Buena Vista University
Buena Vista University
BVU Catalog

Cite Sources

Web Citation Sites

These sites offer information about and examples of citations in various styles.  The library staff has found these sites to be helpful and trustworthy.

Duke University 
Covers APA, Chicago, MLA, Turabian and CSE styles

Purdue University OWL (Online Writing Lab)
Covers MLA and APA styles

KnightCite (Calvin College)
Covers MLA, APA and Chicago styles

Sourceaid Citation Builder 
Covers MLA, APA, Chicago and CSE styles

Covers MLA, APA and Chicago styles, but for books ONLY.  Can generate book citations from an ISBN.

Landmark’s Son of Citation Machine 
Covers MLA, APA, Chicago and Turbian styles.

This is APA’s website that answers some questions about using APA documentation.

MLA Style FAQ 
This site from the Modern Language Association answers some questions about MLA documentation. 

Chicago Manual of Style Quick Guide 
Get assistance from the official Chicago style site and see examples of Chicago style citations.

Need help understanding APA style?  Check out this tutorial!

Citing Sources

Documentation of sources is necessary in research, not only to give credit to the creators of the information, but also to enable readers to easily locate the items you cite. You must acknowledge and document your sources not only when directly quoting, but also when summarizing or paraphrasing someone else's work. Not doing so, either on purpose or through carelessness, is a serious offense known as plagiarism.

How to cite?

The best time to document sources is when you are actually using them. It can be very difficult to go back at a later date to relocate your sources. Because the style you should use is generally determined by the discipline in which you are working, ask your instructor what style s/he recommends for each course.

The two cardinal rules of citing are:

  1. Pick a style and be consistent.
    Think of citation styles as a kind of universal language, a way of communicating important information to scholars and researchers around the world. Keeping a consistent style throughout will also give a more polished look to your reports.
  2. Give complete information.
    The objective in citing is to lead the next person to the same information you found. (Make sure your citation contains everything you would need to backtrack and find the information again.)