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Assistance with citing your sources for a research paper


This LibGuide connects you with resources to assist with citing your sources. Click on the tabs above to explore style-specific resources.

Citation Management

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There are quite a few different ways to properly cite resources in your paper. The citation style usually depends on the academic discipline involved. For example:

  • MLA style (Modern Language Association) is typically used by the Humanities 
  • APA style (American Psychological Association)  often is used by Education, Psychology, and Business
  • Chicago/Turabian (Professor Turabian, University of Chicago) is generally used by History and some of the Fine Arts

Some departments or individual professors create modified versions of citation styles that they expect you to follow as well.  Examples of this here at Butler include:

Bottom line: Check with your professor to make sure you use the style required for that class. And whatever style you choose, BE CONSISTENT!


  • Referring to a source and stating someone else's opinions, thoughts, ideas, or research
  • Using an image or media file that you did not create

When in doubt, cite it


Handwritten text that starts with a quotation mark and ends with a parenthetical citation.

  1. Directly Quoting 
  2. Summarizing 
  3. Paraphrase 

"Which option you should choose depends on how much of a source you are using, how you are using it, and what kind of paper you are writing, since different fields use sources in different ways." Grounds for Argument. When to Quote, Paraphrase, or Summarize a Source. Used under CC BY NC SA

Image:  Random quote by Gabriel Jones. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


  • Your thoughts and your interpretations
  • Common knowledge​

Many different tools exist to assist you in the process of creating a citation entry. There are advantages and challenges to working with these tools. 

Common mistakes include:

  • Selecting the wrong type of information source
  • Inputting information incorrectly or leaving information out
  • Misplaced or incorrect punctuation
  • Improper capitalization

The biggest mistake is in completely trusting a citation generator to make no errors. Make sure you closely review all citations created in this way. You'll also still want to refer to your citation style guide to learn how to format your works cited/reference page.


Research Papers

"The purpose of a research paper is to synthesize previous research and scholarship with your ideas on the subject. Therefore, you should feel free to use other persons' words, facts, and thoughts in your research paper, but the material you borrow must not be presented as if it were your own creation."

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th Edition. New York: MLA. 55. Print.


How to Avoid Plagiairism


Ask us for help

Information Commons is happy to direct you to resources or librarians who can assist with specific citation questions. 

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