Citing Sources

What does "citing sources" mean?

Citing or crediting sources means verbally acknowledging the source from which you have drawn your information and ideas. In the body of a research paper, you give credit to authors you have quoted or paraphrased. Similarly, when you use other people’s words or ideas in your speech, you must credit the source orally when delivering the speech. (If not, it is considered a form of plagiarism.)

Remember: You must cite your source if you are:

  • directly quoting (word for word)
  • paraphrasing someone else's idea in your own words
  • borrowing someone else's ideas on how to organize your speech
  • using illustrations, diagrams, etc. that you have not produced yourself

Why cite sources

It is important for your audience to know where your information came from, if the sources were impartial, as well as how current the sources were. Things change rapidly in today’s society and something that was true a few years ago is not necessarily true today. Anybody can publish just about anything on a web site. In persuasive speaking, it is also essential that your audience accepts the credibility of your evidence; this is achieved by citing of sources. Thus, the citing of sources also adds to your credibility as a speaker.

How to create written citations

Follow the citation format requested by your instructor and use the Library's Citing Sources page as a guide.

Online Bibliography Managers

Remember: When using any of these tools, or the citation generators in databases, you should always double check the citation against the Library's Citing Sources page or OWL.
Even the best citation management tools are not perfect-- don't lose points on your assignment for an incomplete or incorrect citation!

  • NoodleTools: NoodleBib-- Student research platform with MLA, APA and Chicago/Turabian bibliographies, notecards, outlining. Available with your Library Card at
  • Zotero-- a powerful, easy-to-use research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources and then share the results of your research.
  • BibMe-- a free bibliography/works cited maker.
  • EasyBib-- a free automatic bibliography and citation generator.