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Citing Sources

Introduction to Citing


The guide will help you create properly formatted bibliographies/work cited lists and notes for most research projects assigned at UMass Global.

Page Contents:

Acknowledging Sources

The University of Massachusetts Global is an academic community based on the principles of honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Academic integrity is a core University value that ensures respect for the academic reputation of the University, its students, faculty, and staff, and the degrees it confers. The University expects that students will conduct themselves in an honest and ethical manner and respect the intellectual work of others. Acknowledging sources correctly is a crucial part of academic integrity. We acknowledge sources in order to: 

  • Give credit to the original source of information
  • Situate our own work within a broader scholarly conversation
  • Strengthen our arguments by lending credibility to our own work
  • Avoid plagiarism
  • Help readers find more information about a topic

Notes and Bibliographies

Acknowledging sources is a two step process:

  1. Notes/Citations: Academic projects require use of notes or citations, which are brief notations that acknowledge when you are quoting, paraphrasing, or otherwise referring to information found in another source. The note/citation may take the form of  an in-text notation, footnote, or endnote following each direct quote or paraphrased statement within the body of the work. Whether you use an in-text note, footnote, or endnote depends on which citation style you are required to use. See the style tabs on this page for information directly related to the style you need to use. 
    • In-text Notes (click for sample) are used with the APA and MLA styles of citing. An in-text note consists of the author's or creator’s name and the item’s publication date in parentheses immediately following quoted or paraphrased text.
    • Footnotes (click for sample) are typically used with the Chicago style of citing. A footnote first appears as a superscripted number following the quoted or paraphrased text that corresponds with a note at the bottom of the page on which the quoted text appears:
    • Endnotes (click for sample) are often used in books and journal articles. It is similar to a footnote in that it appears as a superscripted number following quoted or paraphrased text. However, the number corresponds with a note at the end of an article, chapter, or book.
  1. Bibliography: All projects, no matter the style, require the use of a bibliography. A bibliography, sometimes called a "works cited list" or a "reference list," is a detailed, specially formatted list of all the individual materials consulted for a research project, whether they are directly quoted or paraphrased or not. It is typically arranged in alphabetical order by authors' last names. Abbreviated footnotes, endnotes, and in-text citations refer to the complete citation in the bibliography. The bibliography usually appears at the end of a project in a style required by the academic discipline, professor, or publisher.
This is a sample of a bibliography/references list. The formatting may change based on the style you are required to use.  

Citation Styles

There are many different citation styles. Commonly used styles in academic writing are APA, MLA, and Chicago. The exact elements needed for notes and the bibliographies will vary depending on the style and type of source you are using, and specific rules can be found on the style links on this page. The publishers of books, journals, and dissertations may have their own rules in addition to or instead of the standard styles. Note that a style may govern how the entire paper is formatted (font, margins, headers, etc.) in addition to how citations are formatted. The following elements are typical parts of a citation in any style, though not all elements are always used:

  • Author/creator and/or editor(s) of the work: May be an organization instead of an individual/s.
  • Title of the source: A single book chapter, or an article from a journal, magazine, or newspaper. (Not used for entire books.)
  • Title of container: The work is included within, such as a book, journal, or newspaper. 
  • Date of publication or creation.
  • Other identifying information: Depends on the type of source, may include elements such as a translator, page numbers, volume and issue numbers for journal articles, city of publication and publisher for a book, and URL or DOI for online sources.

Citing Dos and Donts

Do Not! Do!
Rely on automatically generated citations from databases. These may include stylized text drawn from the source and are not checked for accuracy.  Know your citation style, write your own citations when possible, and carefully edit the format of any citation you copy and paste or that you generate using a bibliographic tool such as EndNote or Zotero. 
Number or bullet your bibliography. Indent the second and subsequent lines (i.e. create a hanging indent) for each item in your bibliography.
Arrange your bibliography in the order that you quote each source. Arrange your bibliography alphabetically by authors' last names.
Assign separate headings to your bibliography if you are required to submit different types of sources (e.g. primary and secondary sources.) Integrate all sources into your bibliography, arranged by author as noted above.
Guess at the formatting. Contact a librarian or writing tutor for help.

Getting Help with Citing


Library staff are available to help students understand the general principles and basic formatting rules of the citation styles used most commonly on campus. However, students are ultimately responsible for upholding UMass Global's Code of Conduct by using research material in an ethical manner. When seeking help from a librarian for citation and attribution, students should be aware of the following:

  • Students must know what citation style they are required to use for each project. This can change depending upon the subject and course instructor. Library staff cannot offer accurate advice without this information. This information is often found on your syllabus or assignment prompt.
  • Students must proofread their own work for accuracy and adherence to the correct citation style. Library staff cannot engage in line-by-line editing of paper or project.
  • Students must keep track of their own research material and know what sources they are quoting or paraphrasing, as well as when another’s work is consulted in the body of a research paper.

Library staff can help by:

  • Explaining the general rules of attribution and the logic of any citation format.
  • Provide samples of the required citation style.
  • Point out unique elements of each citation style.
  • Search for patterns of inadequate attribution and/or patterns of error in a bibliography or works cited list and make suggestions for improvement.
  • Help students construct citations for items that do not fit into predetermined categories.
  • Teach students how to use citation management and citing software such as Zotero.

Style guides:

Samples of many citations styles can be found at the Purdue Online Writing Lab. Some styles and organizations also have their own websites that provide rules and samples: