INFOhio Citation Guide

Technology makes it easy to copy and share ideas and information. Learn how to maintain academic integrity while you are doing your research.

INFOhio Tools for Research

These tools include lots of helpful information on gathering, evaluating, and citing your sources.

  • GO! Ask, Act, Achieve Includes resources and support tools for students as they work through the inquiry process.
  • R4S: Research for Success Includes resources and support tools for students working on research projects.
  • Just getting started with your research? Try a search in ISearch. ISearch Search your school library and nearly all INFOhio resources from a single search box.

Citing Your Sources

Why Cite Your Sources?

When you use outside sources for a project, you need to cite them. Your sources could be books, primary source documents, magazines or newspapers articles, or encyclopedia articles, but they may also include videos, images, audio recordings, or websites. You must cite them to:

  • Give credit to the people whose ideas or words you've used.
  • Establish that you've used credible sources.
  • Help your readers find your sources.

Different subject areas have different needs when it comes to citing sources. Because of that, there are numerous different citation styles. The most common citation styles are:

  • MLA (for arts and humanities)
  • APA (for social sciences)

Check with your teacher to find out which citation style is required for your project.


The official source for MLA style is the MLA Handbook by The Modern Language Association of America, 2016. For free, online information on using MLA style, see these resources:


The official source for APA style is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association by American Psychological Association Staff, 2010. For free, online information on using APA style, see these resources:

  • Purdue OWL: APA General Format Provides examples for the general format of APA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the reference page.

Get Your Citations Built for You!

Many INFOhio resources have citation helpers. When you select a book or article, look for a link labeled Cite/Citation/Citing and click it to get a rough draft of a citation. Treat all citation helpers as a starting point for a rough draft of a citation.

Be Careful! Computer-generated citations and citation helpers can be very good, but treat them like you would a rough draft. You (the student) are responsible for making sure your citations are correct. Check your citations against the style manual or the Purdue OWL site.

Is it a book, a book chapter, or an article?

To cite your source correctly, you need to know what kind of source it is. Play Citation Tetris, a computer game designed by Ohio academic librarian, Ken Irwin. Identify whether the citation block is for a book, book chapter, or article before it lands.

Identifying and Avoiding Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

If you don't cite the sources you use, that's considered plagiarism. Whether it's done on purpose or by accident, plagiarism is against the rules. This information will help you recognize plagiarism, so you can avoid it and its consequences.

Tutorials on Citing and Document Sources

Categories of Plagiarism

Plagiarism takes a lot of different forms. Here are a few of the most common faces of plagiarism:

  • Borrowing: Whether it's a paper you got from a friend or one you found online, submitting someone else's work as your own is plagiarism.
  • Citing inaccurately: Citing sources inaccurately or citing sources that don't exist is plagiarism.
  • Cobbling: Piecing together an entire paper of quotes and paraphrases from others' work—even if you've cited them—fails to demonstrate your understanding of the material. That's plagiarism.
  • Paraphrasing excessively or without citation: When you put ideas you learned from a source into your own words, that's called paraphrasing. In that case, you don't need to use quotation marks, but you still need to cite the source of the ideas. This webpage offers guidance on paraphrasing: Successful vs. unsuccessful paraphrases.
  • Quoting without punctuating or citing: If you use another person's exact words in your paper, you must use quotation marks and cite the source of the quote. If you don't do both, that's plagiarism.
  • Recycling: In each class, your teacher expects you to build new knowledge through fresh effort. Recycling your previous work—turning in one of your old papers, presentations, or projects—is self-plagiarism. And self-plagiarism is plagiarism.

Useful Web Resources on Plagiarism

Evaluating Your Sources

Evaluating sources is one of the most important parts of research. Download and use the CRAP Test Website Evaluation Checklist to evaluate the books, articles, websites, and other sources you find on your topic.

For more information on the CRAP Test, visit these sites:

Learning about Copyright

What is Copyright?

Copyright is the exclusive legal right to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.

Online copyright resources

More About Copyright

Copyright Basics

Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright and Creative Commons

Copyright and the Classroom

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