Cite Your Sources
Scholarly practice requires that you cite your sources. Why?  
To make your arguments more credible.
To show you've done your homework (i.e. your research).
To build a foundation for your argument.
To allow your readers to find the sources for themselves.
So you don't get accused of plagiarizing!1   

Ready-made/formatted citations
You can find citations formatted in MLA, APA or other styles in some of the databases where you look for articles! Look for a Cite or Citation feature.  Some will only display one style, but some will display multiple styles. Be sure to proofread them!


Free and simple online tools for creating citations

You put in the information (title, author, etc.) and the tool creates the citation.

Son of Citation Machine -->
Make Citation -->
eTurabian -->

Free online tools for creating citations and bibliographies

These tools are more complex than simple citation tools, but they allow you to create and save an entire bibliography. They typically require registration.

Free online

BibMe -->
Zotero -->
Mendeley -->


Free for CUNY students

RefWorks --> Groupcode RWBrooklynC
FLOW (from RefWorks) -->


Guides for creating (and checking!) your own citations.

 Online Style Guides

Research and Citation Resources from the OWL at Purdue: APA, MLA & Chicago styles

 Books (Available at the Reference Desk.)

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 2009. Print.  [in MLA style]

Hacker, Diana, Nancy I. Sommers, and Marcy Horn. A Writer's Reference. 7th ed. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. Print.   [in MLA style]

Scientific style and format: the CSE manual for authors, editors, and publishers. 7th ed. Reston (VA): Council of Science Eds; 2006. [in CSE style; in the library Stacks T11 .S386 2006]

Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). (2010). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. [in APA style]

The Chicago Manual of Style. 16th ed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2010. [in Chicago style]

Turabian, Kate L., John Grossman, and Alice Bennett. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. 8th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013. [in Turabian style]


Quoting, Paraphrasing, Attributing, and Avoiding Plagiarism

What is Quoting? Quoting is “to repeat (something written or said by another person) exactly”2 and is usually shown with quotation marks as it is here.

What is Paraphrasing? Paraphrasing is “a restatement of a text, passage, or work giving the meaning in another form,”3 in other words, to put someone else's ideas into your own words.

What is Attribution? Attribution is “the act of establishing a particular person as the creator of a work,”4 which is done here with quotes and footnotes.

What is Plagiarism? Plagiarism is “the use of another’s work, words, or ideas without attribution. The word “plagiarism” comes from the Latin word for “kidnapper” and is considered a form of theft, a breach of honesty in the academic community.”5

In scholarly writing, we are continually engaged with other people’s ideas: we read them in texts, hear them in lecture, discuss them in class, and incorporate them into our own writing. Acknowledging those authors' ideas and showing where your found them is an important element of scholarly writing. Plagiarism is using others’ ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information.

To avoid Plagiarism, you must give credit whenever you use:

  • another person’s idea, opinion, or theory;
  • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings—any pieces of information—that are not common knowledge;
  • quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words; or
  • paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words.6

A Few Useful Links


 Integrating Citations (quotes or paraphrases) into Your Writing.

It is important to bring other authors' ideas and words into your paper in as seamless and logical a way as possible: making it clear why/how the source is relevant to your argument. The most common way to incorporate quotes/paraphrases is to use a signal phrase that signals or shows that you are bringing in an outside source.  Often a signal phrase names the author of the quoted material, thus introducing the material and making attribution at the same time. Other times the attribution is included in the citation (either parenthetical or in a footnote).  Here are two examples:

With the author named:

In addition, the work of neurologist Oliver Sacks (1985, 1995) provides engagingly written case studies of savants and other individuals with specific brain damage that has affected their intelligences in intriguing ways.7

With the authors in a parenthetical citation:

Research has shown that people will sometimes use this "basking in reflected glory" effect for purposes of eliciting certain reactions from others (Cialdini & Richardson, 1980).8

Some possible words to use to signal or mark a quote or paraphrase of an outside source:

acknowledges claims denies maintains shows
admits compares describes notes states
agrees concedes disputes points out suggests
argues confirms emphasizes refutes thinks
asserts contends illustrates rejects writes
believes declares implies reports  

Additionally, this page at Loyola University has a lot of great suggestions and examples about how to use signal phrases effectively.


Need more help? Make an appointment to meet with a Brooklyn College Writing Tutor. And you can always Ask A Librarian!


1 Adapted from: Avoiding Plagiarism. (n.d.) About Plagiarism. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from
2 Quote. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from
Paraphrase. (n.d.). Merriam-Webster. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from

Attribution. (n.d.). The Free Dictionary. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from 
5 What Is Plagiarism? (n.d.). Yale College Writing Center. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from

6 Adapted from: Plagiarism: What It is and How to Recognize and Av
oid It (n.d.). Writing Tutorial Services, Indiana University-Bloomington. Retrieved November 13, 2013, from 
7From: Thomas Armstrong, Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom,
(Alexandria, VA: ASCD, 2009). [in MLA style]
: Swann Jr, W. B. (1983). Self-verification: Bringing social reality into harmony with the self. Social psychological perspectives on the self, 2, 33-66. [in APA style]