Citing Sources

On this page:

Why Cite?

When writing research papers, documenting your sources is an important step - crediting others whose work you have based your research upon is an integral part of scholarship.

Citing your sources in the proper or accepted format helps the reader to identify these sources. A list of references can be likened to a genealogy which tells others the history and background of your work.

There are many different citation styles - each has an official manual that explains all the rules (see below).

For school, your instructor will usually tell you which style to use - if not, you should ask!

Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction (2 min.) is a short video.

Incorporating Sources

Confused about Summarizing? Paraphrasing? Quoting?

You can, and should, talk to your instructor, but the Incorporating Sources video (4 min.) will give you an overview. The first 1:30 is a brief description of each, followed by more in-depth explanations.

How To

Usually, you can find most of what you will need at:

Styles for Different Disciplines

  • The Social Sciences use APA - Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association.

  • The Humanities use MLA (Modern Language Association) - MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers.

  • History uses the Chicago Manual of Style.

  • The Natural Sciences sometimes use CSE - Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers.

Help with APA

Help with MLA 9th Edition

MLA Handbook - 9th edition

Help with Chicago

Help with ASA

Best Practice

Use the citation provided by the database that has the full text of the article. Don’t use a citation from an index like Sociological Abstracts or Web of Science unless you can’t find the article anywhere else. Check the “Find a Journal Title” link (Hawaiʻi CC / UH Hilo) to see if we have the full text of the article.