Written By: Whitfield Angela

Writing a research paper for class can be difficult, especially when you need to cite the sources you have referenced throughout your paper. Citations are used to identify and give credit to the sources you have used in your research paper or literature review. Using the ideas from a work without citing it is considered plagiarism, so it is important to cite when you reference ideas that are not your own. Citing is also a useful way for other people who are reading your work to find research related to your paper.

There are several different citation styles, each with a multitude of ways to cite various resources like books, articles, websites, and even tweets! Generally, the social and political sciences will be written in APA; language, literature, and the humanities are written in MLA; and Chicago Style is used in history and the arts (Stayton, 2019). However, some subjects, like the humanities, can be used in both MLA and Chicago Style.

It is always important to confirm with your instructor which style you will be using. Generally, they will let you know ahead of time which style they expect the paper to be written in.

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OWL at Purdue

For basic citation assistance, OWL at Purdue can be a great place to start. The Online Writing Lab is a product of Purdue University. It was created to help writers all around the world with their writing projects and is especially popular for their easy-to-use citation guides (“Welcome,” 2019). They offer help with the most common citation styles, including APA Style, MLA Style, and the Chicago Manual of Style.

To get help with your citations you will need to locate the citation style you are using in the menu on the left-hand side of the page, then click Formatting and Style Guides. These guides can help you with your formatting and in-text citations, as well as how to organize the list of sources you used at the end of your paper. The title for your list of sources can differ depending on the citation style you use. For example, in MLA the bibliography section at the end of your paper is titled “Works Cited,” while in APA it is titled “References.”

UNT Library Guides

UNT Libraries also has an extensive Citations & Styles Guide located in the Most Requested section of the library homepage. This guide can point you to copies of citation style handbooks that the UNT Libraries have in their collection, which you can read in person. The most official citation styles can always be found in the most recently published handbook, but the final authority will always be your professor or publisher (Stayton, 2019).

The Citations & Styles Guide also provides a variety of links to other resources that can help you with citation help. If OWL at Purdue does not answer your citation question, or you cannot access a citation style handbook in person, then it may be useful to visit the list of other resources in the UNT citation guide.

RefWorks ProQuest

Another useful tool you can utilize is RefWorks ProQuest which is free to use with your UNT account. RefWorks allows you to import articles from the UNT Library catalog and other websites to their platform at the click of a button. It allows you to keep all of your articles in one place and organize them however you like. You can also use the Create a Bibliography function which allows you to organize your list of resources and customize the citation style you would like to use for your paper. While this function is a nice shortcut, it is not foolproof. It is important to double check your citations to ensure they are in the correct format according to the citation and style guides mentioned above.

For more information, you can access the RefWorks Guide for video tutorials on how to use RefWorks ProQuest, or contact the Subject Librarian Erin O’Toole at Erin.O’Toole@unt.edu with any questions.

If these tools and guides still don’t answer your question, or you feel overwhelmed by the amount of information out there, you can always request in-person assistance! You can either schedule an appointment with the Writing Center Tutors in Sage Hall or drop by (no appointment necessary) at Willis Library during tutoring hours.

Please feel free to leave any comments on our comments form or email us at AskUs@unt.edu with any questions you may have.


Stayton, J. (2019). Citations & style guide. Retrieved from https://guides.library.unt.edu/citations-style-guides

Welcome to the Purdue OWL. (2019). Retrieved from https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html

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