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Homework Topics

What is a citation?

While researching a subject you may encounter an idea or quote from a book, journal or website that you’d like to include in your paper to help support your argument or to illustrate a point. When referencing or including an excerpt from another source, you want to include a citation to the source in order to:

  1. Provide credit to the original author(s) of the content you have included.
  2. Allow readers to find the source if they want to read more.


If you paraphrase an idea or include a direct quote, you must give credit for the idea or quote by citing the original source. Not doing so is considered plagiarism. Your instructor will tell you which format you should use for your citations.

Tools & Guides


Widely adopted in high schools, colleges, and publishing houses, the MLA Handbook treats every aspect of research writing, from selecting a topic to submitting the completed paper.

Chicago / Turabian
The Chicago Style format guide is The Chicago Manual of Style and is used in the social sciences and humanities. The nearly identical Turabian Style is based on a handbook Kate L. Turabian created for the University of Chicago, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. The Turabian style can be used for any subject.

APA (American Psychological Association) style is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences.

CSE is a citation style created by the Council of Science Editors and is used in the natural and medical sciences, as well as mathematics. Some books and websites may still refer to the earlier CBE Style. The manual for the CSE Style is Scientific Style and Format (7th ed.); however, the library does not own a copy of this manual.

Writing Help

Checking Your Facts

Worried about "fake" or biased news?  Here are a few sources that may help:


Author: Gaston County Public Library
Title: Citation Styles
Updated: 14 October 2021

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