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Tips on doing research

Why correct citations matter

Here’s a few reasons why correct citations matter and resources to help you with your citations today.

  1. Citations help give credit to authors for their words and ideas.  This allows you to use other author’s ideas or words in your own papers, or projects but still gives those authors credit for their original ideas. This is important for you because it helps you avoid plagiarism.  Still not sure what might constitute plagiarism? Check out the library’s plagiarism tutorial.
  2. Citing your sources helps to demonstrate the depth of research you did to complete your project. That’s not to say that the person with the most sources wins, but showing which sources you relied on helps give the reader of your paper or project and understanding of the research that you did.  Your sources help to give your reader an understanding of the creditability of the sources you relied on to make your argument.
  3. Citations help readers find and locate the materials that are cited within that work.  Why does this matter to you? Well, if you found a great book or article on the topic of your paper or project it is likely that the sources used in that book or article could also be helpful. Take a look at the footnotes and reference list or works cited page to find the information you need to locate these additional resources.  Likewise, when you are writing something it is important to put citations to materials you used so that readers of your work can know where to find these other materials.

How to create citations

First, check out the How to Cite Your Sources guide. This guide provides tutorials, examples and quick reference guides on the most popular citation formats including APA, Chicago, MLA and more. 

Best Free Online Citation Creators

Did you know most library databases give the option to build a citation? Look for an option to cite.  This is typically found when you click on the title to get more information and is found near the other menu items like the print, save or email tools. 

  • BibMe-APA, MLA, Chicago and Turabian
    • Creates list. Can save with account. Easy to change style.
  • EasyBib-APA, MLA and Chicago
    • MLA, free, other styles must pay (unless you enter in MLA and then change style.) Over 50 formats. Can create list. Annoying ads.
  • Citation Builder: NCSU Libraries - APA6 and APA7, MLA7 and MLA8, Chicago16, CSE.
    • Presents all styles at once. No list creation.

Best Online Citation Rule Resources

Citation management

Need help with managing a large number of citations? Check out the Citation Management tools page that shows you how to collect and organize your citation information using Endnote Online, Zotero, BibMe, EasyBib, and NoodleTools Express programs.