Make Citations

Student at her computer thinking.Your research is done and your paper is written. What else is left to do before you can turn in your assignment?

You still have to document the sources that you used. How do you do this? With CITATIONS!

In this lesson, you will learn:

  • The basic bibliographic information required for any citation, regardless of style
  • How important it is to provide accurate bibliographic information about your sources in bibliographies and works cited lists
  • The common citation style formats of MLA, APA, and CSE

How Much Do You Already Know?

  1. Why is proper citation of a source necessary?
    1. To make sure you avoid plagiarism
    2. To give the people reading your paper the information necessary to find the source you quoted
    3. To help connect your research to other scholars
    4. All of the above
  2. From the following, what basic piece of bibliographic information is missing for a citation of a chapter of a book?
    Author, Title, Publisher, Date of publication

    1. Place of publication
    2. Author and title of chapter
    3. Pages of chapter
    4. All of the above
  3. From the following, what basic piece of bibliographic information is missing for a citation of an article?
    Author, Title of Article, Volume number, Date of publication, Page numbers

    1. Title of journal
    2. Issue number
    3. Place of publication
    4. Both 2.1 and 2.3
  4. The same basic bibliographic information is needed for a citation of a source in the MLA, APA, and CSE style formats.
    1. True
    2. False


  1. 1.1; Citations are important for many reasons.
  2. 2.4; In a citation for a chapter of a book, the place of publication, the pages, AND the author and title of the chapter need to be included along with the other elements listed.
  3. 3.4;  In a citation for an article, the title of the journal AND the issue number need to be included along with the other elements listed.
  4. True; You still need the same basic bibliographic information of a source no matter which format you are using for your citations.

Why Is It Important That I Cite My Sources Accurately?

Citations are important because:

  • They help others find the information that you used.
  • They help establish the credibility of your own research.
  • They connect your work to the work of other scholars.
  • It is one way that scholars enter into a dialogue with each other.
  • It is a way to honor and acknowledge the work of others who have made your own research possible.

Hot Tip!

Citing sources is about academic integrity. Learn about UCI’s academic honesty policy to help you avoid plagiarism.

What Is the Basic Bibliographic Information Required for a Book Citation?


  • Instead of an author, a book can have an editor, complier, or translator.
  • There are rules for citing books that have a corporate author or no author at all.

Title of Book

Make sure to include subtitles of books as they appear on the title page.


All publication information should be found on the title page.

Place of Publication

Make sure to retrieve publication information from the book itself and not from the library catalog or online database.

Date of Publication

If the date of publication is not on the title page, look through the first few pages of the book until you find it.

What Bibliographic Information is Required for a Book Chapter Citation?

You need the same bibliographic information as a book, but you MUST add the author, title and page numbers of the specific chapter you are citing.

What Is the Basic Bibliographic Information Required for a Journal Article Citation?


There are rules for formatting for more than one author, a corporate author, or no author at all.

Title of Article

Make sure to find the title of the article on the first page of the article and not from the table of contents or the cover of the journal.

Title of Journal

The title of the journal is just as important as the title of the article when citing from scholarly journals. You need both!

Volume and Issue Number

you can find the volume and issue number on the title page, the front cover of the journal, or on the article itself.

Date of Publication

You can also find the year the journal was published on the title page, front cover of the journal, or on the article itself.

Page Numbers

Remember to include the page numbers of the entire article and not just the pages where you found the information you’re citing.

My Professor Says I Have To Use MLA Format For My Works Cited List. What Does That Mean?

There are many different formats for citing the sources you use in your research. Here are a few.

Format Discipline
Modern Language Association
American Psychological Association
Social Science
Council of Science Editors
Life Sciences
Physical Sciences

Regardless of which format you use, you must include the same basic bibliographic information when citing a source.

Hot Tip!

For some examples of bibliographic information in different formats, visit the LibGuide to Citations

What If I’m Using An Electronic Copy Of A Book Or An Article?

Depending on which citation style you are using, you will need to differentiate between print and online copies. Each style has its own rules for formatting this information.

For example, you might need to include the online database where you retrieved the information. Including a URL of a journal or website can be appropriate for some citations. Many online sources now include a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for the text. A DOI is a unique identifier assigned to the online content in order to locate that content on the Internet.

URLs and DOIs are not enough for a citation. You still must include the basic bibliographic information when citing a source.

Hot Tip!

For more information on formatting, see the handbook of the format you are using. APA and MLA also have FAQ sheets online. Check the LibGuide for CSE citation examples.

What If I Can’t Find An Author?

There are common situations where legitimate publications might not have an obvious author. Each style format has rules for citing materials with no author.

Corporate Author

Publications produced by government agencies or professional associations often have a corporate author.

Edited Volume

Edited works are most common with books

News Magazine Articles

Articles from sources like Time Magazine or Newsweek are written by journalists but often don’t include the author’s name.

Be cautious when you cannot find any author to cite. The sources you use should be from authors who are experts in their field.

This is great, but most of my sources are blogs, videos I found on YouTube, and public websites. How do I cite those?

A word to the wise—if your assignment requires you to use scholarly sources, and most of your information comes from blogs, YouTube videos, and websites, you need to Ask a Librarian how to find scholarly books and articles.

Information from those sources will impress your professor in a way that information from websites and YouTube won’t.

Hot Tip!

Google Scholar may have useful articles, but you don’t want to rely on it for all of your research. It may not have the best or most current research available. For better scholarly articles, search UCI’s databases instead.Try Databases to Get You Started.

Are There Tools To Help Me With Citations?

There are lots of online citation making tools available. The library name for them is “bibliographic management software.” Some have to be downloaded to your computer or mobile device, while others have a web interface.

Bibliographic management software makes formatting citations easier, but you still have to use your brain and check to see that all of necessary information has been imported and formatted correctly.

Some examples include:

Remember, nothing replaces logical thinking. Always consult the format handbook for the rules.

Test Yourself: What Have You Learned?

  1. Other than avoiding plagiarism, why is it important to cite sources accurately?
    1. To acknowledge the research of the scholars who made your work possible.
    2. To establish credibility of your research.
    3. To connect your research to the work of other scholars.
    4. All of the above.
  2. What can be a problem when relying on online citation tools?
    1. They may not format the citation correctly.
    2. They are too expensive.
    3. Information from the library catalog or an online database can export incorrectly.
    4. Both 2.1 and 2.3.
  3. What information is missing from the citation of this journal article?
    Endo, Tetsuya, Susan Bryant, and David M. Gardiner. “A Stepwise Model System for Limb Regeneration.” 270 (2004): 135–145. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Feb. 2012.

    1. Volume and issue number
    2. Title of journal
    3. Title of article
    4. Nothing is missing
  4. When citing a source you retrieved online, all you need is a DOI or URL.
    1. True
    2. False
  5. Which information sources are best to use for your research assignment?
    1. Scholarly books and articles
    2. Blogs and website articles
    3. Any article as long as it comes from Google Scholar
    4. All of the above
  6. What information is missing from the citation of a book chapter?
    Greenhalgh, S. (2004). Making up China’s black population [unplanned children]. In S. Szreter, H. Sholkamy & A. Dharmalingam (Eds.), Categories and contexts: Anthropological and historical studies in critical demography (pp. 148–172). Oxford, England.

    1. Title of book
    2. Title of chapter
    3. Page numbers of chapter
    4. Publisher


  1. All of the above; Citing sources is about more than just plagiarism
  2. 2.1 and 2.3;  Online tools cannot replace your brain. Make sure your citation information is correct and formatted properly yourself.
  3. 3.2; We have the title of the article but it looks like we are missing the title of the journal, which is just as important.
  4. False; A proper citation must have all the basic bibliographic elements to be complete.
  5. 5.1; There are written by experts in their field who use current and accurate research.
  6. 6.4; We see the place of publication Oxford, but there is no information on the name of the publisher.