page, there must be a matching parenthetical or in-text citation in the body of your paper and vice versa.

About Citations

Citing a source means that you show, within the body of your text, that you took words, ideas, figures, images, etc. from another place.

Citations are a short way to uniquely identify a published work (e.g. book, article, chapter, web site).  They are found in bibliographies and reference lists and are also collected in article and book databases. 

Citations consist of standard elements, and contain all the information necessary to identify and track down publications, including:

  • author name(s)
  • titles of books, articles, and journals
  • date of publication
  • page numbers
  • volume and issue numbers (for articles)

Citations may look different, depending on what is being cited and which style was used to create them. Choose an appropriate style guide for your needs. 

RCC Oral and Written Communication Center

Please contact Richmond Community College's Oral and Written Communication Center (OWCC) if you desire professional, one-on-one speaking and/or writing advice. 

Location: Academic Success Center, Conder Building

Coordinator: June Wright

Hours: Vary by semester, check website for more details