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MUS 160: Humanities Learning Community

Guidance for completing your annotated bibliography and research paper

What is citing?

In a research paper, a citation is a formal reference that:

  • lets your reader know which information is from another source
  • lets your reader find the other source for themselves

Different academic disciplines use different formats for their citations (APA, MLA, Chicago) but most include common elements like author, date, and source of publication.

Why do I need to cite?

Why do I need to cite sources?

There are three main reasons to cite your sources when doing research.

  • To lend credibility to your research.
  • To give credit to other scholars for their work.
  • To avoid plagiarism.

Should I cite it?

Cite it! No citation needed.
-  others exact words -  common knowledge
-  others ideas & opinions -  your own words, ideas & opinions
-  images, photos, artwork & video -  easily observable phenomena
-  computer code, experiments, & data -  generally accepted facts
-  and more . . .  


Remember, when in doubt, cite it!


Which style should I use?

Which style should I use?

When writing a research paper, the discipline (English, history, psychology,  biology, etc.)  determines the citation style you will use. You should also be sure to check with your instructor to find out which style your instructor prefers.

Here's a chart from Purdue OWL comparing ALA, MLA and Chicago citation styles.