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Cite Your Sources 109
Cite Your Sources

Before citing sources you may have used for your research, critical thinking needs to happen in the initial choosing of your resource. Remember that your citations can only be as strong as your sources.  An acronym to keep in mind when determining whether you should use a source or pass it by: CRAP. It's easy to remember but you have to do the work to sift and sort your resources.

Look for:

C- Current timelines. Unless you are looking for an historical perspective, you want the most up to date information you can find.

R- Reliability of the source. Who is the source? What are their credentials? Who houses the information and are there any connections to possible biased influences?(advertising/funding etc.)

- Authority. Check both the authority of the author and the authority of the host/ site. What are the author's credentials? Are they an expert on the topic? Also what authority does the host/site have to be sharing this information? Check the history of the site as an accurate host of information. This connects to the reliability of the information; Check more than one source and compare.

P- Purpose. Be aware of the perspective of the article or source. For what purpose was the information written? Is there an opinion being given?  Collect a variety of perspectives to see the biases that may be present.           

At NHS we concentrate on the two most common citation styles among the many that are available. Citation of sources is essential to avoid plagiarism. 

Choose either APA or MLA according to what your teacher requires. 

             ​ APA Instructions​                                              MLA Instructions​​              
         APA In-Text Citation Basics                             
 MLA In-Text Citation Basics

There are many excellent, free online tools to support the creation of citations, bibliographies and  reference lists. University library websites are the best places to learn more. Remember that our databases and online encyclopedia include various citation styles for their articles.  For resources where the citation is not readily available , see the resources and tools below to help you create yours. 

Citation Management Tools:

These Citation Builders create the bibliographic record for the Reference List or Works Cited page. The in-text portion of your citation (within your essay), can be created by checking the In Text Basics links above or walking thru the slideshows for quick easy reference. You can also "build" your Reference List and In Text Citations by using Sites like Citation Machine , KnightCite and the Citation builder (Reference Tab) inside MS Word. 

If you are using Google Docs and the Explore tool you can choose to have citations added directly to your document in either APA or MLA format, although they will be in footnote style and will need some modifications.  Creating Citations within a Google Doc​.  Citing Database sources: Online media and websites screencast​

Below are some other Citation Management tools you may choose to use. Remember to always check that they are up to date with the newest changes. If you need to create a citation for any source but especially books in print, artwork, digital images, video and sound recordings, you can't go wrong by choosing one of these tools below. Choose the style you need and the type of resource you used and simply fill in the blanks and follow the onscreen instructions to create your citation.

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Citation Machine​ is a free online service that allows you to search for your source, the citation style and create a citation with the option of adding others. The free version requires no sign in or registration. Citations expire.

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KnightCite from Calvin College.
Register for Free and the site will create the whole reference list, otherwise it will create each citation separately to be copied and pasted into your document.​ Choose your preferred style and go!


Citefast is a free, ad free tool to create your MLA, APA  or Chicago style citations.


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 ​​​​​​​​​​Zotero is a free, easy to use tool to collect, organize and share sources. It is a free download with huge capability. It is recommended on many University Library sites.

More Citation Resources:

       University of Purdue (Online Writing Lab-OWL)​ ​
 The University of Toronto​


 ​​​​​​​Last Update: Dec​. 2018

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