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Citing Sources: Overview

A guide to citing sources designed and created by Clark Librarians

When Should I Cite?

Any time your work contains or refers to someone else's ideas, words, images, media, or sounds you need to include a citation.

1. In-text citations should be inserted at the point of use in your assignment and indicate that the information you just presented came from a source other than your own brain or common knowledge.

2. A Works Cited or References section should be included at the end of your assignment.

3. In Works Cited / References, list all the works you referred to with in-text citations in the body of your assignment.

4. There are many citation styles, each with it's own precise formatting. The most popular at Clark are MLA and APA.

When in Doubt - ASK!

If you have any questions about citations or plagiarism that are not answered on these pages, be sure to ask for clarification from:

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Citation Basics: APA vs. MLA

At the top of the citations page... References Works Cited

Capitalize the first word, first word after a colon, and proper nouns in titles: Focusing “upstream” to address maternal and child health inequities: Two local health departments in Washington State make the transition

Capitalize all main words in a journal, magazine, or newspaper title: Maternal and Child Health Journal

Capitalize all the main words in titles: "Focusing 'Upstream' to Address Maternal and Child Health Inequities: Two Local Health Departments in Washington State Make the Transition." Maternal and Child Health Journal

Period or comma?

Periods after author name(s), year, title, publishers, page numbers, and the end of print source citations.

Commas after periodical title and volume/issue.

Periods after author name(s), title, page numbers, and at the end of citations.

Commas after publisher, year (if page numbers), periodical title, volume, number, and database.


Italicize titles of books, periodicals, webpages, and volume

Italicize book titles, databases, and periodicals.
DOI, permalink, or URL?

Use the DOI (format: If there is no DOI, for most books or articles from library databases, do not list a URL. For other works, use a hyperlinked URL that links directly to the cited work. For more guidance, see the APA Style page for DOIs and URLs.

Use the DOI if one is provided. If no DOI, look for a permalink. If no permalink, use the URL from the address bar.

Two authors: Gibbs, J. T., & Huang, L.

Three to twenty authors: Franco, R., Schoneveld, O. J., Pappa, A., & Panayiotidis, M. I. 

More than twenty authors (list the first 19 authors, an ellipsis, then the last author): Gilbert, D. G., McClernon, J. F., Rabinovich, N. E., Sugai, C., Plath, L. C., Asgaard, G., Botros, N., . . . Li, I.

Two authors: Gibbs, Jewelle T., and Larke Huang.

Three or more authors (list the first author's name, then et al.): Franco, Robert, et al.

In text citations

One author: (Walker, 2017)

Two authors: (Dorris & Erdrich, 2014)

Three or more authors: (Wasserstein et al., 2005)

Include the page number(s) for a direct quote: "Medical needs are met by those in the medical disciplines" (Csikai & Chaitin, 2006, p. 112). 

When there is no author, use the title (shorten it if it's long): ("Study Finds," 2017, pp. 1-2)

For more examples see pages 264-265 of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

One author: (Walker 194)

Two authors:  (Dorris and Erdrich 23)

Three authors: (Bradley et al. 42)

When there is no author, use the first word or two of the title in italics: (Study Finds 3)

When there is no page number, just use the author name(s)

For more examples see pages 54-58 and 116-117 of the MLA Handbook.

Secondary/indirect sources

If you read a work by Lyon (2014) in which Rabbitt (1982) was cited, and you were unable to read Rabbitt's work yourself, list Lyon's work in the reference list. In the text, use the following citation:

     (Rabbitt, 1982, as cited in Lyon et al., 2014)

If the year of the primary source is unknown, omit it from the in-text citation.

     …Allport's diary (as cited in Nicholson, 2003).

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, p. 258

If Allport is quoted in Nicholson and you did not read Allport, list Nicholson in your works cited. In the text, use the following citation:

Samuel Allport admitted that Edmund Burke was an "extraordinary man" (qtd. in Nicholson 450).

MLA Handbook, p. 284


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