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Research Fundamentals Tutorial

Module 6: Citing sources

APA Style Manual, 7th edition, coverWhat is citation?

Citation is the process of crediting the people and their work that came before you to make your own work possible. It is part of the scholarly conversation.

In college research, the primary citation styles used are American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA). APA is generally used for the sciences and social sciences, while MLA is more often used for the arts and humanities.

APA and MLA citations includes two major parts:

Part 1: In-text citations

In Module 5 we talked about incorporating outside sources into the body of your research paper, presentation, or project.

Remember that whether you quote, paraphrase, or summarize, you always include a short in-text citation, which is part one of the two-part citation system.

Example: "Perhaps the solution to improving service delivery starts with an understanding that we can’t, and probably shouldn’t, try to fully automate it" (Pombriant 7).

MLA Handbook, 9th edition, cover image

Part 2: Complete list of sources

This is the References or Works Cited page that comes at the end of your project. It lists each outside source that you've quoted, paraphrased, summarized, or otherwise referred to in your project. If your research paper lays out a script for a scholarly conversation, the list of citations or references at the end is your cast of characters.

Example: Pombriant, Denis. “Automating Customer Service Means Striking a Balance: Too Much Automation Can Leave Customers Feeling Put Off.” CRM Magazine, vol. 22, no. 8, Oct. 2018, p. 7. Business Source Complete,

Your list of citations does not include sources that you read but didn't directly mention in your project.


MLA cover image: Mlaoutreach, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons