Citing Sources

How to use this guide

This guide is designed to help you understand the college writing process used in research papers and assignments.  It contains links to writing guides and citation style guides.  It also contains instructions for creating annotated bibliographies.


Use the tabs at the top of the guide to navigate. 


Citing Sources: Citing


This page provides resources related to citation:


Use the tab at the top of this page to navigate to information about Annotated Bibliographies

What needs to be cited and when to cite?

  • Exact wording taken from any source (including the Internet!) = direct quotation
  • Discussion, paraphrasing or summarizing another person's work or ideas
  • Statistical & other data
  • Diagrams, images & media that are not your own

If the words or thoughts are not originally your own, cite it.

You do NOT need to cite when the information is common knowledge. For more information about what is considered "common knowledge," check our Purdue OWL's "Is it Plagiarism?" page from their Writing Center (scroll to the bottom).

Watch the video below for a very brief overview on citation for students, or watch it directly on YouTube here


Using the ideas or words of another person without giving credit constitutes plagiarism - a serious ethical and legal offense. You should strive to avoid it at all times, and can easily do so by using quotation marks to cite direct quote, and in-text citations to give credit if you are paraphrasing an idea.

From the Carroll College Student Handbook:


The term “plagiarism” includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.

Plagiarism may range from isolated formulas, sentences, or paragraphs to entire articles copied from books, periodicals, web sites, speeches,or the writings of other students. Honesty requires that any work or materials taken from another source for either written or oral use must be acknowledged. Any student who fails to give credit for ideas or materials obtained from another source is guilty of plagiarism.  Plagiarism, in any of its forms, and whether intentional or unintentional, violates standards of academic integrity. Examples of plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

• Direct quotation of any source material whether published or unpublished without giving proper credit through the use of quotation marks, footnotes and other customary means of identifying sources.

• Paraphrasing another person’s ideas, opinions, or theories from books, articles, websites, etc., without identifying and crediting sources.

• Borrowing facts,statistics, graphs, diagrams, photographs, or other illustrative or visual materials that are not clearly common knowledge without identifying and crediting sources.

• Copying another student’s essay test answers or submitting papers written by another person or persons. This includes copying, or allowing another student to copy, a computer file that contains another student’s assignment and submitting it, in part or in its entirety, as one’s own.

• Buying or selling,or exchanging term papers, examinations, or other written assignments, or any part of them.

• Offering false, fabricated, or fictitious sources for papers, reports, or other assignments.

Check out the video below for a tutorial about what plagiarism is and how you can avoid it, or watch it directly on YouTube here

Using Zotero, a free citation and research management tool

Zotero is a free citation and research management tool that Corette Librarians can provide support for you to use. With Zotero, you can:

  • Automatically import citation information from websites, library catalogs, journals, and databases into Zotero - no need to manually gather this information!
  • Automatically generate formatted bibliographies in many different styles including APA and MLA.
  • Automatically generate footnotes and endnotes in many different styles with Zotero's free Microsoft Word, Google Docs and OpenOffice add-ons.
  • Enter notes and tags that can be keyword searched to build easy connections between sources and find your work faster.
  • Sync the citations and information you save online with across multiple devices and share your saved work with classmates.

Check out this guide for how to freely install and use Zotero.


ACS - American Chemical Society

ACS Style Guide - Online by Anne M. Coghill

ISBN: 9780841239999

Publication Date: 2006


APA - American Psychological Association

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association by American Psychological Association

Call Number: BF76.7 .P83 2020

ISBN: 9781433832161

Publication Date: 2019-10-01

"The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition is the official source for APA Style. With millions of copies sold worldwide in multiple languages, it is the style manual of choice for writers, researchers, editors, students, and educators in the social and behavioral sciences, natural sciences, nursing, communications, education, business, engineering, and other fields. Known for its authoritative, easy-to-use reference and citation system, the Publication Manual also offers guidance on choosing the headings, tables, figures, language, and tone that will result in powerful, concise, and elegant scholarly communication. It guides users through the scholarly writing process-from the ethics of authorship to reporting research through publication. The seventh edition is an indispensable resource for students and professionals to achieve excellence in writing and make a impact with their work" -- Page 4 of cover.

apa-mastering.jpgMastering APA Style (7th Edition) by American Psychological Association Staff

ISBN: 9781433805578

Publication Date: 2009-07-15


ASA - American Sociological Association

The Sociology Student Writer's Manual by William A. Johnson; Richard P. Rettig; Stephen M. Garrison; William A. Johnson; Greg M. Scott

Call Number: HM585 .S638 2006 Ref-

ISBN: 0131928511

Publication Date: 2005-06-16

This reference book guides sociology students through the writing process. Includes sections on style, conducting research, and writing specific types of sociology papers.


CMS Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style by University of Chicago Press Editorial Staff

Call Number: Z253 .U69 2010

ISBN: 9780226287058

Publication Date: 2017-09-05


CSE Council of Science Editors

Scientific Style and Format by Council of Science Editors

Call Number: Reference T11.S386 2014

ISBN: 9780226116495

Publication Date: 2014-05-07


MLA Modern Language Association

MLA Handbook (8th Edition) by The Modern Language Association of America

Call Number: LB2369 .M52 2016

ISBN: 9781603292627

Publication Date: 2016-04-01


MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing 3rd ed. by Modern Language Association of America Staff (Created by)

Call Number: PN147.G444 2008 Ref-

ISBN: 9780873522977

Publication Date: 2008-01-01


A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker; Nancy Sommers

Call Number: Reference Desk PE1408 .H2778 2018

ISBN: 9781319057442

Publication Date: 2017-09-15


NLM National Library of Medicine

Citing Medicine -The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers 2nd ed. by Karen Patrias; Daniel L Wendling

Publication Date: 2007

Citing Sources: Annotated Bibliographies

What is an annotated bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of the works cited you used in your paper. An annotation is a summary or an evaluation.

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources with accompanying information that describes, explains and/or evaluates each entry. 


Before you begin with your annotated bibliography assignment, make sure you know which citation style your instructor requires. Different disciplines use different style guides, i.e., rules for formatting citations.  

Annotations are notes or summaries that follow the citation. They should be succinct and fairly short.

The following information provide guidance for writing and formatting your annotated bibliography. It may be helpful to write the citation as though you plan to return to the research topic in 5 years and you want to remind yourself about the merits of the book or material. Your instructor will thank you if you vary your language, rather than beginning each annotation with "This book . . "

Watch the short video below to learn what an annotated bibliography is, or watch on YouTube here.

Types of Annotations

Annotations can be any of the following types or combinations of them:

  • Descriptive: states the topic of the source only
  • Summary: summarizes the source but does not take a stance or make an argument about the source
  • Evaluative: evaluates the source, which may include placing the work in context of other research or evaluating its usefulness

Elements of Annotations

Annotations may include all or some of these elements:

  • Full citation and publication information. Use a consistant citation style; bibliographies always include this element
  • Information about the author(s) and their motives
  • Summary of the source
  • Evaluation of the source, including what makes the source useful for your research or for your audience
  • Information about the intended audience of the source, including any potential author bias
  • Context for the source, including how it compares to other sources in the bibliography

Elements of Annotations

Annotations may include all or some of these elements:

  • Full citation and publication information. Use a consistant citation style; bibliographies always include this element
  • Information about the author(s) and their motives
  • Summary of the source
  • Evaluation of the source, including what makes the source useful for your research or for your audience
  • Information about the intended audience of the source, including any potential author bias
  • Context for the source, including how it compares to other sources in the bibliography

Annotation Example

The following brief example is based on MLA citation style. Consult the citation style guides for citation information. For more examples, please see more guides and examples above. 

Churchill, Suzanne, and Adam McKible. "Little Magazines and Modernism: An Introduction." 
American Periodicals 15.1 (2005): 1-5. JSTOR. Web. 20 Mar. 2011.

Authors Suzanne Churchill and Adam McKible are established researchers of little magazines, having written multiple books and articles on the subject. This academic article serves as an introduction to little magazines and to an issue of American Periodicals devoted to them. As such, it seeks to define little magazines and place them in the context of their time: at the center of modernism. While the article does not necessarily present new scholarship or ideas about the periodicals, it does provide a useful and enthusiastic introduction to them. This article is particularly useful because it seeks to provide a definition for little magazines that is more inclusive than definitions found in other sources.
  • Full citation
  • Information about the authors
  • Information about the intended audience
  • Summary
  • Evaluation
  • Context

Get Help Writing

writing-center-logo.pngThe Writing Center provides assistance at any stage of the writing progress, from initial brainstorm to final drafts.

Location: Corette Library, Room 111 (lower level)

Schedule an appointment through Moodle for in-depth assistance.

Drop-in during standard hours (viewable in Moodle from the Academic Tutoring web page) for on-the-spot help with specific, less complex questions 

Writing Center Director: Jeff Morris, English Faculty

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Other Relevant Guides

Page Credits

NC State University Libraries. "Citation: A (Very) Brief Introduction."  YouTube, 23 July 2014,

Scribbr. "APA Manual 7th Edition: 17 Most Notable Changes." YouTube, 26 Nov. 2019,

Brock University Library. "What's an annotated bibliography?" YouTube, 18 Jul 2013,

E.H. Little Library. "Annotation Example." Citing Sources. Davidson College, 22 Apr. 2020,

E.H. Little Library. "Elements of Annotations." Citing Sources. Davidson College, 22 Apr. 2020,

E.H. Little Library. "Steps for Writing an Annotated Bibliography." Citing Sources, Davidson College, 22 Apr. 2020,

E.H. Little Library. "Types of Annnotations." Citing Sources. Davidson College, 22 Apr. 2020,