Citing Your Sources

Why Cite?

When you use other authors' ideas and words in your own writing, it is important to credit them - even if you do not quote their words exactly as written.

Citing your sources allows your reader to identify the works you have consulted and to understand the breadth and scope of your research. Footnotes, endnotes, and lists of works consulted provide substantiation for your own findings and ideas.

Practicing "cite as you write" and keeping track of ideas and quotations that you use in your own writing helps you to avoid plagiarism or charges of research misconduct.

Quotation and Paraphrasing

When you reproduce an author's exact wording and phrasing, you must place the text within quotation marks or set off the text in block quotes or other formats recommended in various style manuals.

Even if you re-word the material in your own terms, a practice called "paraphrasing," you must credit the source of the information.

You can find guidelines for quotation practice in many style manuals or guides for researchers.


Plagiarism is defined in the University of Arkansas Catalog of Studies as "offering as one’s own work the words, ideas, or arguments of another person without appropriate attribution by quotation, reference or footnote" (section on "Academic Regulations: Academic Honesty").

The consequences of plagiarizing another's work can be very serious for one's course grade or for one's entire academic career. Plagiarism and academic dishonesty go beyond simply cutting and pasting text from an article or book into your paper without attribution; they can include paraphrasing without attribution or even citing sources that you have not consulted in your Works Cited list.

Citing your sources is the first step to avoiding plagiarism.

University of Arkansas policies relating to Academic Integrity can be found at You can also read more on our Research Guides.

Citation Examples

There are hundreds of citation styles. Your instructor, department, college, or editor may recommend that you use a particular style—or they may ask that you simply be consistent. Four of the most commonly-used citation styles in academic writing are:

Search for more citation style manuals in OneSearch. Common subject headings used for style manuals include "Authorship--Style Manuals" or "Authorship--Handbooks."

Citation Helpers

A number of library databases offer "Cite" tools that will automatically format a citation for you in a number of styles. These tools can be helpful if you have just a few items to cite in your paper.

Look for buttons or links to help generate your citation.

Examples: Cite Button Examples

We encourage you to double-check these computer-generated citations against your style manual.

Citation Managers

Citation managers are software programs or browser tools that allow you to collect and organize citations to books, articles, or other materials that you have used in your research. These tools make it easy to "cite while you write" by allowing you to insert citations into your writing in hundreds--even thousands--of different styles.

The Libraries offer support for and training on several different citation managers:


EndNote Basic (EndNote Web)

The University Libraries provide this web-based bibliography managerfor the entire campus. EndNote Basic allows you to save citations to a personal database and then format those citations in footnotes, endnotes, or bibliographies.

Once you create your own personal EndNote account, you can access your database of citations from any computer, anywhere with an Internet connection. You can easily import citations from dozens of different library databases. Your citations can then be exported directly into your paper in dozens of different citation styles.

Login to EndNote Basic | Endnote Basic Research Guide | Look for EndNote Classes

About the EndNote Desktop Client

Endnote is is also available as client software for Windows or Mac computers. EndNote can be purchased at an academic discount from the UA Campus Computer Store.

While the University Libraries do not provide in-depth support for the EndNote client, we can help with custom connection filters for UA subscription databases. please contact us at



Mendeley is a citation manager that can help you collect references, organize your citations, and create bibliographies.

Mendeley is also an academic social network that enables you to share your research with others. Researchers can collaborate online in public or private groups, and search for papers in the Mendeley group database of over 30 million papers. Mendeley can help you connect with other scholars and the latest research in your subject area. Mendeley can also integrate with Science Direct.

Connect to Mendeley | Mendeley Research Guide | Look for Mendeley Classes



This open source program that collects, manages, and cites research sources. Zotero allows you to attach PDFs, notes and images to your citations, organize them into collections for different projects, and create bibliographies.

Although Zotero itself is free, you may find that you need to pay for additional cloud storage if you save a lot of PDFs to your Zotero library. Prices start at $20 a year for up to a gigabyte of online storage.

Visit the Zotero Web Site | Zotero Research Guide | Look for Zotero Classes

More Resources

Student Success Writing Support offers tutoring to help you with paper composition and documentation. You can even submit a draft online for comments.

The Graduate School has and online guide for preparing theses and dissertations. In addition, you may want to check with your academic department to determine what citation format (APA, MLA, Chicago, CBE. etc.) they recommend.

Visit for information on University of Arkansas Academic Integrity policies.