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Research: A Step-by-Step Guide: Citing Your Sources

This guide will help you start learning about the high-quality information and research support available through the Kirk Library

Citation Help!

Citation Help at Centralia College

The Writing Center at Centralia College (TAC 301) has tutors available to help you with your college writing. Whatever phase of the writing process, including MLA & APA citations. Check their webpage for their current open hours.

Online Citation Help

Purdue Online Writing Lab - Purdue University has a great website that will help you with citations. This site covers MLA, APA, and Chicago styles.

Why different styles?

All citation styles record common elements of a source, but the re-order those elements depending on where the discipline places emphasis. Disciplines like history and humanities want to highlight the author. While disciplines like the social sciences want to highlight the date.

  • MLA is the Modern Language Association's preferred style to document the research materials and is widely used in the humanities. This style emphasizes the author.
  • APA is the American Psychological Association's preferred style and is widely used in the social sciences. This style emphasizes the date of publication.
  • The Chicago Manual of Style published by the University of Chicago Press is widely used in history, literature and arts. This style also emphasizes the author.

Citing Sources

Research Management and Citation Management Tools


There are many research management and citation management tools to help you keep track of your sources. At Kirk Library we primarly support Zotero. Zotero is a free, open sources tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources.

MLA Handbook and APA Manual

These books are available in the Library:

Cite Your Sources & Avoid Plagiarism

Students are expected to properly cite the sources used in their academic work in order to:

  • Give authors credit for their original ideas and research;
  • Help readers track ideas and research back to its original source.  

Whenever you quote or base your ideas on another person's work, you must document the source you used. Even when you do not quote directly from another work, if reading that source contributed to the ideas presented in your paper, you must give the author credit.

Citations provide evidence for your arguments and add credibility to your work by demonstrating that you have used a variety of resources.

Worried about plagiarizing? It's a serious offense that can result in failing an assignment or a class. Visit the the Writing Center to learn more about avoiding accidental and deliberate plagiarism. They even have a PowerPoint on plagiarism.

Is it Plagiarism?

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The content of these guides, unless otherwise noted, by Kirk Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.