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Citing Sources: Home

How to cite sources using the different formats and how to create an annotated bibliography.

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RIC Writing Center Research Assistance

The Writing Center, located in Craig Lee Hall, helps students to learn about the writing process as they work through the writing assigned in their classes. Because students are usually more comfortable working with other students, the staff is comprised of peer tutors, who are extensively trained. The Center also provides tutorial services to staff and faculty and supports writing initiatives throughout the academic community. The director of the Writing Center also maintains a writing resource library for faculty, staff, and students and is available as a resource to anyone at Rhode Island College.

The Student Resources page gives extensive guidance in using several citing sources, MLA, APA and Chicago Manual of Style.

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Why cite sources?

As an academic writer, you must document fully any borrowed ideas and words.  The academic citation--author, page number, and bibliographic entry--establishes two things beyond your reliability and credibility:

  1. A clear trail for other researchers to follow if they also want to consult the source
  2. Information for other researchers who might need to replicate (reproduce) the project

When you provide an academic citation, you've made it clear who you've read, how you used it in your paper, and where others can find it.

Lester, James D. and James Lester, Jr. Writing Research Papers. New York : Pearson Education, 2005, p. 92 (REF LB 2369 .L4 2005)

Components of a Citation

Elements necessary in any citation:



Periodical articles

Web sites


All authors named; editor(s) usually considered author

All authors named

All authors named, personal or corporate


Complete title and complete subtitle

Complete title of article (e.g. "Life and Times of George Copway")

Title of web site/page

Publication information

City, publisher, year of publication

Title (e.g. Journal of American History), volume, issue number (when available) and date of periodical; page numbers of article

URL, date retrieved or used

Source: List, Carla. An Introduction to Information Research. Dubuque, Ia.: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co., 1998, p. 129.

The style for citing sources for a research paper differ according to field of study. For example, a research paper in English requires using the MLA format; a paper in Psychology requires the APA format.  The following pages of this guide explain the different formats used for writing a research paper.

Missing Details?

Are you missing details for a citation (e.g. author's name or the page numbers or the year)? Type all the details into Google. Look for someone else's citation to the same item.

Or ask a reference librarian to help you find the complete citation in another resource, such as a database.

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