Using outside sources like books or articles in your assignment makes your arguments more credible. You demonstrate that your arguments are not just your opinion, but are based on evidence. When you use other people’s ideas in your work, you must observe the rules of academic integrity and cite your sources. Citations prevent any confusion over what is original to you and what you are borrowing. Citation styles like APA (American Psychological Association) supply a standard method for identifying sources.
An in-text citation is when an author's last name and the page number(s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page.
Navigate to the Purdue OWL website for in-text citation formatting and examples.
Zotero is free, easy-to-use software to help you collect, manage, cite, and share your research sources.
Most of Mercyhurst University's databases have a "Cite" button on the landing page of our articles and books where you can find the APA citation. Please double check against our guides or style manual to make sure it is in the correct format. If you find you can't find the citation you could use an automatic citation generator like the one provided below.
The video to the left gives clear instructions on how to format your paper.
Things to remember:
Books: Basic Form
Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle. Location: Publisher.
Note: For "Location," you should always list the city and the state using the two letter postal abbreviation without periods (New York, NY).
Calfee, R. C., & Valencia, R. R. (1991). APA guide to preparing manuscripts for journal publication. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Visit Purdue OWL for more information on: Reference List - Books
An Entry in an Encyclopedia
Bergmann, P. G. (1993). Relativity. In The New Encyclopedia Britannica. (Vol. 26, pp. 501-508). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica.
Visit Purdue OWL for more information: Reference List: Other Print Sources
Article in Periodicals: Basic Form
Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, volume number(issue number), pages. http://dx.doi.org/xx.xxx/yyyyy
Visit Purdue OWL for more information: Reference List: Articles in Periodicals
Electronic Sources: Basic Form
Article From an Online Periodical
Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume number(issue number if available). Retrieved from
Bernstein, M. (2002). 10 tips on writing the living Web. A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 149. Retrieved from http://www.alistapart.com/articles/writeliving
Visit Purdue OWL for more information on: Reference List - Electronic Sources (Web Publications)
Interviews, Email, and Other Personal Communication
No personal communication is included in your reference list; instead, parenthetically cite the communicator's name, the phrase "personal communication," and the date of the communication in your main text only.
Visit Purdue OWL for more information: Reference List: Other Non-Print Sources
Author(s): Basic Form
The following rules for handling works by a single author or multiple authors apply to all APA-style references in your reference list, regardless of the type of work (book, article, electronic resource, etc.)
Last name first, followed by author initials.
Berndt, T. J. (2002). Friendship quality and social development. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 11, 7-10.
Visit Purdue OWL for more information: Reference List: Author/Authors
What is a Citation?
A "citation" is the way you tell your readers that certain material in your work came from another source. It also gives your readers the information necessary to find that source again, including:
Giving credit to the original author by citing sources is the only way to use other people's work without plagiarizing. But there are a number of other reasons to cite sources:
When to Cite?
Whenever you borrow words or ideas, you need to acknowledge their source. The following situations almost always require citation:
"What is a Citation?." Plagiarism.org. iParadigms, LLC, 2015. Web. 22 Nov. 2015. http://www.plagiarism.org/.