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Write & Cite

Citation Basics 

All citation styles provide rules for how to cite sources; specific rules depend on the given style. The two main types of citing you'll use to write a paper are:

  • Parenthetical (In-Text) or Footnote Citing: brief information inserted at the bottom of the page or in parentheses after a quote, paraphrase, summary, or other reference you have taken from another; this brief citation serves to refer the reader to the full citation in the source list at the end of the paper.

  • List of Sources or Bibliography: the bibliography, also called a reference list (AMA and APA) or works cited (MLA), appears at the end of a paper and contains the complete citation to the original source.


To cite a resource, you need to identify 4 things about it:

Author | Title | Date | Publication Statement

A style manual provides specific rules on how to present these 4 pieces of information, at Bastyr we use the APA and AMA style manuals.


Why should I cite?

  • presenting another person's work as your own is plagiarism;
  • citations provide the information that enables others to follow up on (and learn from) your sources;
  • citing important sources lends credibility to your research;
  • it's the right thing to do!

You must cite your source when:

  • you quote, paraphrase or summarize the ideas or words of another author;
  • you use an image, graph, artwork or other creative work in any medium.

You don't have to cite your source when:

  • the information is common knowledge and/or factual; a good guide is whether you can easily find the information uncited in several standard reference sources;
  • you're writing about your own experiences, ideas or observations.

If you're unsure about whether you should cite, you probably should!


When is it appropriate to cite Wikipedia? Read this short article from the Harvard College Writing Program.


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