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How Do I...?: Cite Sources

Citing Sources

Citation Style Guides

  • APA is most often used in social sciences--fields like education, sociology, psychology, and political science
  • MLA is most often used in the humanities--fields like philosophy, religious studies, and English
  • Chicago is most often used in history, art history, music, and business
  • CSE is typically used in biology
  • ACS is typically used in chemistry

Get Help

If you need help with source citations or any other aspect of your research project, get in touch:

-Email or call our Research & Instruction Librarian

-Stop by the Research Help Desk, open on weekdays from 1-5 pm during the academic year 

Schedule a research appointment with a librarian any day of the week

Web Resources and Tools

Resources and Examples


  • Paperrater- Use this tool to check for plagiarism, as well as spelling and grammar

  • Zotero - A citation management tool; Create a free account, organize, and cite your sources in any citation style.

Researchers use other authors' works to learn about a topic, make connections, support arguments, and discover gaps in research. Citing sources ensures that researchers get credit for their work. It shows that you've done research for your paper. It also helps other researchers find more useful sources on the topic. You should cite a source any time you directly quote that source, paraphrase the source, or generally use an author's ideas to inform your writing.

If you're not sure whether you need to cite something, just cite it--it's better to be safe than sorry!

Failing to cite sources is plagiarism, which is a violation of the Honor Pledge. For more on the Honor Pledge and Randolph College's plagiarism policies, see the Student Handbook.